It’s A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood - Writing Ice T’s Book
Reflections on our first meeting to discuss the book’s title, “The Ice Opinion”
I was set to move to Los Angeles the next day, and Simon & Schuster had pulled our book deal. The “Cop Killer” controversy had hit the front page of the New York Times, and the book editor called me to apologize. CEO Richard Snyder didn’t want the heat, he said.
I had no deal, no apartment, I was already packed up to move from San Francisco, and I did the only thing I could think of doing: I called an activist. I had been working at a gym in San Francisco and met a black businessman who had been involved in the Civil Rights movement as a young man growing up in New York. He gave me a loan for $3,000, and told me to go write that book.
This was 1992, and I had been driving back and forth from Los Angeles to San Francisco, where I am from. I drove down to L.A. during the Uprising in early May to write the book proposal while the city was still smoldering. I shadowed Ice T around, as he shot a music video in burned out buildings on Vermont Avenue in South Central. I was crashing at the editor of CREEM’s apartment in Venice, and I got enough material to create a proposal and secure us a book deal through a friend of a friend.
Now, with three grand in hand, I moved down to Hollywood and found a little bungalow apartment in Beachwood Canyon. I had already been writing for Entertainment Weekly, and I soon began freelancing for the Los Angeles Times as a music critic. I joined a gym and often saw Ice T working out with his friends. I knew that the book idea I had for the O.G. was gonna happen. I just had to be patient. A few months after I moved to L.A., I received a call from his manager that the book deal was on.
I will always remember that day. I was drinking bourbon with the Watts Prophets on a rainy LA day when my pager blew up…