Ross, Lawrence C., Jr. 1967–

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Ross, Lawrence C., Jr. 1967–

(Lawrence Ross, Lawrence C. Ross)

PERSONAL:

Born 1967; married; wife's name April; children: Langston. Education: University of California at Los Angeles, B.A., 2004, M.F.A., 2007; also attended University of California at Berkeley. Religion: Catholic. Hobbies and other interests: Writing, sports, dominoes, playing with son, history, business, fraternity.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Los Angeles, CA. Agent—Manie Barron, Menza Barron Literary Agency, 1170 Broadway, Ste. 807, New York, NY 10001. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer. Previously president of Avalon Catering and RBG Online; National Newspaper Publishers Association, columnist, "Black Web" column, beginning 1995; Rap Sheet magazine, managing editor, beginning 1997.

MEMBER:

Alpha Phi Alpha.

WRITINGS:

The Divine Nine: The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities, Kensington Books (New York, NY), 2000.

The Ways of Black Folks: A Year in the Life of a People, Dafina Books (New York, NY), 2003.

Friends with Benefits, Dafina Books (New York, NY), 2005.

Money Shot: The Wild Days and Lonely Nights inside the Black Porn Industry, Thunder's Mouth Press (New York, NY), 2007.

Skin Game, Dafina Books (New York, NY), 2007.

Also wrote the screenplay Men of their Times; maintains the blog Inglewood Rude Boy.

SIDELIGHTS:

Writer Lawrence C. Ross, Jr., was educated at the University of California, studying first at Berkeley and then graduating from the Los Angeles campus. He spent his early career working in various industries, first running Avalon Catering, where he worked his way up to president and became one of the youngest people ever to serve as a vendor for the University of California system. He then began the West Coast's first online service provider to be run by an African American, with his RBG Online. Ross began his writing career as a journalist, focusing on topics of interest to African Americans, and started to write a column that was syndicated by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Starting in 1995, his "Black Web" column, which was geared toward African American readers looking to learn more about the ins and outs of the Internet, became a weekly feature in over two hundred newspapers across the country. Then in 1997, he moved on to Rap Sheet, one of the country's first magazines devoted to hip-hop music and the surrounding lifestyle, where he became managing editor. Ross has contributed to numerous other periodicals, and lectures regularly across the nation. He is also the author of a number of books geared toward African American readers.

Ross's first book, The Divine Nine: The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities, reflects his interest in the Greek system and how it has served African Americans. Within the Pan-Hellenic Council, the organization that regulates both fraternities and sororities on college campuses across the country, there are nine different organizations that cater to black memberships. Having participated in the Greek system as a student, Ross felt drawn toward compiling a handbook of sorts for the black members of the organization, describing each separate house and what types of interests and achievements they represent. Nira Hyman, writing for the Black Issues Book Review, remarked that the book is also "accessible to non-Greeks who may be interested in either joining a particular organization or are just curious about the groups' contributions to their community." Reviewing for Booklist, Vernon Ford declared that Ross's effort "confirms the underlying purpose of these institutions: to provide a supportive educational environment for their members."

In The Ways of Black Folks: A Year in the Life of a People, Ross set out to give a broad overview of the different lives led by African Americans around the world. He traveled extensively to conduct his interviews, and the book includes material from Europe, the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and Brazil. Many of the people he spoke with are notable figures in their chosen careers, including poet Nikki Giovanni; Bill Campbell, the former mayor of Atlanta; a car designer; and a black member of Britain's Parliament. Booklist reviewer Vanessa Bush found the book to be "a fascinating look at the variety of experiences, lifestyles, perspectives, and sensibilities."

Money Shot: The Wild Days and Lonely Nights inside the Black Porn Industry addresses the role of African Americans in the pornography industry. The goal of Ross's book is not to offer a cleaned up, PG-version of the business, but neither does it attempt to shock readers for the sake of doing so. Rather, it is an honest analysis of the porn industry and how blacks have come to participate more and more in recent years. He focuses primarily on black porn actors and how their roles have changed and become more diversified, as well as their attitudes and the reasons why they have become involved in the industry. Researching the book, Ross spent time in the San Fernando Valley, where the bulk of porn films are shot, a Las Vegas expo, and even a swinger's party. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly declared that "Ross gets good interviews and his straightforward prose suits the material."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Black Issues Book Review, January 1, 2001, Nira Hyman, review of The Divine Nine: The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities, p. 58; March 1, 2003, Tracy Grant, review of The Ways of Black Folks: A Year in the Life of a People.

Booklist, February 15, 2000, Vernon Ford, review of The Divine Nine, p. 1061; January 1, 2003, Vanessa Bush, review of The Ways of Black Folks, p. 817; September 1, 2007, Mike Tribby, review of Money Shot: The Wild Days and Lonely Nights inside the Black Porn Industry, p. 36.

Library Journal, August 1, 2007, M.C. Duhig, review of Money Shot, p. 105.

New Crisis, March 1, 2003, review of The Ways of Black Folks.

Publishers Weekly, June 25, 2007, review of Money Shot, p. 42.

ONLINE

Lawrence Ross Home Page,http://www.lawrenceross.org (May 14, 2008).

Lawrence Ross MySpace Page,http://www.myspace.com/hoodietees (May 14, 2008).

Southern University Digest,http://media.www.southerndigest.com/ (February 14, 2003), "Ross Breaks Down the Truth about Greek Life."