Rodney R. Rhodes was born in Jackson Tennessee and spent some of his younger life in the mid-state. Later as an adult, he relocated to Highland Park, Michigan, to pursue employment opportunities in the auto industry. He never gave up on the inner talents that seemed to beckon him.
While growing up in Tenn., he learned that his family had strong heritage, as well as strong ties to the community and had even been a part of movements, which made variable differences. His cousin Robert Lee Woods helped drive the civil rights movement and marched alongside Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. His great uncle, Jewel Allen, is historically recognized in the Smithsonian Museum. He was the first to make chairs from corn shucks and creative blankets.
Rodney also learned that this legacy continued after the civil rights movement when Odell Horton (another cousin) became the first African American Judge in Tennessee, appointed by President Jimmy Carter. There is even a Federal Building, which was partially dedicated in the judges’ name. It’s the Clifford Davis and Odell Horton Federal Building.
True talent cannot be bridled or suppressed and Rodney’s talent rose to the top like refined cream. His inspiration stemmed from a myriad of sources, including teachers and people in strong leadership positions. His late principal, Carl Pettiway, saw Rodney’s gift of words and encouraged him to embrace his passion.
“Everyone has a book in them Rodney, so start writing,” said Pettiway.
His first poetry book was titled Black Man’s Society. This was to be one of many writings forthcoming. The book garnered much recognition and accolades from the community. That eventually led to his poetry being read as an opener for the ‘Father of Kwanza,’ Dr. Maulana Karenga, who was speaking at the University of Tennessee when this took place.
Various relationships and life circumstances inspired him with new ideas and to write more. His second poetry book was Black Man’s Society. Then came his first novel, Wise Man on the Corner, a literary product with a slightly different slant. He created a wise fictional character called Buddy Green. Green told stories of how not to get caught up in street life. Some of the pitfalls that young Black men get caught up in include: drugs, unemployment, fathering children without a plan in sight, and eventually prison. He then launched Slave Stories and Drugs in hard copy and on audio.
He continued to make a difference in society by becoming a motivational speaker and the founder/CEO of Blackfield, LLC, and his own community organization. Blackfield, LLC has been fertile proving ground for entertainment and meaningful community productions highlighting the areas of Jazz, R&B and the Spoken Word.
Rodney went on to produce/launch his first film Souls of Black Men. It is a riveting drama about the deep inner thoughts of six Black men and how they rise above their circumstances. The amazing cast hosts an interesting line up including a former Ebony model (David Dorsey); Delorean Cotton (I’ll Be Home for Christmas); Nathan Houser (costar in Union); Shayna Hamilin (Transformers 3); Kevin Louis (Up in the Air with George Clooney); Lloyd Dewayne (background singer for superstar KEM); and Elijah Johnson (Simba in the Broadway play The Lion King). Other cast members include: Niceo Jenkins, Tamara Adams, Cornell Franklin, Jacinta Chevon, Evan A, Vining-Dorsey and Romelo Rhodes, his son.
The film has received acclaim at three national film festivals. Nominations include: the North Carolina Black Film Festival (2012); Detroit, Mich. Trinity Festival (2012); and the Made in Michigan Film Festival (2013)
Other works of Rodney Rhodes include poetry books: Black Man’s Society 1, Black Man’s Society 2, The Wise Man on the Corner (novel and CD); and the page turning book Soul of a Man Edition 2.
Rodney R. Rhodes has become an icon of his Michigan community and others. He’s another living, breathing example that dreams do and can come true.
“With hard work, dedication and hope, anything is possible,” said Rhodes.
For more information, visit the official website at www.Rodneyrrhodes.com.