Shaka Senghor, convicted murderer turned college lecturer and author, stopped by The Angie Martinez to talk about the new OWN show 'Released' which he helps produce, how he got in Oprah Winfrey's space to begin with and how he turned his life around after serving 17 years on a murder conviction.
While in the studio Shaka also talks about:
- Creating his own hustle while still in prison by developing his writing skills and publishing his own book which was edited by her son's mother.
- The power of thinking things into existence such as writing down that one day Oprah would read a book by her and now he's working with her.
- Oprah reading the self published version of his book which she moved around her house for like one year before she even got to it. "She was about 60 pages in, when she said I want to interview this guy."
- Having the shared value of looking at people in a different light when it comes to people that involves empathy and compassion.
- The new show 'Released' which documents the first ninety days of people being released from jail and reconnecting with their family. "These are people that have been away for a long time, I man was away for 26-years."
- Humanizing these people that are being released from prison and the issue of families being ashamed of connecting with people in prison.
- His thoughts on the Jay Z done documentary about Kalief Browder story.
- Being a voice for criminal justice system and his hopes for us to decriminalize mental illness in our prisons, introduce real help to people dealing with substance abuse issues, working on re-entry programs that are up to date.
- Being shocked that conservatives stepped up and said we need to reduce the prison population.
- Still getting jail mail 7-years after his release due to how he's inspired and affected people's lives with his story.
- How the character Kofi in 'Queen Sugar' being partly based on his life story.
- What his next book will be about and when plans to get to it.
Shaka also teaches a class as part of the Atonement Project, a partnership between him, the University of Michigan, and the MIT Media Lab. His memoir, Writing my Wrongs, was published in March 2016.
Released premieres Saturday September 30th on OWN.