BROOKLYN'S FINEST: MARK 'MIZ' ADAMS

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MARKMIZADAMS is a New York native who is no stranger to the street life.  He grew up in Lafayette Gardens, one the toughest neighborhoods in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.  During his teenage years, he didn’t make the smartest decisions and this led to him serving nearly 18 years in a New York State prison.


When the reality of prison life set in, MIZ decided to remain positive and use his time wisely.  Instead of allowing his present circumstances to overtake him, he earned his diploma and several trade skills.  Other prisoners admired his focus and determination to make a change within himself.  He thought long and hard about the life he’d lived and the other prisoners in his situation.  “How can we stop more youth from landing themselves in jail, or worse, dead?”, he pondered.


Even during his troubled years running the streets of Brooklyn, making sure other children in his hood didn’t follow the path he’d endured was important to him.  “I always wanted to let these young dudes know that the street life is not a good choice.  Education and positivity should be their focus.  I was fortunate enough to turn my life around and I’d like to help others do the same.” 


Through the prison system MIZ began to volunteer with organizations such as the Hale House, the Children’s Defense Fund, the City Kids Foundation and World Vision.  This brought a ray of light to the otherwise dull and depressing life of an inmate, and a smile to the face of this ‘bad guy with the good heart’. 


Upon his release from prison, MIZ continued to his volunteer work.  He joined Save Our Streets (S.OS.), a community-based non-profit organization.  S.O.S provides a variety of services to urban neighborhoods, such as conflict resolution, resume building and job-search assistance.  S.O.S. has two chapters in Brooklyn and two chapters in the Bronx.  They plan to expand their movement to the rest of the five boroughs to curb street/gang violence, giving our youth the chance to have positive futures.  


MIZ served for many years as a “Violence Interrupter”, actually going into the projects and other tough neighborhoods to personally mediate street conflicts and “beefs” between gang members and street crews.  Known for his laid-back demeanor, genuine personality and major respect on the streets, he was the perfect candidate for the job.  He has recently been upgraded to the position of “Hospital Responder”.  This job entails receiving those injured due to street violence at the hospital and providing them with support and assistance.               “It should be interesting.”, says MIZ. “I’m liable to see all types of crazy situations!” 


The service that this organization provides is invaluable.  And their efforts have not been in vain.  Thanks to S.O.S.’s hands-on approach to affecting change in the community, their Brooklyn chapter has gone 195 days with no gang/street crew shootings!  Nothing short of amazing, considering the current climate.


MIZ spent much of his time in prison expanding his mind through reading.  Little did he know, one of the books he read would change his life forever…After reading the ‘Coldest Winter Ever’ by Sister Souljah, he was inspired to write a book of his own.  After all, he always had a gift for telling stories through his raps and family, friends and fellow prisoners would constantly urge him to try his hand at writing a book. 


Finally, he welcomed the challenge.  “My first book, ‘BISHOP’, I wrote just to see if I could actually write a book.”, laughs MIZ.  “Then I wrote my second book, ‘BULLDOG CREW’,  the sequel to ‘BISHOP’, to see if I could do it again!”  Realizing he had a natural talent for writing, he began reaching out to publishers via mail and shopping his ideas.  Some publishing companies were highly interested and others never responded.  Doors opened wide when renowned author, Terri Woods, reached out to MIZ.  She wanted to sign him to a book deal immediately!  The only problem was she had a full plate at the time and other authors’ projects would be her first priority. 


A little disappointed, but certainly not discouraged, he took direction from Ms. Woods.  She suggested he start a publishing company and publish his own novels.  Once again, he accepted the challenge.  She mailed MIZ a copy of “The Self-Publishing Manual”, written by Dan Poynter, and that was all she wrote.  Or should I say all HE wrote… 


Shortly after, PenCushion Publishing was official and Miz was a bona fide author.    “I believe you can do anything you want to, as long as you apply yourself.”, he says.  With two books under his belt and his own publishing company, he went on to write a third and fourth novel, ‘HATER’S ANIMOSITY’ and ‘G-BANKS’.  He is now in the process of completing his fifth novel.  As he was incarcerated at the time, his cousin Omar “OH” Vaughan, was his arms and legs.  OH pounded the pavements of New York City, promoting and selling thousands of copies of ‘BISHOP’ by hand.  Collectively, his novels have sold over 100,000 copies and counting.  An incredible feat for an underground author! 


MIZ admits that writing is not his passion, just one of the many talents he possesses.  His latest muse is the movie based on his first novel, ‘BISHOP’.  “Now that I’ve conquered becoming an author, it’s on to the next episode. I’m focused on producing the movie version of ‘BISHOP’, says Miz.  “I’m very excited about this project!”  He is currently signed to Michael K. Williams’ production company, ‘FREEDOM PRODUCTIONS INC.’.  You may know Michael K. Williams for playing the characters “Omar” and “Chalky White”, in two of HBO’s most popular series, ‘The WIRE’ and ‘BOARDWALK EMPIRE’.  Michael and MIZ are working diligently to get ‘BISHOP’ on the big screen and in theatres real soon!


As if his volunteer work with Save Our Streets, writing novels for PenCushion Publishing and producing a feature film weren’t enough, MIZ also co-manages musical artist Saki Bomb, who recently dropped her mixtape, ‘FireWorks and High Heel’.  What doesn’t this guy do?  A   self-made man and jack of all trades, this young entrepreneur is proof positive that people do change and dreams don’t have deadlines. 


FACEBOOK:  Mark “MIZ” Adams 


INSTAGRAM:  MIZPENCUSHION  


 EMAIL:  [email protected]

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