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Meet James

Only one life is given us. Either it will sink or float. Life is a rowboat.

James B. Golden

Author | Poet | Journalist

NAACP Image Award Winner

Inaugural Salinas Poet Laureate, James B. Golden, was born and raised in Salinas, CA to Valerie and James W. Golden. He was active early on in the arts community, serving as an organist for Monterey Bay Area choirs and singing groups. His passion for activism and equal rights led him to California State University, Northridge, where he earned an M.P.A. and a B.A. in English-Creative Writing, and Pan African Studies Arts & Literature. Golden has a Master of Humanities Degree in English from Tiffin University. He earned a Doctor of Psychology from Phillips Graduate University in 2019.

Golden is the author of four books: Sweet Potato Pie Underneath The Sun’s Broiler (2008), Afro Clouds & Nappy Rain (2011), The Inside Of An Orange (2012), and BULL: The Journey of a Freedom Icon (April 2014). The latter, his most recent, tells the story of his father's migration from South Carolina to California during the Civil Rights Movement. BULL weighs in on topics including lynching, poverty, abandonment, rape, class, alcoholism, and redemption. 

BULL is the 2014 recipient of the Jessie Redmon Fauset Book Award presented by the Los Angeles Lemeirt Park Book Fair.

Golden won the 2012 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work – Poetry, for Afro Clouds & Nappy Rain. His writing has been recognized by the National Steinbeck Center as a “phenomenal work of art”.

Critic Robert Walsh declared his poems are “frank, explicit, and poignant”. Golden was invited to serve as the artist in residence at the National Steinbeck Center in 2011. He has appeared on radio and television shows including, The Young Turks.

He has worked within the music community as a journalist for the past 10 years, writing articles for many publications including VIBE, Los Angeles Our Weekly, Clutch Magazine, and Jazz Times Magazine. He has also been active in the academy, editing several academic journals including Kapu-Sens Literary Journal and the National Hip Hop Think Tank. Golden has been invited around the nation to speak at various conferences on Hip Hop, Gender Relations, Black-Male-Feminism, and Cultural Medias.

He’s been an active participant and speaker at the National Hip Hop Political Convention, Hip Hop Think Tank Academic Conference, and The National Council for Black Studies Conference. Golden’s books are being used on high school and college campuses around the country as hard-hitting, provocative literature. Johnie Scott, co-founder of the historic Watts Writers Workshop declared, “his is an exciting voice, filled with creativity but seasoned, as well, with a potpourri of experiences adding flavor to the richness of the work he is bringing to the table.”

During National Poetry Month (April 2014), Golden unveiled the historical Official City Poem for Salinas, CA entitled "Wave To Salinas". The poem was proclaimed the official poem of the city of Salinas on April 22, 2014 by Mayor Joe Gunter.

Golden is completing  his fifth volume of poetry, and an academic text on the legendary Hip Hop Soul Era. 

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