As the protagonist in Once Bad Intentions, Stephanie Johnson’s story is one that transcends the darker realms of society. Wilfully embracing anger and resentment. Her developmental journey welcoming change and ending with love and redemption, makes for valuable life lessons. Lessons that I think are worth sharing…
‘Beef’ was a term that was popularised through hip-hop. It denoted a fracas, something far greater than a verbal dispute. In the nineties, when rappers mentioned they were in beef with another rapper…you knew what time it was. They weren’t going to have a dance-off or DJ spin-off like they did in the eighties – things had evolved since then.
Herne Hill Books is located just by Herne Hill station housing an arrange of books suited to a variety of age groups. The frequent destination to local book lovers, this small independent bookstore is now stocking Once Bad Intentions…
Writing a coming of age story about growing up within South London’s darker segments of society, love and romance can be difficult to unearth in its purest, simplest and most innocent form. But it does exist. So for me it was important to bring these gritty characters at their prime of puberty undergoing the hormonal changes that make the most prudish of us fantasize, to life.
We passed the middle of the dance floor where girls were ‘butterflying’, a dancehall move where you rotate your knees together in opposite directions, but these girls were doing it on their backs. I hadn’t seen this dance live before, only in music videos on TV.
Dada didn’t live too far away from my mum’s house, so I decided on taking my burdens to him, and hoped that he’d welcome them. Headphones on my head, Walkman set to play, I bounced down Lee High Road rocking my head hard, rapping along to Biggie Smalls’ ‘Juicy’
To be a role model is to be someone who is regarded by others, particularly younger people, as a good example to follow. That’s a pretty huge burden to bear. And whilst I’m happy…no, scrap that. Whilst I want to play such a role for my child, nieces and other young people in observation of me, like I’d imagine most parents want, it is a role that I deem a choice and not a given because of celebrity status.
I had fallen into a semi-subconscious trance, limbs folded into my chest. I lay within the sunken centre of my bottom bunk. Maria, Shariece, Stella and Tyrone were ‘bogling’ to ‘Wicked Inna Bed’
Her words played on my ego. I was keen to show her the high level of my skill set when it came to fighting. I thought I was a strong contender in that department, and the reputation I started to build for myself reflected this.
I ran through the dark estate as I always did. I was on what we called my Ps and Qs. And it didn’t mean ‘please and thank-yous’, which Mum would say to prep mine or Safire’s behaviour when out in public. It denoted being alert, being on your toes or on your guard.
Whilst Nicola checked out Charlene I checked out her. She was kitted out from head to toe in designer clothing. She wore skin-tight patterned Versace jeans, a fitted white top with Giorgio Armani sprawled across the front, a Moschino belt with the gold block lettering and flat black Gucci loafers…