| operative network | writing archive: columns - reviews - interviews - features

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The Professional Writing of Hannibal Tabu

  • Columns
    (Three years of music-minded Damage Control, the comics column The Operative Word, etc.)
  • Reviews
    (A large section, record reviews, books, movies, comic books, tons of stuff)
  • Interviews
    Mostly from Rap Pages and The Source, but a few comic book ones thrown in.
  • Features
    (Feature journalism, such as an Outkast spotlight from MTV Online)

I began my career as a professional writer as an intern at the Los Angeles Sentinel, the "oldest Black-owned newspaper in the West." (founded in 1933, doncha know). By that time I had already worked two frustrating years at USC's Daily Trojan, been entertainment editor of an anarchist campus publication called V, and was actually pretty well versed in the technical part of publications, even though I had a lot of rough edges on my writing. Under the tutelage of the paper's three main reporters Dennis Schatzman, Marsha Mitchell (now Marsha Bray) and James Bolden, I began to take things more seriously, to really enjoy the craft and develop the tools to become a professional.

I went from the Sentinel to Image Magazine, a short-lived national publication for Black men, to Rap Pages, through Vibe, The Source, MTV Online, and a number of others. I've most often been called upon to use my poison pen -- you'd be amazed how many editors called asking for me to "destroy these guys for me," or "can you make this guy's career go away?" I never did it to any act unless they really made me sick, and were not only deficient in terms of craft and content, but actually detrimental to society (mostly gangster rap acts, but a number of comic books as well). Admittedly, some I did just for fun, or a check, or a combination of both.

That said, in this section you'll find all of that work that I have managed to save -- a lot of the USC stuff is gone forever (damned MacWrite format and degraded floppy disks), as is the high school stuff, but I've kept what I can. I set this section aside for what I call "message work," where I wrote specifically intended for an audience (and for pay, most of it). If you'd like to look at my purely artistic writing, stuff I do more for craft than economics, or even creative works that I was paid for (poetry, etc.) you'll wanna check out another section entirely. Thanks for your interest.

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