"LAMONT -THE VOICE- COX" by Wanda Armstead Smith
Many Kinstonians feel they have to move away for better opportunities. Lamont Cox has joined hundreds of others who share this sentiment. However, he didn’t leave Kinston because he doesn’t care about making a difference there because in many ways he still does. He simply feels that as a writer/poet, he would need to set his sails in a bigger sea if he is to reach his ultimate goal of some day earning a Pulitzer Prize, having his literary works published in major medias like New York Magazine or perhaps even be on the New York’s Best Sellers list.
Born in Greenville, North Carolina Cox lived in Kinston for 14 years. Unfortunately, like many talented artists in a small town, he began to feel he was a big fish in a little pond. “I’m not content! I want to be a medium fish in a big pond and soon to become a shark!” Cox says. And after careful consideration, he recently set off with his family in a courageous move to conquer Charlotte, North Carolina. “I’m taking the city by storm-MY WAY and making my presence here. I just want to make my mark!” he explains of his decision to move. “I just want to do great American literature that gives me vitality. I want to ultimately become one of the greatest writers in history; hopefully before I die. That’s my dream!” says Cox.
KinstonTV. Cox says he will continue to return to Kinston on the last Sunday of the month for filming. “I set up interviews with business owners, entertainers, singers, dancers as well as local politicians” he says of the TV show.
Cox’s journey would take him on a different path as a teen. “When I was in grades 9-12, if I had said I like poems in an urban surrounding I would be ostracized! Guys didn’t talk about poems but basketball and rap was ok” says Cox. Ironically, it would be his best friend—a drug dealer known on the streets— who would become his biggest supporter and ultimately save his life in spite of his own. Cox would gain street validation for his writings through his friend. “He would put me on speaker phone while on the block and ask me to read something.” He recalls how one day while hanging out with his friend, he would read his poems to him. He paints a vivid picture of riding shotgun while his friend dropped off a few deliveries to his street customers. Focused only on his writing material he recalls, “I had my laptop and the whole day he had me reading my stuff.” His friend was so blown away by what he heard, he later came to see him perform. “Dude, this is your way out! You can do this!” his friend pleads. That night his friend would round everybody in 3 to 4 cars to go see him perform. This lead to a pact he made with his friend that would change his life. “We had a deal. If he left the streets alone, I would do everything to pursue writing 100% with everything I got, but only if you walk away from the drug game”, he says to his friend.
The two, who were close as brothers, kept their promise and made strides towards pursuing their dreams. Cox was writing and performing regularly; while his friend pursued a business venture with plans to buy-in to a sports bar in Greenville, North Carolina. Sadly on New Year’s Day in 2009, his friend lost his life after falling asleep at the wheel. Cox recalls how he felt during that dark time. “I was devastated and went into a deep depression!” However, he knew he had to move forward as his best friend and family would want him to. Dusting himself off from the loss of his friend and his grandfather, Cox is now dedicated more than ever to living out his dream. “I got caught up in the streets but now I want to redeem myself. Yeah, I’ve paid my debt and I’m paying my dues in my life. I don’t have to wait 10-20 years. I want to have it all! Why can’t I?” he asks.
Facebook fan page. He’s currently working on a new fiction novel that he has been perfecting for four years with the focus of writing engaging stories people can relate to like those of some of his favorite authors, Edgar Allen Poe, Langston Hughes and Ann White. He is amazed how he is also helping people through his testimonial writings about his depression, inspiring others to seek help. But overall, he plans to keep his promise to his deceased best friend and himself to never go back to prison, but to make something of his life. He hopes to leverage his experiences and build his fan base. “I’m just being me! I’m going to evolve so just hold on for the ride! I want to be a better person, a better man, a better father, a better husband,“Cox concludes.
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D. Terrell Photography