Review By: Latasha Dennis
I recommend this book to readers who have an open mind and can look beyond sexual orientation and music to find the key message on what it is to get what you want by searching and finding the inner voice inside yourself.
“How come I am so conflicted? Why am I struggling with myself?” This is one of the best, sincere and true quotes I have ever heard from a character. It’s sincere because I believe that we as people ask ourselves this very same question on a daily basis. It is true because it relates to anyone who goes on a journey to find and know who they are in order to shape and control their destiny. When I was given the book Mogul by Terrance Dean to read, I was finishing up a book about Alexander the Great. After reading Mogul I came to realize that the main character Aaron Tremble and Alexander the Great have something in common.
Both figures are moguls in their own right. Alexander the Great wanted to conquer the world, while Aaron Tremble wanted to conquer the hip-hop world. Both men started out as young boys’ who respected their father’s dreams but followed their own paths to greatness. Both men had a male friend that they loved more than the woman who bore their offspring. Both men wanted to unite people together for the common good just as long as they were their leader. Both had intelligent and rebel mentors that helped them to think boldly with their ideas to build their own empires where no man could duplicate and only dream to emulate. The imperative difference between the two men was that Alexander lived in a time where a person’s sexuality did not define their character, while Aaron lives in a time where being a homosexual has to be hidden.
The story begins with Aaron about to do the unthinkable by coming out at a press conference! Did I mention that he is a Black man operating in the Hip-Hop world?! Thinking about the possibilities of losing what he worked so hard for, he decides that he can no longer struggle with who he is and steps up to the podium to proceed with his confession. Before he can reveal all Mr. faints and wakes up in the hospital to hear his medical diagnosis. Upon learning of his serious condition, he decides to quickly share his sexual lifestyle and flee New York City to hide in the Dominican Republic.
The book then kicks into flashback mode where we learn of Aaron’s contributing and defining past. He thinks back to when he was an adolescent and fell in love for the first time with a man, and how he had to cope with his broken heart. He found solace through music and delved into his love for hip-hop by creating beats. As he created his music he remembered how his father (a renowned jazz musician) placed the foundation of music within his heart. Aaron grew deeper and deeper into his music, and then was given a great opportunity to meet a hip-hop great by the name Larry “Pop” Singleton. Pop was an icon to the hip-hop community and christened Aaron with the nickname Big A.T., along with becoming his mentor.
Big A.T.’s homosexuality was known to Pop and a secret society called “The Family” that protects and rears him into stardom. During his rise to stardom he has a secret love affair with an artist named Tickman along with meeting Jasmine Bourdeaux who becomes his girlfriend to create a façade for the media and his fans. When a foe of Big A.T. and “The Family” uncovers his secret of being a down low brother he must now consider the possibility that the empire he built will come crashing down, unless he confesses about his sexuality.
Terrance Dean has an impeccable way of writing thorough details of suspense and sexual scenes embedded in short chapters to keep you intrigued as if each page were Lays potato chips where you can’t eat just one. You have to consume the whole damn bag! I really enjoyed the fact that the sex scenes didn’t pertain to just the gay lifestyle but for heterosexuals as well. But what I loved the most about Terrance Dean’s “Mogul” is that he informs that no matter who you choose to have sex with, always use protection. He also gives the reader the opportunity to get to know imperative characters’ through first person narrative in order to judge them and their motives. The only negative critique that I have for this novel is that a certain lover of Big A.T. did not have a story to tell before their demise! DAMN YOU TERRANCE DEAN!!!!!.