Persona in Progression: A Look at Creative Nonfiction Literature in Civil Rights and Rap
By Loupy D
Lawrence Evan Dotson was born in Los Angeles, California. He decided early in life that he wanted to tell stories. He was a character who could entertain his two older sisters by staging his own version of a church radio broadcast that they would listen to on Sunday nights. His desire to perform followed him through grade school, and in his senior year of high school, a UCLA professor scouted and urged Lawrence to major in theater. Lawrence felt convicted to follow in the footsteps of his father, so instead of declaring Theater Arts as a freshman, he went in undeclared to sit out for a spot in the highly competitive Engineering Department. It only took one calculus class to convince Lawrence that Theater Arts was his calling and that he was going to achieve his goal of being recognized for his talents. While attending UCLA, he combined his interests in art and music and was one of the founders of the UCLA Jazz and Reggae Festival. He was on the Student Committee for the Arts, which put on the Jazz at the Wadsworth Series in conjunction with KKGO FM. Lawrence became more aware of social justice issues affecting the African American community on campus and became active in organizations that promoted positive change. He collaborated with students from other majors and formed the African Theater Collective, which promoted and produced plays from the African Diaspora. That action inspired a performance protest demanding the hiring of more black professors in the Theater Department, and tenure for longtime Professor, Dr. Beverly J. Robinson. The performance was based upon the subject matter that Dr. Robinson taught: the procession of the Black Theater experience in America as depicted through the development of the African slave from the plantations, to the pulpit, to the stage. Blessed with a wealth of knowledge and a rich experience from the University, Lawrence graduated and landed a job as an actor with University Express, an outreach program managed by a former student of Dr. Robinson. The troupe performed plays at Middle and High Schools that stressed the importance of continuing education. The job allowed him enough time to go on auditions, but after a year Lawrence burnt out on the acting treadmill. He met an editor for an underground Hip Hop magazine called No Sellout in 1991. Lawrence had his first article published in the second issue, an interview with L.A. DJ Michael Mixxin Moor. Lawrence began writing under “Loupy D”, coined from a childhood nickname. He wrote articles, reviews and commentary, and conducted interviews with some of Hip Hop’s top entertainers like The Notorious BIG, Wu Tang Clan, Erykah Badu and many others until 2003. In 2015, he earned an MFA in Creative Writing, after submitting a draft of a memoir based on his experiences growing up in post-Civil Rights Era Los Angeles. He's published an academic article, “Persona in Progression: A Look At Creative Nonfiction Literature In Civil Rights and Rap,” in Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies. He also served a brief stint as the music editor for the online writing journal Drunk Monkeys. In between writing stints, Lawrence has and continues to be an avid amateur photographer and independent film professional. He will be releasing books and videos of his work over time, just as soon as he figures out how to balance work life with the life of single parenting two sons.View all of Loupy D's posts.