Zangba Thomson is a Liberian-American award-winning author, screenwriter, conscious emcee, and Editor-in-Chief at Bong Mines Entertainment Blog. He was born in Bong Mines, a small mining community located in Bong County, Liberia, West Africa. His father named him after a paramount-war chief from the Bassa African tribe. The name ‘Zangba’ means the heart of the soul.

At the tender age of 8, Zangba and his older sister left Liberia and migrated to Jamaica, a rough and tough neighborhood in Jamaica Queens, NY, a block from the famous Coliseum Mall. Zangba and his sister lived with their mother in a studio apartment, next door to the legendary Shirt Kings, known for airbrushing custom designs on t-shirts and sweaters for artists such as LL Cool J, Jam Master Jay, Audio Two, and Just Ice to name a few.

Video Game Era

At that time, video games were in, and Zangba had almost every in-style video game consoles such as Nintendo, Atari, ColecoVision, and Sega Genesis. But for this true video-game junkie, Zangba played a lot of arcade games on upright video game machines inside the 165th street bus terminal. One day, after playing Ghosts ‘n Goblins, Zangba exited the terminal and unexpectedly walked into LL Cool J’s video shoot. A few feet away, he saw LL Cool J with his arms around two female models.

Yo’ MTV Raps Era

That up close and personal view, much closer than what Yo’ MTV Raps could have shown him, left such an everlasting impression on Zangba’s mind that he took a special liking to the emceeing aspect of Hip Hop. But what really solidified the art form in Zangba’s heart was when he saw Boogie Down Productions’ “My Philosophy” music video. Immediately, KRS-One became the first emcee that Zangba admired because Kris’ wordplay, his philosophy, and raps about Africa hit home, and Zangba began writing his own lyrics.

Zangba adjusted well to his new concrete environment and became good friends with juveniles from South-side Jamaica, Queens. One comrade, in particular, Sal Brown, showed Zangba the ropes of how things worked in the streets, and Zangba abided by these rules. Years later, the streets gave Zangba the nickname– Bam Stays Jiggie, which eventually got reduced to Bam Jiggie. With a fresh street moniker under his belt, Zangba formed a rap group with his good friends, Guerilla Maine and Boo Harv, and their first recorded song ended up on Cutmaster C’s “Back To School” mixtape.

Zangba Thomson

Zangba Thomson holding "Three Black Boys" street book

Photo by Ishmel Twice

Progress was made, but unfortunately, Zangba’s friend Sal got murdered in cold blood. And Zangba felt lost, eventually, he spiraled out of control. By the grace of the Creator, he regained his sanity and enrolled at York College, the learning institution where he studied Journalism and Creative Writing under the watchful tutelage of Professor Glenn Lewis.

During that time, Zangba met Large Professor and ended up recording a demo in Large’s basement. Large took a special liking to Zangba’s lyrical ability, and it showed. He took the young wordsmith to a professional studio to record a verse on “Straight Rhymes”, a song Large wanted to use on his “First Class” album, featuring Nas, Busta Rhymes, and Q-Tip. The song came out dope, but unfortunately, it didn’t make the cut. Zangba felt down, knowing a placement like that would’ve put him in the hip-hop spotlight. But he didn’t give up.

A Pivotal Moment

Zangba’s friend, Kentele (Scar Blood), sent him a kite from Southport Correctional Facility. Days later, Zangba and Guerrilla Maine had a pivotal meeting with rap mogul 50 Cent. The meeting took place in front of 50’s grandmother’s house in Queens. The gathering took place inside Zangba’s mother’s white station wagon. 50, seated in the backseat, listened to Zangba’s and Maines’s Transformers song. And minutes afterward, 50 dropped a songwriting jewel and rapped 16 bars of straight fire. But nothing materialized out of that meeting, and several months later, 50’s infamous shooting occurred.

Zangba kept it moving. He recorded Three Black Boys at Hillie Hill’s Straight Live Studio. People who heard the song were asking Zangba, “Why did the boys do the robbery?” To answer their question, Zangba adapted the song into a short story, entitled, Three Black Boys: The Authorized Version, which sold over 1,600 copies in the streets of Harlem during its first-week run.

Do Right, Do Good

In 2012, Zangba teamed up with Jean Alerte, and they co-wrote Do Right Do Good, a practical guidebook towards vision fulfillment, which was endorsed by Russell Simmons and Dr. Dennis Kimbro.

Single Man, Married Man

In 2015, Zangba and Alerte, along with 6-other authors, released the urban, best-selling relationship guidebook Single Man, Married Man, which won the ‘2015 New Book Award’, and received major media attention from FOX 5, NBC, Today, Fox & Friends, Kathy Lee & Hoda, Arise 360, Shade 45: Sway in the Morning, ABC, Daily Mail (UK), Vibe Magazine, Centric TV, HOT 97, Essence Magazine, and The Tom Joyner Morning Show.

Take a Look… There’s Money all around You!

In 2016, Zangba released Take a Look… There’s Money All Around You!, a prosperity, life-changing guidebook, which highlights the secret ingredients needed to become a prosperous moneymaking machine. And later that month, he released Hip-Hop, Soul, and R&B, a lovable, 10-track debut-album that’s taking music lovers on a joyful journey down lover’s lane, where true love is the theme and being in love is the name of the game.

Zangba Thomson wins literary award

On July 31, 2016, at the National Black Theatre in Harlem, New York, Zangba received the Bai T. Moore Literary Award during a ceremony commemorating the 169th Anniversary of Liberian Independence. That night, Zangba also received several citations for his literary achievements and volunteering assistance to urban communities. He received citations from Congressman Charles Rangel, Bill de Blasio (Mayor of New York), and Ruben Diaz Jr. (Bronx Borough President). Also, he received citations from Edward P. Mangano (Nassau County Executive), and Gale A. Brewer (Manhattan Borough President).

Zangba Thomson wins music award

On December 20, 2016, Zangba won a ‘Public Choice Remix Award‘ for his single ‘I Need You (feat. Maskerade)’,  in B-Side Project’s 2016 remix competition, in association with Prism Sound. The awards ceremony took place in London at Metropolis Studios.

Hip Hop Film Festival nominates Zangba

On July 11, 2017, the Hip Hop Film Festival (HHFF) nominated Zangba’s “Three Black Boys” screenplay as an official selection. And it ended up as a Finalist during HHFF’s award ceremony at the National Black Theatre in Harlem, New York.

Zangba Thomson

“I felt great when I heard Three Black Boys was a finalist. The Hip Hop Film Festival is monumental. And I’m honored to be a finalist. Three Black Boys started as a hip-hop song. And during its decade-long existence, it evolved into a 100-page street mixbook (an author’s version of a rapper’s mixtape). Then, it transformed into a 350-page full-length novel. I wonder what’s next?”

Manhattan Short Film Festival nominates Zangba

In August 2017, the Manhattan Short Film Festival nominates Zangba’s $50,000 Worth of Tapes screenplay as an official selection. The screenplay ended up as Semi-Finalist.

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