I had just arrived for my first day as an editorial intern at Street Sense when I heard the hoarse, sing-song voice of Ivory Wilson. Between greeting two women in the office with a “Hello Beautiful,” he took numerous papers out of his leather bag.
The 58 year-old Street Sense vendor has already self-published three books and is working on two more with the money he earns by selling Street Sense.
His first two books are personal memoirs of his former life as a pimp. He started to write his first book in jail, when he heard other prisoners talk about their desire to become a pimp after detention. He wanted to show the truth about a pimp’s life, so he started to write.
The Magical Writings of Ivory Wilson, Wilson’s third book, is composed of fourteen eccentric novellas. Wilson hopes his next two books, Dreams, Wonders and Travels, a children’s book illustrated by two little girls, and Weekend Cowboys, a story about cowboys and a rodeo in Texas, where he grew up, will soon be available on Amazon.
Wilson is also proud of the movie he filmed and produced independently: “On My Corner.”
“It’s a documentary about my life, and some friends and fans,” he explained.
The video was filmed with his iPhone, on the corner of 7th and E Street in D.C.’s Chinatown, the location where Wilson has been selling Street Sense newspapers for nearly eight years. During the one-hour film, Wilson introduces his friends, partners and fans who inspired him and some of his famous characters. He shows viewers the parts of the city that matter to him and where he began writing his stories by hand. His documentary is available on YouTube and already has over two hundred views.
But there are never enough projects for Ivory Wilson. He puts his hat on and his sparkly gold-encrusted teeth smile: he arrived this morning with a new enterprise. Wilson is launching a whole film production company, “Get It Production.” He is partnered with Purky Kidder- a screenplay writer and filmmaker from Nevada he met on his corner. They are working on a movie called “Pretty and Tricky,” directly adapted from his memoirs.
With all this work ahead, Ivory Wilson has to run, his precious papers under his arm addressing to me a sunny “Thank you Beautiful,” with his rhythmical voice.