Spotlight Central Archive
Malik Jones (Children's Book Writer/Coach)
As a young man, author Malik Jones was given the nickname Lil’ Seymour by his late friend Shawn “Mad Dog” Jones (1994). Later in life, Malik began using the nickname, “Lil’ Seymour Jones” as his penname, which established the foundation in achieving his biggest dream. In his youth, Malik aspired to be a basketball legend, and hoped to use the status as a gauge in developing professional relationships within the city of Newark, New Jersey; but unbeknownst to Malik, it would be the challenges of his many life altering medical surgeries, that would actually provide a platform in which his voice could resonate throughout not only Newark, New Jersey, but other cities as well.
In his youth, Lil’ Seymour Jones and his friends ran the streets of Newark, New Jersey challenging every basketball player they could find. They would practice and play from sun up to sun down. He looked up to all the legendary Newark ball players at the time, and just knew that one day his name would be just as big. But little did he know, it would be bigger after his basketball playing days.
In the mid 1990’s, during his dreadlock phase of life, Malik also earned the nickname SKRU-FACE, as a result of the hair styles he wore. His friends said he looked like the character Screwface from the movie “Marked for Death.” He thought the name was catchy and ultimately started his own company SKRU-FACE DEZINEZ, which produced men and women’s apparel.
In December 1997, Malik moved to Atlanta, Georgia where he began writing at the encouragement and inspiration of writer Catherine D. Riddick. But upon tremendously missing his daughter Imani, Malik decided to move back to Newark, New Jersey where volunteering in the community became a major component in his life. Although his volunteer mission began in Imani’s class within the Newark Public School System, it later transcended into coaching basketball alongside his childhood friend Shawn McCray, Director of Zoo Crew Youth Program (ZCYP). Malik then assumed the position of Assistant Director of ZCYP.A statement from Shawn McCray provided an overview of Malik’s dedication to the community: “Coach Malik is well-respected in the community and volunteers his time outside the program to help players improve upon their skills. Despite his limitations, Coach Malik gives 100% every time he steps on the floor!”
In 2003, an aneurysm related surgery caused major health issues for Malik, but after thirty-nine surgeries, which resulted in the amputation of his right leg, and months of extensive rehabilitation, Malik’s journey through life became much more significant and Profound. He moved forward in coaching at Science Park High School, where he once played basketball himself. Malik is now the assistant coach to his high school coach, and is part of two state championships and one sectional.
In 2011, Malik moved to High Point, North Carolina where he continued to volunteer as a basketball coach at the High Point Recreation Center. As head coach for middle school aged children, his team struggled, but as the assistant coach for the 10-U team, they won the championship in the High Point Recreation League.
As Summer 2012 approached, Malik received a role in the movie “No Child Left Behind, Just Left to Fail”, written by AceyMosely III and due to feature in 2013. Lil’ Seymour Jones also completed and self-published his first children’s book, entitled “The Kick the Can Kidz.”The storyline began in 2001 and took eleven years to come into fruition. While filming movies and writing books, assistant coach Malik continues to volunteer with the ZCYP as well as prepare for the upcoming high school basketball season at Newark Science. The many hats are forever present.
Lil’Seymour Jones’ ultimate goal in the community is to create a center where he can groom youngsters into becoming Division One caliber athletes, whether on or off the court. The center will also be utilized to help house professional athletes who have returned from playing overseas. The goal is to not only ensure a positive living domain for the professionals during their off season, but to also provide them with a stable environment where they train the youth, while using first-hand knowledge from their own life experiences.
The community depends on the leaders-leading.