They had confused me with David Beckham, the soccer player.

Barry Beckham describes his encounters with entertainer Bill Cosby when he promoted Beckham’s Black Student’s Guide to Colleges—the first of its kind—in the 1980s. The serialized episodes are collected in “No, I’m Not David, But I’ve Met a Lot of Famous People.”

“I chose that title because so many youngsters emailed me with praiseworthy comments,” he explains. “I realized finally that they had confused me with David Beckham, the soccer player. So, I replied with, “No, I’m Not David.”

The episode about Cosby is part of Amazon Vella where stories are released as one short episode at a time. Beckham expects to release a new chapter monthly. Beckham sees “No, I’m Not David” as a collection of candid and revealing encounters with some of the country’s most revered and sometimes reclusive icons and standard bearers. His series of interviews and encounters with the high and mighty include David Rockefeller, John F. Kennedy Jr., Miles Davis, Earl G. Graves, Edward Albee, and others.

Amazon Kindle Vella Page

The third episode after Cosby features John F. Kennedy Jr. whom Beckham knew while a professor at Brown University.

“I combine memoir with the new journalistic approach,” says Beckham. “Like Tom Wolfe, Norman Mailer, Gay Talese, and Rex Reed, my role in the story becomes as prominent as the subject I’m writing about, so I describe what they said and did when I was with them, using novelistic techniques of scene setting and dialogue.”

Beckham depicts Cosby’s voice and movement in several memorable situations. He admits that he didn’t understand the first three minutes of Cosby’s introductory greeting after his performance because it sounded like a minister’s discourse. The entertainer encouraged him to use the photograph of the two of them in all of his advertising. When Beckham said that he couldn’t afford it, Cosby told him to call John Johnson, publisher at Ebony, and arrange for credit.

Having published critically acclaimed novels and a biography of New York basketball legend Earl Manigault, Beckham says: “I’m eager to try combining my own biography with the lives of those I write about—like the new journalists recorded.”

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