The Sad Tale of Iceberg Slim

I just finished listening to the CD version of “The Naked Soul of Iceberg Slim.” Robert was a complicated person, raised in poverty, estranged from his mother due to some problem with a step-father, lacking in education, yet gifted.

After many years of being a pimp, he finally had enough of the prison life which came with it, and went straight. He said he was glad when he was able to stop exploiting and brutalizing black women.

Then Robert was exploited himself, by the publishing industry. Despite writing several books with sales above two million, he died penniless in 1992, at the age of 73. I haven’t seen his contracts, but he must have given up most of his rights, including the co-publishing royalties.

Publishers took his money, but they could not take his lasting fame. His writing is riveting. “Naked Soul” includes some political rants, but his street stories continue to be his best writing.

R.I.P, Iceberg Slim.

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