"Hawaii" Mike // Follow
EXECUTIVE EDITOR, VIBE MAGAZINE
WHY: One of the realest cats I know in journalism, creator of King and Rides Magazines and great contributor to hip hop culture.
I'm Datwon Thomas. Brooklyn boy and self-made thinkinaire. Started my writing life at VIBE Magazine, bigged up to XXL Magazine, Diddy-Bopped with Sean Combs on Hookt.com, created KING Magazine (Rides Magazine as well), ran XXL for a spell, helped reshape Global Grind's vision and now VIBE'n again as their Executive Editor. Family is my life, three daughters and my wife and I'm all right.
HOW DID YOU FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU WANTED TO DO FOR YOUR CAREER?
I'd say a few factors played into my career path, but being inspired in the 90s by writers like Kevin Powell, Rob Marriott, Deborah Gregory, Bonz Malone, the early greats of urban journalism, made me realize I could put my love for music, hip-hop culture and my undiscovered love of writing into the same pot and cook it.
MY BIGGEST BREAK WAS…
My biggest break was getting my internship at VIBE Magazine. I went after that on my own, no school, no referral, no co-sign. Just a quarter to make the call of the number I found on the Internet. That's what started it all for me. However along the way, good people opened the doors for me to walk through.
WHAT WAS YOUR DEFINING MOMENT?
My defining moment was when I created the magazine that I'm most associated with throughout my career: KING Magazine. In a time where the urban world was booming, I came with a team that helped shape the culture of the moment. I wanted the young urban male to feel like he had a guide and a comrade in our brand. Defining that era helped me realize that creating is truly King.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Creating inspires me. A conversation with my wife and kids inspires me. A dope break beat flipped and chopped well inspires me. Street noise. My insecurities. Pet peeves. Mean people. Sunsets and cloud scenes. A ride through ghetto blocks. Fly gear. Slang. My heart, among other things, haha.
TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT WOULD SURPRISE OUR READERS.
Living overseas in (Japan) and in a few states (including New Mexico) in the military system for a few years as a pre-teen and teenager helped shape who I am as much as growing up in Brooklyn during my adolescent and young adult years have. I wouldn't be who I am today without the life experiences that each place taught me about myself. In each location outside of Brooklyn, I didn't know a soul, but ended up leaving with people I consider family. It takes a lot for a youngster to be transplanted in new places and adapt well and be functional. It's helped me in my travels that my career has afforded me in international spaces. For my Mom to make that choice for us, I'm forever grateful.
IF I WASN'T ME I WOULD BE… WHY?
Probably be a cool dude but just not in the music/media industry. I'd be teaching or counseling to some degree. I feel that way because I am usually dishing out wanted or unwanted advice. I'd be that or an NBA All-Star legend!