Film and literary critic Kam Williams passed away last month, leaving behind a lasting journalistic legacy of thousands of stories and memories of his great personality.
Kam was a prolific entertainment writer, often creating around 50 reviews and celebrity interviews each month. He reviewed movies, documentaries and books. More than 1500 examples of his work appear at NewsBlaze, after he first connected with me in January 2007. He was our chief critic.
His writing career started ten years before that, and he was an excellent writer. This was a great thing for me, because I edited every story we published. Having a writer with an almost zero error rate helped to get his stories published in record time, and we were often first to publish. He was kind enough to publish many of our links in in RottenTomatoes, which helped us gain more readers.
Kam syndicated his stories to more than 100 publications around the world, which used to be a good thing until google changed all of the rules in 2011. That one google change destroyed Kam’s syndication business and ours, and eventually caused the shutdown of many of our competitors, who were Kam’s customers.
Kam and NewsBlaze were too stubborn to give in to the searchengine bully. He would send his Top Ten lists, and I would enhance them to make them unique. I added text from his reviews and embedded the video trailer clips. We continued to work together, trying to figure out a way to stop google destroying both our businesses, until mid-2016 when it became impossible to continue our collaboration.
Kam Williams Cartooned
I enjoyed my conversations with Kam – we were close to the same age – and it was a pleasure to work with him. He was also a connector. He helped connect me with Troy Johnson at African American Literature Book Club and other writers followed him to NewsBlaze. Dedicated to books and film by and about African Americans and people of African descent, AALBC was the perfect place for Kam.
According to his obituary, Lloyd Joseph Williams was born in New York City on 11th December, 1952, and raised in St. Albans, Queens. While studying at Brown University, Sun Ra, the jazz musician, gave him the nickname Kam, short for Kamu.
Kam was a smart man, and a great conversationalist with an exceptional interview manner. He graduated from Brooklyn Tech High School in NYC, earned a Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in Black Literature in 1974, a Master’s in English from Brown University in 1975, a J.D. from Boston University in 1978 and an M.B.A. from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1980.
Rest in Peace, dear Kam. you were a commanding presence in the early shaping of newsBlaze, thank you. We liked you a lot, and we miss you.
Here is the last part of one of Kam’s last messages to us:
Good luck with the ongoing revisions and fight for respect from Google indexing.
Best to Sally!
Although he has left the room, Kam Williams will live on in our memories, through his writing and the remembered kindness he showed to others. A novel he wrote will be published posthumously later this year.
The obituary can be found at The Skanner, and other places. A memorial service and celebration of his life will be held at the Princeton Garden Theatre on June 29. Sadly, we are 10,500 miles away, but will think of him in NJ time.