Monday, December 10, 2007

Q&A with Ms. Abiola Abrams

Q: Abiola, who are you?

A: I hear you Scorpia-- who is this Abiola chick anyway? (smiles) I am a wayward goddess, and artsy, hip hop feminist superhero! (giggles) Ok, ok…. Real talk now. I am an opinionated cheerleader, hip hop feminist, fashion-loving, cultural critic, and TV big mouth.

Q: OKayyy.

A: I guess that the answer you’re looking for is that I am the host of THE BEST SHORTS on BET-J, an indie film show. I am an art filmmaker, and chick lit author who gives motivational talks. Dare, published by Simon & Schuster, is my first novel. Check it out! My book tour is called The Dare To Be B.A.D. Revolution, and I’m loving chilling at All Things Scorpia!

Q: What inspired your first novel Dare?

A: DARE is a smart, romantic, comedic story about finding true love and self-esteem. I was inspired by the crazy things that I see going on within the industry and the character Maya also goes through a painful breakup as I did just before writing this story.

Q: Why do you to call your virtual book tour the "Dare To Be Bad" Revolution?

A: My book release soiree is called Party Like a Book Star, and I’m really excited about my virtual tour called, as you said, the Dare to Be B.A.D. Revolution. B.A.D. means Beautiful and Daring. I want people to read this book and feel invincible. Maya’s best friend Athena in the novel Dare forces her to ask herself, What would you DARE to do if you knew you could not fail? That’s what the Dare to Be B.A.D. Tour, and Dare is all about.

Q: What's the plot?

A: Dare is the story of Maya, a sociologist with self esteem issues who goes undercover in the hip hop industry as a sexed up rapper named Jezebel and almost loses herself. It is a comedic portrayal of temptation and the entertainment industry. Dare also quotes almost every influential woman in hip hop from Roxanne Shante and Queen Latifah, to Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown to Wendy Williams and Kimora Lee Simmons. It is about learning to own and manage your personal power. I want us all to be strong, kick-ass goddess women! There are lots of goodies on my site to help us in that direction.

Q: What writers influence you?

A: Hmmm. I enjoy a wide variety of work from the literary works of Toni Morrison and Gloria Naylor to the tell it like it is work of Terry McMillan. I am also a magazine junkie! I also enjoy hip hop author Heru Ptah and many of my peers like Jennifer Weiner, Black Artemis and Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez. There are exciting things happening in black and Latin women's writing right now! I am also classically inspired as you'll even find hints of The Wizard of Oz in Dare. In fact, the entire novel Dare is a chick lit retelling of Faust set in the hip hop world. Ohh—and there are secret shout outs to the writings of Toni Morrison and Alice Walker in the book. Email me if you find them!

Q: Any other influences, Abiola?

A; Surprisingly, I was influenced by the music of Nas and Jay-Z. I was inspired by the videos of Beyonce, Tupac’s poetry, and films like Moulin Rouge, Frida and Romeo + Juliet. I was inspired by everything from sex to spirituality. I am an artist, so I draw from my environment. It’s crazy when I am in creativity mode. I might wake up in the middle of the night and draw a mural on the wall.

Q: Tell us about your show, BETJ's The Best Shorts.

A: The Best Shorts is a short film show and competition created by my producers Sean Joell Johnson and Ralph Scott. Another executive producer on the show is Paxton Baker of BET. We have a really strong team over at BET J who believe that it is important to tell alternative stories and give emerging artists a voice. Each season we give away a combined $30,000 to a winner and a runner up. Although we are on Black Entertainment Television, people of all races come up to me daily and tell me how much they love the show. Oh—just an FYI, there is no more BET Jazz. It’s BET J. (smiles)

Q: What other projects do you have in the works, Abiola?

A: I want to get women of color more comfortable speaking about sex and sexuality. We have a history of being sexually exploited and now we can’t tell the difference between that and true pleasure, which we do have a right to, like anyone else. Look for some erotic themed film work coming up: It’s like sex education for my generation, the hip hop generation. Until we can be sexually honest, women of color will keep dying of AIDS.

Q: Wow. Anything else?

A: I am building a very exciting partnership with Tracey Cooper over there is amazing. In addition to my BET show, I will be hosting a daily online show called Planet Abiola that you can find on soon. Check my site or for updates. The blackplanet page is . This was fun. Continued success DJ Scorpia!

Here’s where to find more from Abiola Abrams & DARE:
Abiola Central:
Abiola on Myspace:
Abiola on Amazon:

1Abiola Abrams interview © 2007 Abiola Abrams, All Rights Reserved.

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