Sentinel Poetry Magazine January 2003
Nnorom: Actually, I find it strange that in this world of kiss and tell, where people would sell their own mothers for money, that nobody who knows you, who grew up with you has sold his or her story? Why do you think that is?Conversation continues >>>
Kola: It's obviously because I'm not famous enough for anyone to pay money...and because my career is still very young. It's also because most of the people who really know me, personally and intimately, really love me and know that I am not anyone's true enemy. I just want to force people to have discussion and debate on issues that the world society traditionally refuses to acknowledge. I am an instigator, basically. Trying to cause debate and discussion. Many people meet my old boyfriends and are shocked to discover that I'm not the raging womanist warrior at home. I'm a very fun, exciting girlfriend...I'm even a man-pleaser who usually chooses macho sexist men as my mates, I can't deny it. But that's not going to create debate and discussion to facilitate change in the world. I had to create Kola Boof...because it's time for a Black girl revolution.
Nnorom: So, what was the purpose of your return to North Africa? Was that not a place that held so much bad memories for you? Did you have some demons to exorcise?
Kola: I was a paid party girl. I arrived in Tel Aviv with a Jewish filmmaker and went straight to Egypt. From there, I went to Sudan, Libya, Kenya, and Morocco. It was in Morocco that I met Russom Damba, the Ethiopian. I was trying to get him to finance a film that I wanted to make. Instead, he started a publishing company and printed my first book of poetry. It was in Arabic. "Every Little Bit Hurts". It was an underground hit with Muslim women and infidels...who like me...were terribly unhappy with the religion. Some Africans in London bought a bunch of copies. Osama Bin Laden telephoned me one night in Spain...he was very angry that I had "written my soul away". He told me that if he had the time waste...he would come to Spain and slit my throat himself. We had been lovers for a short time, you know, in Marrakech.1996.
Nnorom: Can you recall when you started writing and what you wrote about in the early stages of your career?
Kola: I started writing when I was about 13 or 14. Poems, movie parts that I thought Whitney Houston or Angela Bassett would want to play. I wrote to keep from committing suicide. I found it very difficult to retain my identity as an African woman in a place like America. American society is against authentic Black women. So I found a lifeline in the works of Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Richard Wright, Sherwood Anderson and Gloria Naylor. I loved Gayl Jones a lot. My writing style is like hers. Very masculine and confrontational, but womanist. I wrote my first book when I was 16. It was called "Come and Get These Memories". It's in a drawer somewhere.
Nnorom: Apart from the books you have put out, have your works appeared in any literary journals anywhere in the world and when?
Kola: Well, I'm not sure to be honest. For instance, someone had to alert me to the articles in the Arab newspapers and the Guardian in England. I was always an underground rebel writer. Totally removed from the high brows. Most people have always found me too "savage" and been prejudiced against me. I know that here in America...many magazines, especially Sister-2-Sister, have documented the huge popularity I have with college kids at Howard University and UCLA. Two of my biggest fans are N.Y. University law Professor Derrick Bell and Harvard University lawyer Keith Boykin, who's also a former aide to President Clinton. Both men are also published authors. They're huge Kola Boof fans and very loyal