Sentinel Poetry Magazine January 2003
Nnorom: You are being described as a womanist writer. How do you interpret this whole womanism thing and how in your view do you fit into it?Conversation continues >>>
Kola: Womanism is a word that the wonderful Alice Walker created to accurately identify the purpose of Black woman - separate from the White woman's feminism. In womanism, we can have feminist beliefs and ideology...but still remain attendant to the cause and survival of our race - which is definitely under attack. I will forever love Alice Walker for giving us that.
Nnorom: Do you have to write? I mean, if somebody put a gun in your head and says, 'Kola Boof or Naima, if you don't quit writing, I will shoot your brains out?' Would you choose the bullet?
Kola: I have to write, yes.
Nnorom: Why do you have to write poems? What do poems represent for you?
Kola: I write poems, because I can't sing. I also write poems when people break my heart or whenever I want to commit suicide or curse out God, I write poems. I write poems when I want sex and cannot get it. I write poems to keep from killing people.
Nnorom: I have seen by reading your other interviews that whether asked or not, you always bring in two things, first your purported relationship with Osama Bin Laden and the fatwa on your head. I have not seen you flagging up names of your other ex-lovers who might be contacted by enthusiasts to help panel-beat your story into some sort of order. So I have to ask you what bearing this Bin Laden affair has on your writing. Are some of your writings representations of this relationship or is the claim some sort of poetry in itself - since Osama Bin Laden is easily one of the most controversial figures of our time and a reportedly dangerous man, are you using his name to say that you are a woman in bed with controversy and danger? If not, what is the artistic relevance of it all except to court attention and give you what may be seen as an under-considered boost in notoriety?
Kola: There is only one interview in which I admitted having an affair with Osama Bin Laden. I did not bring it up--she did. My reason for furthering my connection to him is only because people insist that it can't possibly be true. Osama forced me, for four months, to be involved in that affair. I never wanted him, but I was trapped in Morocco. That is what it's like to be a Black woman in North Africa. I was considered Black, he was considered White. Whenever he beat me, the police only arrived to ask him to do it more quietly. I was considered a "prostitute", because I am a Black woman who looks Black. That is what I'm saying about my personal life and that is the proof of the relevance of my literature.
Nnorom: I am trying to get the core message or thrust of messages in your writing. Tell me what do you want to tell the world and how do you figure you are a source of empowerment to women - if you write about sexual frustration, or the cursing of God, or as a way to stop yourself from killing people - I want to know, what is the relevance of this to any woman?
Kola: I write, above all else, to affirm and identify the authentic Black woman. To me, she is the most hated, most unprotected and oppressed person on the planet earth. My sexual frustrations are the sexual frustrations of millions of Black women whose image has been "disallowed" from world social sexual power. My cursing of God is the cursing of God of millions who ask--"why did I have to be this color and sex that when combined, is the most hated thing on earth?" My desire to slit the throats of everyone in my path...is the rage that Black women the world over suppress on a daily basis. That is the core from which I write.
Nnorom: What do you consider the role of a writer to be in contemporary society? Are you fulfilling this role? And in what ways?
Kola: The role of a writer is the same as a filmmaker. To impress upon the world...your vision of the way outcomes should be reached and to impress upon the world your version of history. In a smaller sense, the writer's personal life leaves a second history of the world. That is what I think about when I write anything. I never ever write for the people living today...I write for the person who will read my work 100 years from now. That is who I have in my mind when I write. Because the only thing we can really affect is the future.