Who Is Shemia Miller?
Shemia Miller started her career with the hopes of entering law school and fighting the system. She went to school to get a BA in Sociology and a MBA in Global Management. She's used her education to consult diplomats, political leaders, as well as entertainment leaders. But currently she works in the Rap music industry as the Vice President of Marketing Strategies and Communications at Daz Dillinger's hit record label DPGC
, sister company of Snoop Dogg's. And she writes chicklit to boot!
I know complicated women (I am a complicated woman!), but just who the heck is Shemia Miller?!
Gracie attempts to find out...
Shemia, please tell us more about your career transition... How did you fall out of fighting the system, and into PR? And why Rap music?
I am still fighting the system so to speak. I really thought that I could fight the system within the music industry. However I didn't realize that I had to have such a strong constitution because of all the filth in that industry -- and it is not just Rap, it's in the entertainment industry as a whole. I got started in PR basically because I wanted to help this conscious rapper -- someone who had social consciousness, and he said "you know what Shemia you can be a Publicist." It was by fluke or default. I wanted his message to reach the audience but the industry really and truly didn't feel that it was fitting. So I decided to really go further and try to reach artists who had the audience (1,000,000 listeners) but just didn't have the tools to be empowered and empower others.
I think there are 4 different types of rap music, and the industry just doesn't deal with exploring the different kinds. So far the music that lacks any type of substance has been at the forefront, unfortunately. It's one thing to rap about fun items, or partying such as Lil' Jon. I love his music. He has so much energy. Then there is another thing to just rap about debasing women or using women as some type of prostitute. And for the sake of being respectful I will leave those names to be guessed. But anyone who listens for 10 minutes to a radio station will surely be able to name those artists.
And so this is where the radio station comes in, right?
Yes. I was so disenchanted with the lack of equality of women present in the music industry behind the scenes and as artists, I decided to launch the radio station HER VOICE FM along with Platinum Queens. I co-created the radio show. However my book and writing has taken a front seat. I am still in full support, and look to jump back on board if time permits later on.
OK, so it was serendipity which took you from global management to managing rap music promotions, but now a fiction author?
I've always loved writing. It just came absolutely natural. I've written poetry and in countless diaries since the age of 5. Thanks to my mother and a good ol' Hello Kitty diary. I love communicating -- from writing my name over and over again to writing letters, from scribbling things down to countless emails, I love it. I went against writing, because certainly something so fun couldn't be a career! I have been a battle with that for the last 10 years of my life. Until finally I couldn't fight it anymore. The universe has a way of pushing you to do what you should do naturally.
My mother has totally been my support system and urged me to do it. Do it afraid, do it because I really want to do it, do it anyway in spite of this not being the most lucrative business for first time writers.
You define yourself as a 'chick lit' author. Tell us how you see/define the genre.
The chick lit genre is a very important genre. I am glad that it exists. The only draw back I believe to this genre is that I think that people tend to not take this line of literature seriously. Some have even uttered without even reading it, "Oh if it is chick lit it is just a girl story, and it won't have any real meat or substance to the story line." However that is certainly not true for this upcoming series, and I think it's a very unfair description especially for those who haven't even read the book. But it goes on with this society anything associated primarily with women is seen as weak. Furthermore stories that are light and easy to read doesn't mean that it didn't have a plot and a story line. Defining it I believe the Chick Lit genre encompasses a line of fiction that has the woman as the hero or lead in the story. And that's why I say that my literature is chick lit. The woman kicks butt time after time rather. Subtle or not so subtle, she is empowered and empowering -- even if it means making a decision closer to self discovery and her own truth than anything else.
So what's the book like?
The First Ladies Club Series, the story, takes place in Washington D.C. I am a Black writer, but my characters are all nationalities; four girls, Chance Cole, Jewels Montgomery, Lulu Baptiste, and Yasumi Muhammad. They have graduated from law school and realize that not everything is as practical as they learned in their law classes. I have one character that is bullemic, another character that is suffering from low self esteem, and so forth. The characters are so real that even I have grown to sympathize with them, hate some of them, wish that some of them would stand up... because I was creating very HUMAN super women, this was a problem for one who had an addiction to perfection.
Readers are the ultimate insiders, exploring the uncharted dynasty of the world's most powerful women, for these women have power that is only whispered about -- combined their bank accounts total of 300 billion dollars. But when they are invited to be members of the First Ladies Club they soon realize that not even their ideal neighborhoods can protect them from the dark corners of this elite organization. There is a world out there that has no rules. And the four of them just entered it. It's a journey of redemption and sacrifice, liberation and control, love and pain, and finally light and darkness.
I know the print version is due out in September, but the ebook is out now, right? What's the response been?
The First Ladies Club Series is so powerful and everyone that previewed the book has fallen in love with the characters so much that Chick Clique has been flooded with letter after letter asking not only when will the next book will come out, but they also want to know when it will hit the stores so their friends can read the book. The paperback is due out September 15, 2006. Keep your fingers crossed!
We will, Shemia, we will.
You can order The First Ladies Club Series by Shemia Miller here.