It’s been nearly 10 years since we published the Author, Author Sex Kitten Edition ~ and that was when we last spoke with Kola Boof.
Kola is an Egyptian-Sudanese-American novelist, television writer, and soccer mom. She’s the author of 10 books published in 8 countries. Her last novel was the highly acclaimed The Sexy Part of the Bible published by Akashic Books. Her autobiography, Diary of a Lost Girl, continues to be a bestseller a decade after its initial publication.
Because Kola is so controversial, I wrote this as the introduction to the second part of our 2005 interview, The Message & The Messenger:
Perhaps I am too Utopian *wink* but I do believe that when we gain insight & understanding, we can put our hearts & ethics into action. I respect the hell out of Kola Boof. Admire her greatly. Even when her words sting. For behind them, truth rings. I’d like to think there are others out there who can be taught daily, and not just from some ‘word a day’ calendar.
My views on education and understanding have not changed; nor has Kola. If anything has changed, it’s just that my admiration grows. Here is part one of catching up with the one and only Kola Boof.
Kola, recently you’ve been experiencing some attacks on Twitter (and probably elsewhere). Can you describe the situation?
This is a volatile time because of the war between Israel and Palestine. Particularly in the Black community, the support is overwhelmingly and passionately for the Palestinians. So I am seen as a traitor right now for standing with Israel. Americans do not care about my history as a North African born Sunni Muslim Black female, half-Arab, and all that it means historically, the Arab enslavement of my people…and to me personally, the horrific abuse I experienced as a Muslim girl child. American liberals and especially Black Americans simply see me as a traitor being hateful to the poor long-suffering Palestinians. So I am being horribly attacked and slandered on Twitter for not joining the Western liberal and Black American narratives.
It hurts a lot because I am adopted and raised by Black Americans. I want so much to please them and be accepted by them. So this is one of the most difficult times I have ever had as an American citizen. But I must stand against Arab Islamic governments for my dead birth parents and for my own integrity. My views on Islam would make Ayaan Hirsi Ali look like a Mullah. I’ve lived in Israel twice and have nothing but praise for Israel. I count Benjamin Netanyahu as a personal friend even though there’s little we agree on politically–he’s a friend. American liberals just can’t understand that because my politics up until now have been leftist liberal.
You’re no stranger to attacks. How much of this do you think has to do with the message ~ and how much does this have to do with your status as the messenger, i.e. race and gender?
That’s a great question. It has everything to do with my gender. For women to speak as loud, clear and assertively as I do is seen as unnerving even to those who support me. If I were a man, I’d be called Norman Mailer or Gore Vidal or Amiri Baraka. But as a female, I am literally swept under the carpet and often lied on. People will believe anything that’s said against a woman. The stories about me are outrageous. People in the press choose to believe it because they want to silence this Black woman supporter of Israel.
What do you think the public perception of you is?
The public…the people in the streets and bookstores, generally like me. To them I am entertaining and never boring, which Capitalists forget is the most important thing to laymen. But they’ve also been fed so many lies and conflicting stories about my personal story that they honestly don’t know what to make of me. I literally get that everywhere I go. I am very popular with the masses but greatly despised and feared by the establishment and by the industry people.
Is there any truth in the perception?
There is no truth in the smear campaigns that people like David Hoile and the Sudanese government and their Oil interests in the West have invented and spread about me. But when a Black woman is defiant and subversive, even in the West, these negative perceptions persist. I speak against Colorism and Black self-hatred, which bothers Black men and White people. I speak against radical Islam and Arab atrocities against Africans, so those Arab interests finance smear campaigns against me. The latest rumor is that I was born in Nebraska, not North Africa. They claim I am a fraud and a liar when in fact no one is more truthful than I am.
What would you like people to really know & understand about you?
I want people to know that I am the new Norman Mailer. Just with PMS. Haha!
No. I want people to know that although my words look masculine and aggressive in print, I am very soft-spoken and calm. I am not angry. People who meet me in person are always shocked at how gentle I am. I want people to know that I’m a happy wife and mother. I love my family and I have a wonderful sense of humor. I spend ninety-percent of my day laughing. I love any and all races of people. Any type of person, other than a child molester, is welcome in my home. I truly love animals, I literally have a farm. But with all that said, I am an artist and a critical thinker. My gender matters not. I have very strong opinions and passions. I am on earth to share that and I should not be silenced just because I’m a bit exotic and different from the conventional American.
As a mother, does public perception of you touch or impact your children?
My boys are still very young and not truly aware of ‘Kola Boof.’ I am Naima Bint Harith to them. I am Jason’s wife. I was their father’s wife. I teach them to ride horses, plant gardens, cook and shoot guns. They have been raised isolated from American mores and folkways as much as I could. But during the time we were under Federal Protection, they definitely suffered because of my past scandals and because of my politics. Their lives have been in danger because of me.
What lessons have you learned from all of this that you share with your children?
I don’t feel that one can truly live unless one is ready to die for the things he believes in. I am not into being liked. I am the living breathing embodiment of Alice Walker’s poem, ‘Be Nobody’s Darling/Be an Outcast.’ When I read that poem as a teenager and loved it so much I had no idea that I would in fact become that. So that is what I want my sons to be.
Our conversation with Kola continues on Wednesday. Meanwhile, you read her books, including UNDEFEATED: A North African Writer’s Support for Israel.