Still not able to post with any regularity and been busy, busy, busy.
I just got Kola Boof's permission to post this. There are a few deletions made for clarity:
I just arrived back in California today and am so glad to be reunited with my sons.
I wanted to give you a brief rundown of my tour thus far in Washington, D.C., Memphis and Philadelphia.
You will find this very interesting--since the media went out of their way not to cover me (which wasn't a surprise since they once claimed that I don't exist anyway).
Washington, D.C. Friday, August 27th
I appeared with my adoptive mother (Claudine Johnson) on the popular radio program "In Our Voices with Nkenge Toure" on WPFW, the Pacifica station in D.C.
For those who don't know...I was adopted and raised in Wash. D.C. by Black Americans. D.C. is my hometown.
*This radio broadcast was a big hit and my mother had half of D.C. in tears as she told the story of how she and my father, Marvin Johnson, adopted me after I had seen my birth parents murdered in my presence in Sudan. She also spoke at length about the difficulty of raising an Arabic-speaking African girl child and she spoke quite movingly about her pride in me. Many people called in and the response was very loving and impowering for me. The people of Anacostia (my neighborhood) expressed great pride in the fact that I am representing them.
I Gave a Speech at the Sudanese Embassy
That same afternoon.....right after the radio show......I went to the Sudanese Embassy on Massachusetts Avenue. **This is where Danny Glover was arrested two days earlier for taking up the cause of Sudan's Black Southern people.
Joe Madison, a former head of the NAACP and a very close friend of mines recognized me immediately (I am 6 ft. 3 and very "eyecatching") as I arrived with my bodyguards and a family member (my sister). Joe Madison called me up out of the crowd and onto the steps where he was speaking through a bugle horn. He and the famous black politician Walter Fauntelroy then showered me with praise and introduced me to the audience as though I were some ancient Queen come to life. They were too kind.
I stood on the steps surrounded by Joe Madison (who is on a hunger strike), Walter Fauntelroy and barred from the Embassy by the U.S. Marshalls and Secret Service People. I gave a very impassioned and Un-planned speech to a crowd of about 50 protestors and they cheered me and ....at least 27 of the men rushed me when I came down off the steps, hugging and kissing me and praising me for my words about Sudan and about courage, truth and media censorship and unfairness.
Unfortunately--due to sexism and jealousy--not a single Black African man or Sudanese male of any official capacity stood with me or supported me. Their treatment of me will go down in the history books--and I continue to find black men, in general, to be hostile and non-supporting of any black woman who deems to stand up for herself and for other women and to be public with her politics and her life. Of course, they support these qualities in the White man's mother, and will stand beside her and support her in everything she does...but not me, an African woman.
There was, however, a Dinka refugee from Sudan in the crowd and he came up to me with tears in his eyes and told me that he was from the village of JUPA and that he wanted me to know how much the people in Jupa love me, appreciate me and are proud of what I am doing for my people and my country. He called me "Queen Kola" and told me to keep fighting for the liberation of the Dinka and other Sudanese black peoples. His words, of course, made my year---because it is rare for me to hear from anyone who is actually in Sudan's interior.
Television Interview Cancelled
I was scheduled to do a television interview that morning with Channel 9 News at 9...but it turned out they only wanted to speak about Osama Bin Laden.
They said that I was not a big enough celebrity to talk about my books or my career or my politics. They wanted to focus ONLY on Osama Bin Laden.
Therefore, I refused to do the television interview.
SATURDAY--next day--The University in Washington, D.C.
First GLITCH...at the Hotel...the designer gown that I was supposed to wear for my event at UDC was found ...mysteriously trashed and sabotaged.
I couldn't wear it--but I took it to UDC and showed it to the audience. I wore a knit skirt and top with plunging cleavage instead. I will have photos posted next week at my web site.
Second GLITCH...a "planning executive" for the University mistakenly told people that the Kola Boof event was "Cancelled". He also told me and my personal planners that the books that were sent to the college by my publisher had...never arrived!!!
Of course, I pannicked. But as I gave my speech at UDC, my workers found out that the books HAD been in the University Warehouse since Wednesday!!!!!
Still.....I arrived with my bodyguards and family members at the University of the District of Columbia to headline my very first public event in America--and immediately became so emotional that I couldn't stop crying. For the first half hour, I mesmerized the audience with my life story, my sincerity and my openness. The turnout, because of the lie about my event being cancelled was on the low side...but within an hour, I had taken a microphone and gone into the audience and made such a deep, passionate connection with the people in attendance...until the low turnout didn't matter. One of my internet pals from aalbc.com--Donald Lambert--came to the event and that was a good luck sign for me. He was kind and supportive and that gave me hope and confidence. I opened my heart and soul to the people and ....the audience loved me, they were fascinated by me and they supported and praised me 100%. I felt so loved and so accepted that it was like being born for the first time. I was a HUGE hit...despite Mr. Harris's "false announcements" and despite my gown being soiled at the HOTEL.
Following the event, I gave out free copies of both "Long Train" and "Nile River Woman" and I signed and sold the warehouse copies of my new book--"Flesh and the Devil".
I hugged and kissed everyone in the auditorium, I talked to them personally and we took a multitude of pictures together.
Throughtout all these events in Wash. D.C., I was personally escorted by the handsome and very brave Dr. Gerald Blynd--he treated me wonderfully and protected me and cared for me as though I were his other half the entire time. And I also got to finally meet my dearest sister girl in the world--Ajowa Ifateyo--who looked stunning in a rum and flowers goddessa gown. She and I finally got to meet in person and it was the personal highlight for me!!!
Ajowa and Gerald, I thank you and I love you.
SUNDAY MORNING.......MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
God knows...that I didn't expect much of a welcome in Memphis, Tennessee...but my God, how wrong I was.
The Black Men of the MEMPHIS POLICE DEPARTMENT and the MEGA ARTS POETS GROUP (led by a handsome black police office named Tucker and a boxer named Kirkwood) showed up to hug me, kiss me and be my personal BODYGUARDS. I truly felt like I had brothers.
My good friend and fellow writer/radio host Mikii Marion Hooper (Gran Gran) hosted two events in my honor. The first was a luncheon for me at the MARCUS GARVEY SCHOOL in Memphis. The turnout was surprisingly strong, I spoke about my life and signed/sold a good number of books.
Then Mikii introduced me at the Java Juice Jazz Gallery---a nightclub, soul food joint that sells books and has live music--the place...was PACKED!! At least 250 people came out to see me and they literally would not let me go. Our time together was so spiritually powerful and full of substance that I stayed nearly 2 hours longer than I was supposed to.
I sold a huge number of books and signed them, taking pictures and answering questions for the visitors. It was wonderful!!!
One of my longest supporters--Obie Holder of Nashville--drove over to Memphis to see me and that made it all worthwhile, because Obie has been reading my books since BEFORE they were available in the U.S. He came with a gorgeous, sweet black girl named Monica whose energy was so pure.
Don't let anybody tell you that folks down south are "backwards," "country" and "uninformed." The blacks down south that I ran into were very sophisticated, intelligent and highly talented in their own right.
They fed me the dinner I requested---Neck bones, greens, corn bread and macaroni and cheese---and later, at Mikii's gorgeous home, she and her husband, Hooper, and my new favorite "mystic lady of elegance and intellect" Ladonna...threw an impromptu party for me that included live music and live poetry readings by members of the MEGA ARTS poets and writers groups. These men (and a few women) are the most gifted, most original poets that I have heard since teenhood and I will be actively trying to find an outlet for their art and their work. They MUST be heard and they were just brilliant.
I got good and drunk, flirted with the gorgeous men of Memphis, basked in the glow of Mikkii and Ladonna, laughed with Hooper and partied all night long.
It was heavenly.
After spending all day Monday with Mikii, Hooper and LaDonna in MEMPHIS and greeting more guests at their home and signing books....I finally left that evening on a plane for Minneapolis.
From there I flew to Philadelphia where I appeared at a Wine Chat in the Govenor's Art Gallery--which was by Invitation Only.
This crowd of 75 was mostly black and mostly rich "art patron-types" who wanted to meet "Osama Bin Laden's mistress". I signed their books, spoke about my life and departed almost as quickly as I had come. I will have to come back at another time and meet the REAL people of Philadelphia, whom I'm sure are more interesting and down to earth.
I flew out for California late Tuesday night and arrived in Southern California...greeted by my sons and their father...early Wednesday morning. In all, I'm supposed to tour 10 cities.
COMING UP NEXT----DETROIT
While I'm home in California, I'm trying to put the finishing touches on a very important poem that I'm writing about the legendary Nigerian scholar, writer (and my good friend)...Chinweizu.
I love Chinweizu so much, so it's crucial that this poem be fitting and worthy of such a brilliant and acclaimed pioneer of African literature and Pan-African thought.
I will also be overseeing the publication of two books that I edited for Door of Kush...Chris Hayden's vampire novel "A Vampyre Blues: The Passion of Varnado" and Diane Dorce's "Devil In the Mist". Both books will be released about 2 weeks later than originally planned, but are worth the wait.
I have a lot more appearances coming up, but the only ones written in stone for right now are Chicago (Sept. 25th) and Detroit (Sept. 26th).
A gay women's group called "Affinity" in Chicago is having a dinner for me on the 25th and I will also sign my books at Barnes and Noble Bookstore that day. On Sept. 26th, I will be speaking about my life and selling my books at the fabulously famous BLACK STAR BOOKS of Detroit.
I also have a radio interview coming up with Akua on the Pacifica Station in Houston. Her show is called "Pan African Journal". I forgot the date of the interview.
I thank everyone who took time to read this email and who have been praying for my safety.
Thank you all and tima usrah.
Posted by ronn at September 6, 2004 07:42 PM