Earlier today I listed two events for Kola Boof in Harlem. For those unfamiliar with the author, below are details which I hope will spark your curiosity to come out to see her and purchase a book or two.
Sally Worwill, a feminist Scholar at Sarah Lawrence University, described Koal Boof as “Refreshing, daring, disturbing, imaginative and original. I can’t believe she’s so underground.”
I couldn’t agree more.
I first heard of Kola Boof many years ago on several BlackVoices.com message boards. Conversation after conversation kept coming up about this writer with people questioning everything from whether or not she was a real person to if she was making things up in her books. There were stories coming from so many different angles that one could barely keep up with the questions and accusations. The New York Times even did a three page article on her.
Fast forward to 2009 and I ran across Kola Boof on Twitter. I followed her out of curiosity to hear (read) her words from her own voice and not second hand speculative talk.
To say her tweets are entertaining as well as controversial would be an understatement. On most days, you can find her engaged with friends and foe alike. Subjects range from Racism, Sexism, Colorism in the Black Community, Sex and just about any other taboo subject most would only discuss with close friends or behind closed doors. Some love her for her outspokenness and some are literally trying to silence her voice. A bookstore in California has actually refused to sell her books because she focuses on African women’s issues and indictes Black men in much of Black women’s suffering. The store owner said that “her work divides the community and portrays Black men in a bad light.”
The details that I’ve learned about her life literally read like the plot twists of a movie. I’ve even mentioned to her that her life would make a great film. Some of the details are listed below and believe it or not, those details are just part of her story.
- Kola Boof was born Naima Bint Harith in 1969 in Omdurman, Sudan to Arab Egyptian archeologist Harith Bin Farouk and his wife Jiddi, a Gisi-Waaq Oromo.
- Her birth parents were murdered in her presence (at the age of 9) for speaking out against slavery and other atrocities by the Sudanese government. In 1979, she was adopted and thereafter raised in Washington, D.C. by Black Americans, Marvin and Claudine Johnson.
- In 1993 Kola Boof became a citizen of the United States and in 1994 she returned to North Africa to pursue a career in modeling and acting.
- She has written for the daytime soaps Days of Our Lives and Young and The Restless. She created the character of E.J. Wells DiMera, who is now the most popular Male villain in daytime television.
- In 1996, she was kidnapped and forced to become the mistress of Osama Bin Laden. A media frenzy ensued and she lost her writing post at NBC’s Days of Our Lives after sponsors became nervous.
- CNN has called Kola Boof the most controversial woman in the world and MSNBC and FOX both featured Kola Boof in two-part interviews (1 / 2) where she was introduced as the “former Mistress of Osama Bin Laden”
- Kola Boof is the only Black Author to ever win the Swedish Gavinna til Gavinna (Woman to Woman) Prize for non-fiction for I Am My Own Daughter.
- Kola Boof’s autobiography, Diary of a Lost Girl is the first book by a Black Author to hit #1 in Denmark since Alex Haley’s Roots.
- As one of the top female members of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), Boof has traveled to Israel and secured guns and ammunition for the nation of South Sudan. She has also been a freedom fighter for the SPLA working side by side with Francis Bok, Joe Madison, Danny Glover and many other activists. In 2008, the government of South Sudan rewarded Kola Boof for years of activism by appointing her National Chairwoman of the U.S. branch of its peace organization The Sudan Sensitization Peace Project.
- In 2007 she won the “World Author’s Woman to Woman Pen” for Non-fiction, for her essay I Am My Own Daughter, which appeared in the popular Swedish feminist magazine, OTTAR—Sweden.
- She has been published in Harper’s Magazine and was included alongside top literary writers Noam Chomsky, Charles Baxter, Z.Z. Packer and Stewart O’Nan in the groundbreaking short story anthology Politically Inspired.
- In African literary circles she is widely referred to as “Daughter of Chinweizu.”
If I’ve peaked your curiosity in any way, definitely check out Kola Boof in Harlem.