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Behind the Scenes withAfrodite Superstar

An interview with thefilm?s director, Abiola Abrams

By JamyeWaxman

 

Afrodite Superstar

AfroditeSuperstar is an AVN award-winning film produced by Venus Hottentot, apseudonym for Abiola Abrams, who chose to reveal her real to Babeland during ourinterview. Executive-produced by legendary feminist filmmaker CandidaRoyalle, Afrodite Superstar was nominated for 7 AVN Awards and won thecategory for Best Musical Score. Abiola Adams, TV personality, art filmmaker, hiphop feminist, and chick lit author has chosen to ?come out? as the director of Afrodite Superstar.

Babeland: Abiola, tell us about yourmovie, Afrodite Superstar.

Abiola Abrams: AfroditeSuperstar is a film about a wealthy and na�ve socialite who isn?t sure whatit means to own her body, or what the label sexiness means, and her humorousromp toward figuring it out. For me as a filmmaker, story is everything, and Iworked really hard on this short film script, which then incorporates a varietyof explicit sex scenes to become a featurette.

 

Babeland: That sounds great?sowhy direct the film anonymously?

Abiola Abrams: It?s veryhip hop to have a tag or pseudonym, and I didn?t want this work to conflictwith anything else I was doing. I chose the name Venus Hottentot to commemoratethe life of a forgotten South African woman who was sexually exploited inEurope in the nineteenth century. I made the film to empower women like me. That?swhy I have chosen to come out now as a part of a promotional tour that I amdoing for all of my work called Dare to Be a B.A.D. Girl  ? Beautiful and Daring. I have an amazing fanbase, and I want to be honest with them. If I am telling them to be B.A.D. ?beautiful and daring, I have to dare to do the same.

Babeland: You are a TV host, art filmmaker andchick lit author. How did you come to direct erotic film Afrodite Superstar?

Abiola Abrams: All of mywork is about empowering women culturally, politically, emotionally, andsexually. My previous films have included the topics of mental illness,communication, race, and gender. I was giving a motivational talk about sexualself esteem in Harlem, and it struck me that a different kind of sex educationwas necessary for adults in my generation, the hip hop generation. HIV and AIDSnumbers are rising. Abstinence messages, though noble, are not working. For me,the images that are currently being reflected in pop culture of women of color? largely by people of color?are exploitive and degrading. I decided that therehad to be an alternative, an alternative message and alternative images, a wayto contribute to helping to raise our sexual self esteem. Our full range beautyis also absent in the media in a non-exploitive fashion.

Incommunities of color, despite what you see in the media, we are extremelyconservative. We don?t talk about sex in our homes, and so there is aninformation gap where sexuality is concerned. We have a history of beingexploited, but we are not victims, and have a right to pleasure like everyoneelse. The experience of making this film was amazing as it forced me to dealwith my own sexual insecurities and fears around having honest sexualconversations, an evolving process for me. In this area, I am learning as I amteaching. One interviewer called me / Venus Hottentot, the Zane of film, whichI do take as a compliment.

Babeland: What other things haveyou directed, Abiola?

Abiola Abrams: I havedirected a number of different socially conscious films ? narrative shorts anddocumentaries, some comedic, some dramas, that have screened in museums,galleries, and festivals worldwide. After getting my undergrad degree from SarahLawrence, I got my MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and I also work withEve Ensler and V-Day to stop violence against women and girls. I have alwaysbeen intrigued by what makes people feel empowered. That?s why I really wantedto ?come out? at Babeland first, because I really respect what you do. Youcannot be politically empowered if you don?t feel like you own your body.

 

Babeland: We hear that you don?tlike the term porn. Tell us about that.

Abiola Abrams: Workingwith the legendary CandidaRoyalle, who is credited with directing the sex scenes in AfroditeSuperstar was wonderful. She is a pioneer for directing women-friendlyerotica.  I don?t like to get caught upin the semantics of language, but my intention was to direct an indie film thatwas also sexual, not a sex film, so I don?t use the word porn to describe thisfilm. It?s gorgeous, intense, hot, steamy, sexy, but not pornographic. However--call it whatever floats your boat, however, just see it, and experience it!  We are changing the cover for marketingpurposes, but this first cover (please insert) will always be my favorite.

 

Babeland: What is yourimpression of the finished film?

Abiola Abrams: People tellme that this is such a fun and moving film to watch. In addition, certainthings were important to me in this film?condom usage, dark skinned black womenwith natural textured hair and natural bodies. Dark skin, stretch marks, smallbreasts and afro textured hair are viewed largely as beauty liabilities. Iwanted to create those things as a part of the visual landscape of this story. Ipromise you, you will probably encounter no other film with sexual content thatquotes Gloria Steinem and Bell Hooks.

 

Babeland: What?s next?  Any more erotic films in your future?

Abiola AbramsAfroditeSuperstar is a powerful movie?beautiful, alluring, entertaining, sexy andfeminist--  so as an artist, I don?t feelthe need to direct any more films with explicit sexual content. Simon &Schuster just published Dare, my debut novel and on its interactive site www.daretogetalife.com you can see myother films, learn how to start a Dare Club or read excerpts. Dare is a chicklit version of Faust set in the world of hip hop. In addition, I host anational TV show, and an upcoming online show called Planet Abiola. All of this,along with motivational audio and video is at www.thegoddessfactory.com or myblog: www.thegoddessfactory.blogspot.com.I say that I provide inspiration for the rest of us. In other words, this isnot your mother?s motivation!

I am veryproud of AfroditeSuperstar, and the questions that the story raises about sexiness, confidenceand beauty. I am also proud that it?s a film that a woman can feel comfortablewith sexually, and introduce to her partner. Men actually love it. People can buy AfroditeSuperstar here at Babeland, and learn more about sexual self esteem on thewebsite www.venushottentot.com . Ican?t wait to see who Candida Royalle gives such a great opportunity to nextunder her Femme Chocolat banner.

Babeland: Thanks Abiola! And readers--AfroditeSuperstar has been recommended by both Essence Magazine and the Village Voice,as well as the American Association of Sex Educators.

BuyAfrodite Superstar now!

 

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