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The Punany experience: an interview wit founder Jessica Holter aka Ghetto Girl Blue

November 15, 2010

by Minister of Info JR

Jessica Holter, Ghetto Girl Blue, founder of Punany Poets, author and AIDS activist
Jessica Holter is one of my favorite performers from the Bay. She is an erotic poet as well as an AIDS awareness worker. She is the founder of the Punany Poets, who some may remember from the HBO show, Real Sex. She recently released her sophomore book on Zane, “The Punany Experience: The War Between Tops and Bottoms,” and she is getting ready to go on the road with her cabaret show, so y’all better watch out. Here is Jessica Holter aka Ghetto Girl Blue in her own words …

M.O.I. JR: Can you tell the readers when and how you founded the Punany Poets?

Jessica: I had been an entertainment journalist for a while, and my early marketing efforts were supported by many people in the Hip Hop community: Davey D, Chuey Gomez, Dwayne Wiggins of Tony Toni Tone’, Conscious Daughters, A Plus of Souls of Mischief, Lev Berlak of The Grill, Money B of Digital Underground and Mystic.

The idea was to create a book of erotic stories and poems enhanced with photographs. Most of the photographs were donated by model and rapper Ebony Browne, and more than 15 people contributed to the text of the first book, which I titled “Punany: The Hip Hop Psalms.”

The book also includes dedicated sexual health pages. The theatrical performance came later, when I needed to start selling the book. I would produce shows with DJ Blackmon, wherein the poetry was enhanced by dance and the sets were broken up with music and vocalists. Those were great times.

M.O.I. JR: Why was the AIDS epidemic so important to you?

Jessica: I loved Hip Hop before it began to morph into gangster rap. NWA were catalysts for misogyny and provoked such unseemly behavior, I just knew that when Eazy E announced he had AIDS, it was a premonition. I founded The Punany Project that same year.

I thought, wow, women are going to get it now. By 1995, young Black men were already being carted off to jail like cattle. The connection between rap music and prison is no mystery, and prison sex is probably as old as prostitution.

At that time Black women were just about 20 percent of the HIV cases. Now we are closer to 70 percent of all the newly reported cases. Today you can live for a long time with HIV, but it’s such a hustle on the part of government and the health care industry, it makes me sick. There are people taking $15,000 worth of medication a month, and taxpayers are paying it. There is more money in the sickness than the cure.

I think it is sad that something as great and powerful as sex should be dangerous for us. For the poverty stricken people of this wealthy nation, sex is one of the only outlets we have for our stress.

I wrote my first article on AIDS years ago for The Green & Gold newspaper at Fremont High School when Ryan White contracted it. I am a rape and molestation survivor, so issues of sexual abuse are also very present in my work.

M.O.I. JR: Can you define erotic poetry, and why do you do this form of poetry?

Jessica: Erotica is art that arouses sensuality in you. Erotica is not pornography. Pornography makes you want to have sex. Erotica makes you feel sexy while also giving your mind stimulation and enhancing your creativity.

The Punany Poets specialize in erotic poetry. “Erotica,” founder Jessica Holter explains, “makes you feel sexy while also giving your mind stimulation and enhancing your creativity.”

Someone told me once that when a man speaks, people listen. When a woman speaks, people look first, and if they like what they see, they listen. I wear my fishnets and corsets and speak on things that titillate at first, then when folks are off guard and feeling nice, I speak of truths people (especially couples) are afraid to talk about.

M.O.I. JR: Can you tell us about your new sophomore release, “The Punany Experience”? What inspired you to write it?

Jessica: “The Punany Experience: The War Between Tops and Bottoms” is a novel about relationships between dominant people and submissive people that centers around a lesbian couple who push the boundaries of their sex lives to unhealthy levels. In a time when the lines of sexuality are being blurred, I felt it was time to talk about the taboo things that are sexual in nature but can affect every aspect of our lives and those of our lovers and families.

The most shocking part of the book involves a man who wants to have his prostate stimulated by a woman. I created a different perspective on the Down Low, to open up people’s eyes to the fact that men do have a very sensitive place that if touched, just once, can spark dangerous encounters in bathroom stalls.

I believe if we are to deal with AIDS, we have to start being honest with one another in our relationships about what we like and don’t like. For women who read this book, I wanted to impress on them that we do not have to accept unhappiness just because we are poor.

Everyone has a gift. In “The Punany Experience,” Stormy, my heroine, finds hers.

M.O.I. JR: How have people responded to it?

Jessica: The reviews have been good. I am very excited. Author Alyson Hobbs, author of “Pandora’s Box,” compared me to a young Toni Morrison in her Amazon review.

M.O.I. JR: How long did it take for you to write it?

Jessica: I worked on conception about a year before I was able to write it. When I finally sat down to get serious, it took two months. I hope to get my mojo back in time to finish by new book before Christmas.

M.O.I. JR: What are you working on now?

Jessica: I have one more book to turn in to my publisher, Simon & Schuster. It is called “Grave Mothers.” It’s about four women who are truly fed up with their children and conspire to kill them.

After this book, I plan to complete a gospel play called “The Gospel According to Kenita James.” And I have a really cute children’s book series I am seeking an illustrator for as well. I actually have six other books besides the two Zane published. They are all available on Amazon.

Email POCC Minister of Information JR, Bay View associate editor, at blockreportradio@gmail.com and visit www.blockreportradio.com.

Jessica Holter is Ghetto Girl Blue in this soul-healing poem about learning to love yourself again after sexual abuse. For more gripping material from this spoken word sensation, pick up a copy of “Speak the Unspeakable,” both the book and CD. 



Jessica Holter is a writer, a mother, founder of The Punany Poets, and activist for mental and physical sexual health. Visit her at www.jessicaholter.com.

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