GEORGIA ME brought her spoken word brilliance to the Verses & Flow stage for the show's season finale. We sat down with the southern belle to find out more about what she's been up to since her run on Broadway, what it means to be a ghetto belle, and why Atlanta is her most favorite place on Earth.
LA: What we love is that you represent Atlanta every chance there is to do so. What are some things about that city that you love, that others need to know about?
GM: The wealth of knowledge my city possesses, especially the African American journey in America! We cruise in the A, with one of the best things to do being sightseeing. Not of big buildings and such, but of black accomplishments. Our streets are named for prominent Nubians. Our schools are honoring legacy and there are more than two or three affluent neighborhoods of black people getting it.
I love taking my friends to restaurants like K&K on Bankhead or Chanterelles for a fantastic meal. I love learning, so I visit the APEX Museum, and I love the Shrine of the Black Madonna in the West End. True ATLiens love the park and Atlanta has so many green spaces with activities and shows that, even without a penny in your pocket, you can have a great time. Most of the clubs are just runways for people needing to be seen but I am a "hood aficionado" so I love the Central Station, Bigelow's, Crucial, Deja Vu and Club Bankhead .
I like down to earth folks with little pretension. As an artist, I am grateful to know the soul of the city with all the lounges, clubs and bars where you can enjoy the enormous talent presented. Apache Cafe is a staple for artistry of every kind. Now, I know everyone's heard of Lenox Mall, but to get great shopping go to Little Five Points. Eclectic, funky fashions for eclectic, funky people. You can get anything in Little Five but I do most of my shopping in the West End Mall.
You created the TAMIKA Festival. Tell us what it's all about, and who's able to attend.
Well, the wonderful cities of Atlanta, College Park, East Point and the mighty Fulton County awarded me with my own day!! Yeah, I said it it MY OWN DAY!!! May 4th is officially Tamika Georgiame Harper Day! So after the joy of being honored it was only natural for me to use this to serve my people, my community, my city. TAMIKA Fest was created to showcase every aspect of the diaspora, focusing on health, education, government and most definitely ART!!! I am so blessed to live a life, not based on money but the wealth of my relationships. Artists--both famous and below the radar--came from all over the country to sing, rap, dance and, of course, perform amazing Spoken word!! We have everything at the Tamika Festival for all ages and all open minds. I am beyond happy to bring this event to my city. It will be one of the biggest in the world. It is already the best!!!
As part of the original cast that starred in Def Poetry Jam on Broadway, what was one thing you took away from that experience that helped you as you went forward with your career?
First, thank you God for allowing my dream to become reality. I learned greater things that I shall do. Watching Stan Lathan and Russell Simmons put together this project taught me how a show should go and that you don't sacrifice vision. I have always been one to strive for perfection, nothing short of excellence, so DPJ on Broadway has been my litmus test as to what I will participate in, and the level of respect my art form has to demand.
"Ghetto Belle" reads like it could be a song. Was that the original intent for the piece? What inspired it?
Like all of my poetry, "Ghetto Belle" was inspired by my life. My ex-boyfriend was raised affluent and he said you might be a little too ghetto for me. It's OK, he has gone on to do absolutely nothing with his life, while Most High God has allowed me to travel overseas, win awards, meet icons and fulfill my dreams. "Ghetto Belle" is the manifestation of years of people trying to define me or limit me. It is a piece about freedom and loving who you are. It is a song and poem and will be the first official single from my upcoming album.
As you know, LEXUS is all about luxury and performance. What is one luxury that you cannot live without that people wouldn't know about unless you told them?
Thai food!! I know, I know. It's not cheap or readily available in my neck of the woods. Also, dead sea salts--I got hooked on them but can't always get it. Not that it's really expensive, but my skin feels like a million bucks.
Stay tuned right here at luxuryawaits.com for more interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, and web-exclusive videos from the talented poets of "Verses & Flow" in the coming weeks.