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Love and Hip Hop Atlanta’s Erica Dixon Bringing A Dose Of Reality To Children’s Books

The first thing I tell Erica Dixon of “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta” is that I have never watched the show. It’s a lie. I tried to watch it once and had to stop after about 10 minutes. It was just too real for me. So outside of knowing what Erica looks like I don’t know much about her.
“I’m the voice of reason,” she says, explaining her role on the show. I always try to give my cast mates the best advice.”
It’s a role that must keep her busy because one doesn’t have to watch the show to know the drama is legendary. People love to hate them, which makes me wonder how she deals with some of the more negative feedback.
“I’m a tough cookie. The only thing that really bothers me is when people target my child or have something to say about the decisions I make when it comes to her.” Erica’s daughter Emani is 10-years-old.

“Plus,” she adds, “there’s a lot of editing on the show so you have to take the good with the bad and use it as a platform, and keep going.”
In Erica’s case, this platform set the stage for the launch of a series of children’s books called “Southern Bell Book Series” based on her life. She says, “It was important for me to tell my own story because you only get bits and pieces of it on the show.”

Introducing-Southern-Bell
Bell, the books lead, lives far from a fairytale life. It’s the type of book that Erica wishes she would have had while growing up with a mom addicted to drugs.
“You have kids in elementary school committing suicide because they think they are the only ones going through something. But if they can read a book about someone who went through something similar and came out of it, they can see that it’s going to be ok.”
Erica has turned out more than okay, but it hasn’t been an easy road.
She was just six-years-old when she and her brother, just one year older, were sent from Atlanta to New York. It was her grandmother’s sister and her husband that stepped in when her mom was sent to prison, and her father was lost to alcohol.

It was a scary transition for both of them because they had no idea what to expect. Fortunately, living with her aunt and uncle was the best thing that could ever happen to them. They went from a diet that often included butter and sugar sandwiches to eating meals everyday, going to school everyday, and getting their hair combed everyday.
Erica and her brother would grow to love life in New York, enjoying Girl Scouts, their own room, church activities, and a community of friends who all knew each other.
“These were big things to me,” Erica explains, “I learned what’s supposed to be done as a mother.” She also learned what type of mother she would one day like to be.
Everything, however, came to a screeching halt just a week before Erica’s 14th birthday when her uncle died suddenly of a brain aneurysm. Shortly after, her mom got released from prison and wanted them back in Georgia.
“We begged my aunt to stay in New York, but between her husband dying and my mom asking for us there wasn’t much she could do.”
And just like that, they were headed back to Decatur, Georgia, facing yet another transition. She found herself sharing a room with her mother while her brother was sharing a room with an uncle. School was another challenge. “Going to a private Catholic school in New York, we had never experienced fighting. In Decatur, a kid brought a gun to school, my brother got robbed…I stayed home a lot.”
Ironically, it was weekends with a now responsible father that she and her brother would begin to look forward to. Within a year, they were moving in with him full-time and Erica would remain with him until she graduated high school.
Wow, what a rollercoaster of a story! “Tell me more,” I ask her.
“No,” she says, laughing, “I want you to read the book. That’s the whole point. It’s going to come in seven installments and end with a BOOM POW tell-all.”
An inspirational book for kids and a tell-all?
SOLD.

For more information on Erica’s children’s book series, and her clothing and hair line, visit MsEricaDixon.com

This article first appeared on Madamenoire 1/18/16

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