Black Blogger Month: AbiolaTV.com, The Passion of the Bytes

Multi-media maven Abiola Abrams is a one-woman show that has taken the Web and beyond by storm

Abiola Abrams, the founder of AbiolaTV.com/Abiola's Passionista Playbook

Putting one title on Abiola Abrams is simply impossible. The proud Caribbean and Harlem-based owner of AbiolaTV.com does it all. What started off as an online hub for interview and opinion videos developed into a multi-platform mini-empire that includes books, TV appearances and product lines. What drives her? Passion. That mission statement is embodied in her site tagline: “Life is not a passive experience. It’s a passionate one.”

Abrams’ motivation is to encourage women to live their best lives everyday. Her “passion” has also lead her to publish two books (one of which, The Official Bombshell Handbook, hits stores soon), be a lifestyle expert on the CW’s Bill Cunningham talk show, pen regular advice columns for Yahoo Shine and contribute to the teen site Gurl.com. Despite having monthly traffic of 30,000, over one million YouTube hits and 14,000+ Twitter followers, Abrams is still humbled about her success. Now, as part of BlackEnterprise.com’s Black Blogger Month, she discusses the business of running a passion-focused site, the importance branding and what drives her passion everyday.

The difference between blogging and vlogging is…

Like magazines to TV. It depends on the approach that a blogger/vlogger takes. I do a mix of videos from those that are highly produced—shot with two cameras and edited—to those that are just me and a Web cam. A few years back I had a great conversation with Melvin Van Peebles. I asked his advice about knowing what needs to be said and in which medium. He said to let the work dictate the medium, so some things may be a book others a blog, Web series or film.

The secret to making good TV and keeping segments from getting stale is…

Realizing that, yes, blogging and vlogging are a business but I am at service to my readers and viewers. My blog is about passionate living. So it all comes back to that. My objective is to build passionate living as a brand the same way that Martha Stewart built home keeping as a brand. She took cooking, gardening and home design and combined them under the home keeping banner. I am doing the same with “passionate living,” combining love, sex, dating and relationship advice with food, parties, empowerment, self-love affirmations and inspiration.

People trust my brand because…

A few years ago folks were calling me the “Black Carrie Bradshaw,” which I rejected as being sort of ridiculous. I am a Caribbean chick living and loving in Harlem, sharing my successes and failures. If I can have a fabulous life and help my sisters at the same time, then all is well. I say all the time that my whole reason for being is to help others know that they can live a big, fat, fun, juicy life. Carrie doesn’t eat curry chicken and struggle with her weight and student loans and the media telling her that Black women are doomed every time she turns around!

My best branding method is…

A combination of transparency and living out loud. It was very scary at first because I talk about self-empowerment but I also talk about love and sexuality. Those things are scary to talk about when working in Black media. But I realize and learn every day that the more comfortable I get, the more doors open.

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