Erica Dixon of VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” took a break from reality TV to pen her very first children’s book. The first installment of the series is called Introducing Southern Bell, which Dixon co-wrote with professor and celebrity publicist Dr. Kisha L. Walker. The story is meant to help children cope with the effects of having parents with substance abuse problems.
The life of the main character, Bell, is one that Dixon is all too familiar with. Before she met rapper Lil Scrappy and became a household name for exposing their relationship woes on television, Dixon was a little Georgia girl with a mother who couldn’t raise her because of a drug addiction.
“Bell is basically me,” Dixon told rolling out. “It’s basically my story told through her.”
Though Dixon was forced to stay with family in Hempstead, New York, she eventually reunited with her mother at age 13. But her mom was still struggling, so the future reality star lived with her father until she graduated from high school.
Much like Dixon did, Bell has an unstable home life and is forced to relocate. Luckily, Bell has her older brother, Deonte, to help her with the things her mother can’t.
Six more books are set to be released in the Bell book series. Dixon said readers can expect a lot of ups and downs from the series. It isn’t clear whether Bell will end up on good terms with her mom, but maybe Dixon’s current relationship with her own mother is some indication of what will happen to Bell’s.
“We have a great relationship, and we’re building every day,” Dixon said of her status with her mother. “She’s cleaned up [off drugs].”
As a mother of a young girl, Emani, Dixon not only wants to be a role model for her daughter, but also use her Southern Bell books to help young people make better decisions in life. She also recognizes that her reality television platform could influence the children she’s trying to reach. This is why she makes it clear that a role on a reality show should only be used to publicize a real career.
“A lot of people confuse reality stars with actors and actresses, and that’s not the case,” she said. “It’s strictly a platform to get what you want out there. If you have the personality and the strength to be on a reality show and put some of your life out there … I’d definitely say do it. I’m not against it, but I don’t think it’s for everyone.”
Dixon is practicing what she preaches. Other than her books, she maintains projects outside of “LHHATL” that she’s passionate about, such as her lifestyle brand, Klass6. She describes the collection of hair, fashion and beauty products as “classy, but sexy.”
“A lot of girls feel like naked is the new sexy, and you don’t have to be naked to be sexy,” she explained. “You can keep it classy and be covered up and still be cute, or if you want to show a little skin, you can keep that classy.”
Dixon created Klass6 Hair after “LHHATL” fans began to rave about her gorgeous hairstyles on the show. She says that both lines are doing well, which is a testament to the overall message she wants children to get from the Southern Bell series.
“[The Bell book series] could be a lesson for kids that are going through something similar or something in general, and to see where a person like me is today. I didn’t become what I went through,” she said.