Stephanie Acon has been writing edgy fiction tales and poetry since the age of ten years old. However, it wasn’t until the age of 21, when she found Hip-Hop, (or Hip-Hop found her) that subsequently she became known to the underground Hip-Hop world as NinaRaw. For ten years consistent, she rocked with force and played a vital part on the side of Systematic Muzick Inc. (‘The OESC’ and ‘The Murc Unit’). In the midst of performing, writing, rhyming, recording, selling and shopping mixtapes…among the community, somewhere, NinaRaw became hailed and dubbed as the “queen.” And not by way of cliché props, but strictly because those saying the title “queen” meant it when they said it, and said it when they felt it necessary. By proof, NinaRaw was never just a rapper. She was the female emcee who crafted lyrics with messages that ran deep into memories.
To those who heard for themselves, her wordplay was unforgettable, and to the “underground” she set the bar, for not only female rappers, but lyricists period. Every rhyme written heeded life, and she packed them with something so intense it could only be categorized as royal. What drove the energy level up so high was simple, and complex, wrapped all in one explanation – her goal. Stephanie’s point to it all. The method behind her voice, and presence, was meant to be a lit candle among a lost generation. Her generation. Knowing that their influential genre of music could sometimes get so dark that listeners slumbered, she wanted to WAKE them. And Hip-Hop became a way…a tool. Although never commercially acclaimed, NinaRaw embarked on the mission of a lifetime. All by way of Hip-Hop! But then, after serving the culture for years, somewhere, over the last two, the course began to curve. Or change.
Fate was evolving.
The mysterious element that made NinaRaw unique was something far above rapping rhyming lyrics. It was more than that. It was rare, rawness, and it needed to crossover. Too bad, NinaRaw couldn’t and wouldn’t cross over. From the start, she was the exception, breaking the rule. Crossing over was not an option. Not in regards to Hip-Hop. Making commercialized music was not in the design, so NinaRaw stepped back. Something needed to be reconsidered. This female was more than just a limited rap song, or an image to be drawn up by A&Rs of a controlled system or industry. Even more than the writer she will always be, “she” is a purpose. A purpose that had to transcend and transform all levels in order to be fulfilled and make herself known abroad – without compromising; a reason to humble down from the boisterous style of rap music and become the light that she is destined to be, by any means necessary. If Hip-Hop wouldn’t allow the jewel inside to shine, then a higher power would. This is when life came full circle, and NinaRaw came back to herself.
Meet Stephanie “Nina” Acon. She is now an author…
ESCAPE FROM A NIGHTMARE is her first urban fiction novel. Her inspirations have been drawn from the many experiences she has endured, observed, and inhabited in the streets of St. Louis. One of Stephanie’s most compelling inspirations came from the life-altering tutelage that she received from her most profound mentor, GOD – and of course her crew.
About Escape from a Nightmare
Have you ever experienced a premonition that you just couldn’t shake? A foreboding dream or sign that you deeply wanted to ignore but…your spirit just wouldn’t release it? Well meet Gabriana Hilson… Gabriana is a dreamer in more than one way. She has daydreams of living the good life on her terms, and without compromise. But then, there are the “other” dreams. The very strange and disturbing omens that come while sleeping. They whisper the conflict of everything and arrange messages that Gabriana doesn’t want to hear…or see. Especially the ones about her boyfriend. That’s a problem. To Gabriana, Scholar is the king of kings. She is willing to sacrifice it all for him, including family, friends, God, and her sanity. She believes that Scholar is a beautiful dream come-true… but is he really?
After signing a record deal as a rapper, Scholar brings Gabriana along for the roller coaster ride of her life. He knows how much she loves him, so when the drama begins, he uses his manipulative tactics to hold her in place. He is the ruler of their world, and everything is running the way he has always planned until things go horribly wrong. Suddenly, a well-planned dream quickly turns into the nightmare of all nightmares. Both Scholar and Gabriana learn the hard way to expect the unexpected – for he comes out of the blue. Or does he? He is extremely calculating…and his name is Khali Simone. After meeting him… Gabriana has no idea of the door she opens.
Excerpt from Escape from a Nightmare
Gabriana grabbed her hair and buried her face into a pillow. “I cannot stand you.” Her muffled outburst vibrated the soft material surrounding her face.
She thought about how insensitive Scholar could be sometimes. Every since she was a child, Gabriana had been a dreamer. Since she was five years old, she would wake up in the middle of the night, screaming and crying. Her mother would always comfort her. She never judged or scolded her for the midnight disturbances. Why couldn’t her man provide that same support? Gabriana could never confide in him about her dreams or how she felt about life’s mysteries. He wasn’t the type; he wasn’t having it. Scholar rarely talked about anything other than himself, his goals, money or fame. His views on subjects such as God, Jesus, or any religions were simple. His motto was, If I can’t see it or feel it, it doesn’t matter. Once while at her mother’s house, Gabriana was upstairs getting dressed for their date, Jannette had asked Scholar if he believed in God. His response to her was honest. “I don’t know what I believe.”
Jannette pitied him during that conversation. She replied, “Scholar, if you don’t know your God, then you don’t know yourself. You have to know God in order to love Him. You have to love Him in order to love yourself.”
Scholar did not disguise his frown. He looked to the ceiling and exhaled frustrated air. When he returned his eyes toward Jannette’s, both of their expressions of distaste met head-on.
She continued in a slow, deliberate tone, saying, “Ultimately, you cannot possibly love my daughter if you do not love yourself.”
Becoming angered by her words, Scholar said to Jannette, “Look, no disrespect, but like my father told me a long time ago…I AM God.”
Jannette was taken aback by this young man’s arrogance. Who would teach their son that type of nonsense? That’s craziness, she thought. However, she did not express those questions to Scholar. She simply shook her head negatively and told him, “You are not God. You are not the Father… nor his Son. You are a fool.”
Scholar didn’t reply to her. He got up from the large La-Z-Boy chair and left her house immediately without saying another word or even offering a good-bye. He was so offended that he left Jannette’s front door wide-open purposely as a sign of disrespect. When Gabriana called him a few minutes later to ask him why he had left, Scholar told her that her mother had disrespected him. With a hint of hurt in his voice, he asked Gabriana, “Who is she to disregard anything my father ever instilled in me?”
Gabriana didn’t understand what he was talking about. Her only reply was, “My mother is not the same and she is always tripping nowadays. Just let it go, baby.” But he couldn’t. Ever since that evening, Scholar secretly despised Jannette. He never felt that she liked him. Whenever Gabriana would bring him around her mother he would grow quiet and/or agitated…and it always showed. Eventually, Gabriana stopped bringing him around her mother. Jannette didn’t necessary disagree with this, but the catch was losing time with her daughter. Gabriana was always with Scholar.
The night before had been a celebration for Scholar’s recent record-deal signing. Gabriana, Scholar and all of his family and friends had partied all night at three different clubs, all featuring personalities from the local hip-hop and R&B radio stations. It seemed like everyone in the city came out to support her dude. She was so proud of Scholar. Everything was finally happening, but it was all happening so fast.
After Gabriana and Scholar departed the hotel, Brick escorted the couple back to Scholar’s house, so he could pack. He was headed for New York City to handle some business with the record label and his management team. During the ride to the house, Scholar explained to Gabriana that he had been asked to join a popular hip-hop tour. It was a last-minute decision, but because of his rising popularity amongst the industry, his label and management wanted to utilize the opportunity to promote their newest artist. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Scholar was about to blow up very quickly.
Gabriana didn’t take this news well. “Why are you just now telling me this and why are you not taking me?” she asked with a salty attitude. Scholar chose this time to give the news to Gabriana purposely. He was not in the mood to argue about this with her, so he used his friend as a calculated distraction for altering his attention. Immediately, he turned to face Brick and changed the subject. Gabriana was beyond pissed. Once they were back at Scholar’s house, Gabriana met him in his room to talk. She asked Scholar again why he was playing her.
“Don’t start with me, Gabri. I already explained the situation to you, so what are you tripping about now?” Scholar started out calmly.
“Excuse me, are you serious?”
Shoving him in the face, she continued saying, “What is the matter with you? I have been the one here for you on your come up. I got your foot in the door and now you’re leaving me behind. Nah, nigga, that ain’t happening because you completely have me—”
Scholar interrupted her. “Who are you talking to right now, huh? You need to check yourself and keep your hand out of my face.” He was now yelling at her. “My talent got my foot in the door, so don’t ever give yourself that credit. You’re nuts if you think I wasn’t breaking through eventually…with or without your help. So don’t ever say that to me, again. It is what it is and you’re not going with me this round, flat out. And another thing, don’t start tripping with me, or disrespecting me, because I’ll leave you behind crying fo’real.” Biting down hard on his bottom lip, Scholar looked at her directly in her eyes. “Don’t ever think you can’t get the eraser,” he boldly said.
Gabriana couldn’t believe that he had just said that to her. The couple stared at each other without saying anything else. Gabriana tried to walk away, but Scholar stopped her. He grabbed her elbow and pulled her into his arms then spoke in her ear.
“Gabri, I’m sorry…but I mean every word. You’re my girl and I got you, but if you start acting opposite of that then you can forget about it. I will keep it moving and replace that pretty face before you can blink a lash. Are you understanding me?” He looked into her stunned face.
After another second, he continued, “But I don’t want that for us…because I need your faith right now.”
Paulette Harper Johnson