Audiobook: 6h 54m; Release Date: May 1, 2017
This Is Just My Face by Gabourey “Gabby” Sidibe is the story of how the actress came to be in the position that she is in today. From beginning to end it is hard not to be engaged. It was interesting to learn of Gabby’s Senegalese background and of the relationships she has had with both people in the industry as well as in her family. There are a lot of vulnerable periods of her life revealed. The book is worth a read but admittedly it is not one for those who is sensitive or is not fond of sarcasm.
Audiobook: 10h 47min; Release Date: November 14, 2017
Jenifer Lewis’ The Mother of Black Hollywood is a raw and honest account of the 62-year-old’s life. Lewis doesn’t hesitate to tell it like it is and how it was. Unashamed and 100% unfazed by other people’s opinions, it is abundantly clear that she did not hold back on details that makes up her life story. Stories of a poorer than poor childhood to a successful but often times complicated adulthood the authenticity pours from the actress. Even with over the top theatrical undertones in her storytelling I didn’t doubt any part of it for one minute. Whether you are already familiar with Jenifer Lewis or not her memoir is worth the read. It’s one that I would even recommend listening to because reading it may not mirror the same experience as hearing the words from the author’s mouth.
Audiobook: 7 hrs 48 m ; released 2017
This book by Gabrielle Union is a collection of stories told by the actress in relation to her childhood, career and her life as a mother and wife.
This book was great! It’s engaging, intriguing and downright hilarious at times. Gabrielle Union narrates the audio version of this book and it was like having a conversation with a good friend. Her story telling ability is clear and articulate. There are stories that some may already know about the actress and others people may be hearing for the first time but with the way that everything comes together it is an amazing read (or listen).
I feel as though this book is one that you can read over and over and each time still be entertained.
Audiobook: 7 hrs 46 mins; Released 2017
Most may know him as one-third of “the most dangerous morning show”, Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club but many may not know how Lenard McKelvey a.k.a Charlamagne Tha God got to be in the position that he is in today.
In the biography, Black Privilege, Charlamagne gives the reader an idea of the kinds of things that goes on in his mind. There are parts of the book that make you wonder “is this guy serious” and others where you come to the conclusion that maybe he doesn’t have them all. But as the book continues Charlamagne, or Uncle Charla as he has been dubbed, recounts many childhood memories; his brief rap career (that thankfully never took off); his relationship with many well-known industry people, which gradually lead to his position in broadcast and his relationship with his wife. There’s also a portion of the book where he speak about how he came to be known as Charlamagne.
Overall, the book was both informative and entertaining. By the ending I felt as though I personally knew Charlamagne.
*** Since the publishing of Black Privilege, Charalamagne has gone on a many of press runs (that are worth a YouTube search) and is set to release another book at the end of October.
Currently, his book Shook One: Anxiety Playing Tricks on Me is to be released on October 23, 2018.
Gucci Mane: The Autobiography of Gucci Mane Length: 6 hrs 29 mins
Forget everything that you know or think you know about Radric Davis aka Gucci Mane. This autobiography is very good. I’m sure a physical copy would be a true page turner. With my experience it was a good listen. It was one of the few audio books that I listened to in its entirety in one day. I was not bored with Gucci’s recollection of his early childhood memories, his introduction to drugs (both the ones he sold and the ones he used) his life as a rapper and life after he realized his world was spiraling out of control. If you are my age and into Hip Hop you may remember some of the stories that are being recounted but even if you aren’t this book is still a truly engaging read.
Audiobook: 7 hrs 27 mins; released October 2016
Around the Way Girl: A Memoir is Taraji P. Henson’s story of how she went from living in the projects with her mother to being well off as an actress. Taraji’s recollection of the paths that she had to take to become the actress we all know and enjoy seeing on screen is raw. She holds nothing back and it is obvious that she is true to herself. I enjoyed the directness of her words and how she seemingly never let anything hold her back. Around the Way Girl is definitely a story that is authentic and inspiring. I believe that this is a must read.
Audiobook: 11 hrs 14 mins, released June 2017
I won’t lie. Seeing that Kevin Hart’s I Can’t Make This Up was 100 chapters and 11 h 4m of audio time I almost selected a different book! What could he possibly talk about for so many chapters!? I thought. Well, turns out Kevin Hart is actually pretty interesting. I was intrigued as he recounted his childhood and as he acknowledged all of the hard work it took for him to make it in comedy. He was nothing short of appreciative for the structure that his mom created for him as he was growing up because he feels it contributed to his being able to handle his success. There are parts of the book where he speaks on infidelity in his first marriage so the (now old) news of him cheating on his current wife just months after the release of this book is not shocking. He spoke in depth of his cheating ways and his problem with drinking. Despite his flawed personal life overall I enjoyed the book. Even through all of Hart’s corny humor the message of doing your best and never giving up was clearly conveyed. I would even go as far as saying I was inspired by the end of the book. He spoke heavily on how your perception of things can affect how your life can turn out. I only had an issue with a few of the things involving the different addictions that he had but I don’t want to give too much away. Kevin Hart’s I Can’t Make This Up was a good listen.
Length: 282 Pages
You may know him from The Daily Show on Comedy Central but before then he was just a street hustler going no where fast. Trevor Noah, in his book Born a Crime, recounts his days before being the well-known comedian that he is today. Life in South Africa didn’t come easy for Noah but he made it by becoming a disc jockey and a petty theft. Written as if he were presenting this book to an audience at one of his stand-up comedy shows Trevor Noah will make you laugh and (if you’re sensitive) cry. I’m not kidding! This book is worth the read.
Audiobook: 7 hrs 28 mins ; Released 2016
Angie Martinez, in her memoir My Voice, details her life as she went from just a Hip Hop junkie, just discovering the genre, to being a staple in the Hip Hop culture. By the end of me listening to this book I was actually considering buying a physical copy to add to my mini library. The book was written in a fashion where you aren’t overwhelmed by what is being recounted. Some people can go on and on about their life without actually saying anything but Angie Martinez kept me entertained and enlightened. Even with information, that by no means is new, she didn’t draw it out and make it dry. I recommend reading or listening to this book.