Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Book Review: The Mother of Black Hollywood

I just finished Jenifer Lewis' fabulous memoir: The Mother of Black Hollywood and I am even more in love with her than I was before. 

Jenifer chronicles her life from moving to New York City to break into the Broadway scene, to her experiences with men and her sex addiction, to her tumultuous relationship with her mother, to her struggles with bipolar disorder and her journey to healing through therapy. 

Jenifer is literally the hardest working woman in Hollywood. Growing up in the 90s I only knew Jenifer from her stint on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and her most recent role as Ruby Johnson in Black-ish (this role was made for her). But she has worked with literally everyone in the industry and has been in a ton of very well known Black films. She was also the first Black person to appear on Friends

As someone who has struggled and finally learned to manage depression and anxiety, Jenifer's struggles with bipolar disorder and manic depression were really relatable. I appreciated how open Jenifer was with her life and her willingness to be 100% transparent with every part of her life, even the parts she is less proud of. It was refreshing to see a Black woman talk about mental illness and therapy because as we know, therapy is not something the Black community has always been open to.

I started out by reading this book just on my Kindle and then decided to listen to the audiobook while I read. The audiobook is narrated by Ms. Jenifer Lewis herself and as we all know she has a great voice. It was a true delight hearing her tell me her story. The book was great enough on its own, but having her voice to follow along as I read completely enhanced the whole experience. 

I can't wait to continue my rewatch of Black-ish knowing how far she has come and how hard she has worked. She has worked to overcome her demons and has continued to have a positive attitude while doing it. She is an activist and a true inspiration.

Happy Reading! 

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