If you've ever seen episodes of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" or "Black-ish", or movies "What's Love Got To Do With It? ,"Cars" or "Princess and the Frog" then you are familiar with Jenifer Lewis and her signature acting style and one of a kind voice. Affectionately referred to around my neck of the woods as the "Loud Auntie" or "Everybody's Mama", Ms. Lewis has an extensive list of film and television credits that rival any Emmy or Oscar winner. Her gifs are legendary in these streets and so are her hilarious videos with singer Brandy and Broadway actress Roz Ryan. In case you forgot, here's a sample.
I've followed her for years but, it's her latest endeavor that has given me a new reason to fall in love with her again.
In late September Jenifer Lewis shocked her fans and followers when she announced that she had written a memoir in the most hilarious way! Watch her video below.
After I saw this video, I rushed over to Audible and preordered "The Mother of Black Hollywood" then had to sit and wait until it was ready. I got the notification around midnight and downloaded the audio in no time. 10 wonderful hours of "Mama Jeni" telling me about her life. The good, the bad, the brave moments. She spun a rags to riches tale that made me feel like a friend being let in on a buried secret. There was love, loss, depression and an insatiable lust that seemed to captivate me even more hearing it from her own lips.
It's no secret that Jenifer Lewis has bipolar disorder but, what I found fascinating was her journey to the discovery. The way she "self medicated" until the discovery is something that we see in Hollywood, and our own neighborhoods, every day. To say that it shed some light on situations, and people who are also dealing with bipolar disorder, is an extreme understatement.
"The Mother of Black Hollywood" takes a look at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic with a first-hand account on what it was like to lose a countless number of friends to a disease that, at the time, had no name. It's a trip down memory lane, an expletive filled joyride to stardom and all of the warmth and peace that comes from finally understanding your place in this world. I can't imagine not listening to this book over and over again and if I had to rate it, it's a definite 10!
To listen to a sample, or order your own copy, click here.