10 Memoirs by Black Celebrities: Politicians, Comedians, & Other Badasses
As a post-COVID world and semi-normalcy seem closer than ever before, there’s no doubt we’ll be jumping at the chance for social interaction. But hopefully, your newfound (or reborn) love of reading discovered during quarantine doesn’t go away. If you’re looking to expand and diversify your reading list, memoirs by Black celebrities, artists, activists, and politicians are the way to go. You’ll laugh, cry, and will want to finish the book in one sitting. Luckily, we’ve got multiple options in case you do. Check out these 10 awesome memoirs by Black celebrities.
Lead from the Outside: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change by Stacey Abrams
This “memoir” by the Georgia politician and former member of the Georgia House of Representatives Stacey Abrams is essentially a how-to on how to create change. And coming from the woman who single-handedly helped turn the state of Georgia blue in the 2020 presidential election, I’d say it’s pretty sound advice. Abrams takes her personal and professional experiences of leadership into consideration when writing this book to help her readers overcome the obstacles inevitably thrown at women and people of color.
Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
We know Shonda Rhimes as the genius behind Grey’s Anatomy, Bridgerton, Scandal, and other binge-worthy television shows, but this memoir shows her in a whole new light. Apparently, Rhimes was an introvert who was awkward during interviews and social events, avoided parties, and always said no to an invite. This novel is about how she completely turned her life around by saying “yes” to the things that scared her. It’s a great story that helps normalize one of the great TV writers of our time.
The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae
This book by writer, creator, and star of HBO’s Insecure Issa Rae is a bestseller for a reason. It’s a collection of real and relatable short stories about Rae’s encounters with family, love, and life as…you guessed it…an awkward Black girl. While much of the book is hilarious, there are some serious conversations included as well.
More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) by Elaine Welteroth
Elaine Welteroth, the former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, discusses her childhood, her career, and everything in between (from the amazing to the infuriating). Being the only Black woman in the room was common and frustrating for Welteroth, especially as a fashion and entertainment journalist. In this novel, she “unpacks the lessons on race, identity, and success” that she learned through her life experiences. For non-POC readers, it will really put things into perspective and for the BIPOC who commonly find themselves in white spaces, you will feel seen. Welteroth uses her own life to give advice on how to get through it all on your own journey to success.
Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
During its 2016 release, this novel may have been one of the most talked-about books in a very long time. In this memoir, comedian and The Daily Show host Trevor Noah
details his childhood while growing up as an interracial child in South Africa and having to be “hidden” for many of his younger years because of how dangerous it was. It’s a story of Noah and his mother bravely getting through life and how it got him to where he is today.
Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope by Karamo Brown
Queer Eye is one of those shows that can make anyone cry. Some of the biggest breakthroughs on the show happen because of Karamo Brown, the culture expert. But how is someone able to always pull out so much vulnerability from strangers without having gone through a lot themselves? This memoir is Brown’s story of struggles and triumphs. From abuse and internal colorism to landing his dream job and becoming a single father of two. This book will be a deep dive into one of our favorite members of the Fab Five.
Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur
Assata is truly a classic. Written by Black Panther member Assata Shakur, this memoir is about her life in the 70s, what it was like to be criminalized, imprisoned, a victim of racial injustice, and a leader in social change. Shakur discusses what led her to her life in activism, as well as what it was like being a part of the revolutionary Black Panther Party.
F*ck Your Diet: And Other Things My Thighs Tell Me by Chloé Hilliard
Okay, this book is hilarious but it tackles some real and important issues on social expectations, self-love, feminism, and so much more. Comedian Chloé Hilliard discusses her relationship with food, her body, and loving herself despite “corporate capitalism” and society telling her not to.
Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland
Misty Copeland made history as the first Black ballerina in the American Ballet Theatre. Her memoir goes into how she found ballet, fell in love with it, and made her way to the prestigious position she’s in today. It’s truly an inside look into the life of a professional ballerina.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
Assuming this one isn’t already on your bookshelf, make sure to add it ASAP. The beloved former first-lady Michelle Obama gives us an inside look into her childhood, her relationship, and what it was like for her during and post-White House. Despite some of the most racist and horrid attacks on her looks and character, she handled herself with grace. This novel gives us a look into her mind and thoughts through it all.
–Amanda Davis, Content Creator