It’s always cool when celebs let us into their lives by way of storytelling. Celebrity memoirs always give us great insight as to who they are as people. We can sometimes find great advice in these books as well.
Check out our list of 8 popular books by black celebs to read now!
Mike Epps has a new book out. Read more about his memoir, Unsuccessful Thug: One Comedian’s Journey from Naptown to Tinseltown, below.
From Naptown to Tinseltown—legendary stand-up comedian and actor Mike Epps finally tells all in this outrageous, hilarious, no-holds-barred memoir.
Before starring in Def Comedy Jam and Showtime at the Apollo—before the sold-out comedy shows, Uncle Buck, and becoming his hero Richard Pryor in a biopic—there was Indianapolis. And not the good part. Mike Epps is one of America’s favorite and funniest people, but the path to fame was paved with opportunities to mess it up. And mess it up he did.
Growing up in “Naptown”—what people who live there really call rough-around-the-edges Indianapolis—Epps found himself forced to hustle from an early age. Despite his mother’s best efforts, and the love of his well-behaved brother, “Chaney,” and his beloved sister, Julie, Epps was drawn to a life of crime, but as he quickly discovered, stealing and dealing didn’t really fit his sweet sensibilities. Not to mention he wasn’t very good at it—take, for example, the day he had to call the cops on himself when a dog wouldn’t let him leave a house he was burgling. After several arrests and more than a few months in jail, Epps finally realized that he was an unsuccessful thug, and instead turned to the next most obvious career path: stand-up comedy.
Heading first to New York, then all over the country, and finally to Hollywood, Mike Epps carved out a unique place in American comedy, combining hysterical tales of his family and friends with a mordant take on life in the Naptowns of America. Comedy saved Mike Epps, and here he reveals exactly how he finally grew up and got out, barely. And when describing how he survived when so many of his friends didn’t, Epps makes clear what he’s thankful for and sorry about. Unsuccessful Thug is about growing up black in America, facing down racism in Hollywood, and ultimately how it feels to fail at thugdom, pull yourself up by the bootstraps, and end up selling out arenas and starring in movies across the country.
Gayle King has a new inspirational book on the shelves. Check out Note to Self, in stores now. Read the synopsis below.
Gayle King shares her favorite inspiring letters from the popular CBS This Morning segment Note to Self, in which twenty-first century luminaries pen advice and encouragement to the young people they once were.
What do Congressman John Lewis, Dr. Ruth, Kesha, and Kermit the Frog wish they could tell their younger selves? What about a gay NFL player or the most successful female racecar driver? In Note to Self, CBS This Morning cohost Gayle King shares some of the most memorable letters from the broadcast’s popular segment of the same name. With essays from such varied figures as Oprah, Vice President Joe Biden, Chelsea Handler, and Maya Angelou—as well as poignant words from a Newtown father and a military widow— Note to Self is a lovely reflection on the joys and challenges of growing up and a perfect gift for any occasion.
Next up is Vivica Fox’s new book. Read about, Everyday I’m Hustling, below.
Vivica A. Fox is a dynamo who has created a lasting career on her own, through sheer, roll-up-your-sleeves DIY hustle. Every Day I’m Hustling is a personal book with a message Fox passionately believes in: that you make your own luck, that you never ever wake up in the morning thinking somebody’s going to call you and offer you that part or ask you out on that date that’s going to change your life, that you have to wake up and put on your longest eyelashes and fiercest heels and go out and make your life happen yourself.
The actress provides start-today strategies for success in business and “been there” lessons in love, buttressed with stories from her early family life all the way through to today. Always honest and always funny, Fox also tells behind-the-scenes tales from some of her biggest movies ― such as Uma Thurman’s life-changing advice during Kill Bill and Will Smith’s downtime pep talk on Independence Day. And she maps out exactly what it took to come back with a role on the smash hit Empire and her own frisky show on Lifetime, Vivica’s Black Magic. She also shares her how-is-she-53? secrets to looking your best, no matter the age on your driver’s license.
Did you know that singer Jhene Aiko released a poetry book? Keep reading for more details.
Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Jhené Aiko Efuru Chilombo has developed and refined a method of emoting through writing. 2Fish is a collection of intimate poems (and a few short stories) written by Chilombo from adolescence to adulthood, in no particular order. The book details Chilombo’s thoughts in their most raw and honest form taken directly from a collection of notebooks she has kept since age 12.
Model legend Tyra Banks recently released a new book. Tyra teamed up with her moms to drop some major jewels. Read more about the book below.
Supermodel and super CEO of our time Tyra Banks and her mother Carolyn show readers why when you kick perfection to the curb and showcase your unique beauty ain’t nobody gonna stop you!
In Perfect Is Boring, Tyra Banks and her mother, Carolyn, get raw, real and cray-in-a-good-way as they share what they’ve learned on Tyra’s journey from insecure preteen to supermodel and entrepreneurial powerhouse. Though she’ll be the first to tell you she is not her daughter’s best friend—‘cause she ain’t that kinda mama!—there’s no doubt that Carolyn’s signature mix of pep talks and tough love got Tyra to where she is today, and here they pay it forward to empower readers with a reminder that perfect really isn’t all that.
Comedian D.L. Hugh key has a second book out. This time titled, How To Not Get Shot. Read more about this funny yet serious book below.
White people have been telling black folks how to act for 400 years. They’ll even offer advice after you get shot! D. L. Hughley–the fearless comedy legend and one of the “Original Kings of Comedy”–hilariously confronts injustice in his powerful new book.
In America, a black man is three times more likely to be killed in encounters with police than a white guy. If only he had complied with the cop, he might be alive today, pundits say in the aftermath of the latest shooting of an unarmed black man. Or, Maybe he shouldn’t have worn that hoodie … or, moved more slowly … not been out so late … Wait, why are black people allowed to drive, anyway?
This isn’t a new phenomenon. White people have been giving “advice” to black folks for as long as anyone can remember, telling them how to pick cotton, where to sit on a bus, what neighborhood to live in, when they can vote, and how to wear our pants. Despite centuries of whites’ advice, it seems black people still aren’t listening, and the results are tragic.
Now, at last, activist, comedian, and New York Times bestselling author D. L. Hughley offers How Not to Get Shot, an illustrated how-to guide for black people, full of insight from white people, translated by one of the funniest black dudes on the planet. In these pages you will learn how to act, dress, speak, walk, and drive in the safest manner possible. You also will finally understand the white mind. It is a book that can save lives. Or at least laugh through the pain.
Black people: Are you ready to not get shot! White people: Do you want to learn how to help the cause? Let’s go!
Next we have blogger and MTV funny girl Franchesca Ramsey. Here’s her book of essays about dealing with trolls online and in real life. Read more about, Well That Escalated Quickly, below.
In this sharp, funny, and timely collection of personal essays, veteran video blogger and star of MTV’s Decoded Franchesca Ramsey explores race, identity, online activism, and the downfall of real communication in the age of social media rants, trolls, and call-out wars.
Franchesca Ramsey didn’t set out to be an activist. Or a comedian. Or a commentator on identity, race, and culture, really. But then her YouTube video “What White Girls Say . . . to Black Girls” went viral. Twelve million views viral. Faced with an avalanche of media requests, fan letters, and hate mail, she had two choices: Jump in and make her voice heard or step back and let others frame the conversation. After a crash course in social justice and more than a few foot-in-mouth moments, she realized she had a unique talent and passion for breaking down injustice in America in ways that could make people listen and engage.
In her first book, Ramsey uses her own experiences as an accidental activist to explore the many ways we communicate with each other–from the highs of bridging gaps and making connections to the many pitfalls that accompany talking about race, power, sexuality, and gender in an unpredictable public space…the internet.
WELL, THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY includes Ramsey’s advice on dealing with internet trolls and low-key racists, confessions about being a former online hater herself, and her personal hits and misses in activist debates with everyone from bigoted Facebook friends and misguided relatives to mainstream celebrities and YouTube influencers. With sharp humor and her trademark candor, Ramsey shows readers we can have tough conversations that move the dialogue forward, rather than backward, if we just approach them in the right way.
Rounding out our list of books by celebrities to read now, we have, Creative Quest, by Questlove.
A unique new guide to creativity from Questlove—inspirations, stories, and lessons on how to live your best creative life
Questlove—musician, bandleader, designer, producer, culinary entrepreneur, professor, and all-around cultural omnivore—shares his wisdom on the topics of inspiration and originality in a one-of-a-kind guide to living your best creative life.
In Creative Quest, Questlove synthesizes all the creative philosophies, lessons, and stories he’s heard from the many creators and collaborators in his life, and reflects on his own experience, to advise readers and fans on how to consider creativity and where to find it. He addresses many topics—what it means to be creative, how to find a mentor and serve as an apprentice, the wisdom of maintaining a creative network, coping with critics and the foibles of success, and the specific pitfalls of contemporary culture—all in the service of guiding admirers who have followed his career and newcomers not yet acquainted with his story.
Whether discussing his own life or channeling the lessons he’s learned from forefathers such as George Clinton, collaborators like D’Angelo, or like-minded artists including Ava DuVernay, David Byrne, Björk, and others, Questlove speaks with the candor and enthusiasm that fans have come to expect. Creative Quest is many things—above all, a wise and wide-ranging conversation around the eternal mystery of creativity.