Our fave black celebs have been dropping memoirs all year. We’ve compiled a list of 10 Memoirs by Black Celebs Dropping in 2019. This list includes books already released this year, and books that will be out later this year.
Check out some of the memoirs released this year by black celebs so far.
Let Love Have the Last Word: A Memoir By Common
Common believes that the phrase “let love have the last word” is not just a declaration; it is a statement of purpose, a daily promise. Love is the most powerful force on the planet and ultimately, the way you love determines who you are and how you experience life.
Touching on God, self-love, partners, children, family, and community, Common explores the core tenets of love to help others understand what it means to receive and, most important, to give love. He moves from the personal—writing about his daughter, to whom he wants to be a better father—to the universal, where he observes that our society has become fractured under issues of race and politics. He knows there’s no quick remedy for all of the hurt in the world, but love—for yourself and for others—is where the healing begins.
Courageous, insightful, brave, and characteristically authentic, Let Love Have the Last Word shares Common’s own unique and personal stories of the people and experiences that have led to a greater understanding of love and all it has to offer. It is a powerful call to action for a new generation of open hearts and minds, one that is sure to resonate for years to come. Get your copy here. (05/07/19)
Still in the Game: Finding the Faith to Tackle Life’s Biggest Challenges By Devon Still
For Devon Still, life has been a journey from one scar to the next. From one challenge to the next. His is a story of pushing through pain and overcoming obstacles of all shapes and sizes—of choosing to fight for the sake of his family, his community, and his faith.
Millions of people around the world have been inspired by Devon’s tireless devotion in helping his daughter, Leah, learn how to “beat up cancer.” But in these pages, Devon takes readers behind the headlines to reveal the deeper story of what prepared him for that fight.
Still in the Game is Devon’s declaration that our challenges reveal our purpose, that our scars make us stronger, and that no loss is too great to stop our comeback! Get your copy here. (01/08/19)
Darkness to Light: A Memoir By Lamar Odom
The world knows Lamar Odom as a two-time NBA world champion who rocketed to uncharted heights of fame thanks to being a member of both the storied Los Angeles Lakers and the ubiquitous Kardashian empire. But who is Lamar, really?
Fans have long praised his accessibility and genuine everyman quality—he is a blinding talent who has suffered a series of heartaches, setback, and loss. But until now, his most candid moments have remained behind closed doors . . . sometimes face-down on the floor.
In Darkness to Light, Lamar gives readers an intimate look into his life like never before. His exclusive and revealing memoir recounts the highs and lows of fame and his struggle with his demons along the way to self-discovery and redemption. From the pain of his unraveled marriage to Khloé Kardashian to the harmful vices he used to cope—and the near-death experience that made him rethink everything about his life—this is Lamar as you have never before seen him.
Lamar brings basketball fans directly into the action of a game during the Lakers championship years. He shares his personal account of the lifelong passion that started as one shining light in a childhood marked by loss and led to his international fame as one of the most extraordinary athletes of all time. In this profoundly honest book, Lamar invites you to walk with him through the good times and bad, while looking ahead to a brighter future. Get your copy here. (05/28/19)
Keep scrolling to see releases slated for later this year.
More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) By Elaine Welteroth
Throughout her life, Elaine Welteroth has climbed the ranks of media and fashion, shattering ceilings along the way. In this riveting and timely memoir, the groundbreaking journalist unpacks lessons on race, identity, and success through her own journey, from navigating her way as the unstoppable child of an unlikely interracial marriage in small-town California to finding herself on the frontlines of a modern movement for the next generation of change makers.
Welteroth moves beyond the headlines and highlight reels to share the profound lessons and struggles of being a barrier-breaker across so many intersections. As a young boss and often the only Black woman in the room, she’s had enough of the world telling her—and all women—they’re not enough. As she learns to rely on herself by looking both inward and upward, we’re ultimately reminded that we’re more than enough. Pre-order your copy here. (06/11/19)
The Sixth Man: A Memoir By Andre Iguodala
Andre Iguodala is one of the most admired players in the NBA. And fresh off the Warriors’ third NBA championship in the last four years, his game has never been stronger.
Off the court, Iguodala has earned respect, too—for his successful tech investments, his philanthropy, and increasingly for his contributions to the conversation about race in America. It is no surprise, then, that in his first book, Andre—with his cowriter Carvell Wallace—has pushed himself to go further than he ever has before about his life, not only as an athlete but about what makes him who he is at his core.
The Sixth Man traces Andre’s journey from childhood in his Illinois hometown to his Bay Area home court today. Basketball has always been there. But this is the story, too, of his experience of the conflict and racial tension always at hand in a professional league made up largely of African American men; of whether and why the athlete owes the total sacrifice of his body; of the relationship between competition and brotherhood among the players of one of history’s most glorious championship teams. And of what motivates an athlete to keep striving for more once they’ve already achieved the highest level of play they could have dreamed.
On drive, on leadership, on pain, on accomplishment, on the shame of being given a role, and the glory of taking a role on: This is a powerful memoir of life and basketball that reveals new depths to the superstar athlete, and offers tremendous insight into most urgent stories being told in American society today. Pre-order your copy here. (06/25/19)
Dapper Dan: Made in Harlem: A Memoir By Daniel R. Day (Dapper Dan)
With his now-legendary store on 125th Street in Harlem, Dapper Dan pioneered high-end streetwear in the 1980s, remixing classic luxury-brand logos into his own innovative, glamorous designs. But before he reinvented haute couture, he was a hungry boy with holes in his shoes, a teen who daringly gambled drug dealers out of their money, and a young man in a prison cell who found nourishment in books. In this remarkable memoir, he tells his full story for the first time.
Decade after decade, Dapper Dan discovered creative ways to flourish in a country designed to privilege certain Americans over others. He witnessed, profited from, and despised the rise of two drug epidemics. He invented stunningly bold credit card frauds that took him around the world. He paid neighborhood kids to jog with him in an effort to keep them out of the drug game. And when he turned his attention to fashion, he did so with the energy and curiosity with which he approaches all things: learning how to treat fur himself when no one would sell finished fur coats to a Black man; finding the best dressed hustler in the neighborhood and converting him into a customer; staying open twenty-four hours a day for nine years straight to meet demand; and, finally, emerging as a world-famous designer whose looks went on to define an era, dressing cultural icons including Eric B. and Rakim, Salt-N-Pepa, Big Daddy Kane, Mike Tyson, Alpo Martinez, LL Cool J, Jam Master Jay, Diddy, Naomi Campbell, and Jay-Z.
By turns playful, poignant, thrilling, and inspiring, Dapper Dan: Made in Harlem is a high-stakes coming-of-age story spanning more than seventy years and set against the backdrop of an America where, as in the life of its narrator, the only constant is change. Pre-order your copy here. (07/09/19)
Hurricanes: A Memoir By Rick Ross
Rick Ross is an indomitable presence in the music industry, but few people know his full story. Now, for the first time, Ross offers a vivid, dramatic and unexpectedly candid account of his early childhood, his tumultuous adolescence and his dramatic ascendancy in the world of hip-hop.
Born William Leonard Roberts II, Ross grew up “across the bridge,” in a Miami at odds with the glitzy beaches, nightclubs and yachts of South Beach. In the aftermath of the 1980 race riots and the Mariel boatlift, Ross came of age at the height of the city’s crack epidemic, when home invasions and execution-style killings were commonplace. Still, in the midst of the chaos and danger that surrounded him, Ross flourished, first as a standout high school football player and then as a dope boy in Carol City’s notorious Matchbox housing projects. All the while he honed his musical talent, overcoming setback after setback until a song called “Hustlin’” changed his life forever.
From the making of “Hustlin’” to his first major label deal with Def Jam, to the controversy surrounding his past as a correctional officer and the numerous health scares, arrests and feuds he had to transcend along the way, Hurricanes is a revealing portrait of one of the biggest stars in the rap game, and an intimate look at the birth of an artist. Pre-order your copy here. (09/03/19)
Born for This: My Story in Music By BeBe Winans
From the same Detroit roots that spawned the sounds of Motown, he melded Gospel with R&B to preach his faith through song. Growing up in the Winans family, a Gospel music family powerhouse, BeBe always knew he was born to be a gospel singer. He was surrounded by immense faith and talent from childhood–watching his four older brothers perform only fueled his dream to be on stage. But it wasn’t until BeBe and his younger sister CeCe were teens that they were offered a life-changing opportunity to move out of Detroit and work for the Praise the Lord Network led by Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. The opportunity quickly thrust the siblings into the public eye and forced them to choose between the temptations of fame and fortune and their family values.
Like a conversation with a life-long friend, BeBe invites new readers and loyal fans alike to share in never-before-revealed details about life in the crossfires between church, gospel music and the mainstream recording industry. He shares personal stories about his mentor Andrae Crouch and close friend Whitney Houston who both had a major impact on his life. He reflects on the challenges and triumphs of maintaining his Christian faith over the course of a decades long recording career, where he has sold millions of albums and garnered six Grammy awards.
After 10 years working behind the scenes on projects such as serving as a former Executive Music Producer for the OWN Network’s scripted series, “Greenleaf” and host of his own radio show on Sirius/XM Radio Networks, on the Heart & Soul Channel, he has moved back into the forefront with plans to release a new album as well as bring his critically acclaimed original musical “Born for This” to Broadway. Pre-order your copy here. (10/29/19)
The Beautiful Ones By Prince
Prince was a musical genius, one of the most talented, beloved, accomplished, popular, and acclaimed musicians in history. He was also a startlingly original visionary with an imagination deep enough to whip up whole worlds, from the sexy, gritty funk paradise of “Uptown” to the mythical landscape of Purple Rainto the psychedelia of “Paisley Park.” But his most ambitious creative act was turning Prince Rogers Nelson, born in Minnesota, into Prince, the greatest pop star of his era.
The Beautiful Ones is the story of how Prince became Prince—a first-person account of a kid absorbing the world around him and then creating a persona, an artistic vision, and a life, before the hits and fame that would come to define him. The book is told in four parts. The first is composed of the memoir he was writing before his tragic death, pages that brings us into Prince’s childhood world through his own lyrical prose. The second part takes us into Prince’s early years as a musician, before his first album released, through a scrapbook of Prince’s writing and photos. The third section shows us Prince’s evolution through candid images that take us up to the cusp of his greatest achievement, which we see in the book’s fourth section: his original handwritten treatment for Purple Rain—the final stage in Prince’s self-creation, as he retells the autobiography we’ve seen in the first three parts as a heroic journey.
The book is framed by editor Dan Piepenbring’s riveting and moving introduction about his short but profound collaboration with Prince in his final months—a time when Prince was thinking deeply about how to reveal more of himself and his ideas to the world, while retaining the mystery and mystique he’d so carefully cultivated—and annotations that provide context to each of the book’s images. Pre-order your copy here. (10/29/2019)
More Myself: A Journey By Alicia Keys
As one of the most celebrated musicians of our time, Alicia Keys has enraptured the nation with her heartfelt lyrics, extraordinary vocal range, and soul-stirring piano compositions. Yet away from the spotlight, Alicia has grappled with private heartache―over the challenging and complex relationship with her father, the people-pleasing nature that characterized her early career, the loss of privacy surrounding her romantic relationships, and the oppressive expectations of female perfection.
Since her rise to fame, Alicia’s public persona has belied a deep personal truth: she has spent years not fully recognizing or honoring her own worth. After withholding parts of herself for so long, she is at last exploring the questions that live at the heart of her story: Who am I, really? And once I discover that truth, how can I become brave enough to embrace it?
More Myself is part autobiography, part narrative documentary. Alicia’s journey is revealed not only through her own candid recounting, but also through vivid recollections from those who have walked alongside her. The result is a 360-degree perspective on Alicia’s path―from her girlhood in Hell’s Kitchen and Harlem, to the process of self-discovery she’s still navigating.
In More Myself, Alicia shares her quest for truth―about herself, her past, and her shift from sacrificing her spirit to celebrating her worth. With the raw honesty that epitomizes Alicia’s artistry, More Myself is at once a riveting account and a clarion call to readers: to define themselves in a world that rarely encourages a true and unique identity. Pre-order your copy here. (11/05/19)
Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope By Karamo Brown
When Karamo Brown first auditioned for the casting directors of Netflix’s Queer Eye, he knew he wouldn’t win the role of culture expert by discussing art and theater. Instead he decided to redefine what “culture” could—and should—mean for the show. He took a risk and declared, “I am culture.”
Karamo believes that culture is so much more than art museums and the ballet—it’s how people feel about themselves and others, how they relate to the world around them, and how their shared labels, burdens, and experiences affect their daily lives in ways both subtle and profound. Seen through this lens, Karamo is culture: his family is Jamaican and Cuban; he was raised in the South in predominantly white neighborhoods and attended an HBCU (Historically Black College/University); he was trained as a social worker and psychotherapist; he overcame personal issues of colorism, physical and emotional abuse, alcohol and drug addiction, and public infamy; he is a proud and dedicated gay single father of two boys, one biological and one adopted. It is by discussing deep subjects like these, he feels, that the makeovers on the show can attain their full, lasting meaning. Styling your hair and getting new clothes and furniture are important, but it’s imperative that you figure out why you haven’t done so in twenty years so you can truly change your life.
In this eye-opening and moving memoir, Karamo reflects on his lifelong education. It comprises every adversity he has overcome, as well as the lessons he has learned along the way. It is only by exploring our difficulties and having the hard conversations—with ourselves and one another—that we are able to adjust our mind-sets, heal emotionally, and move forward to live our best lives. Karamo shows us the way. Get your copy here. (03/05/19)
I’ll Show You By Derrick Rose
In 2012, Derrick Rose was on top of the world. After a sometimes challenging early life spent in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, Rose had made his lifelong dream of playing in the NBA a reality. His game had blossomed with his hometown Bulls, and the city proudly claimed him as their own as he raked in the Rookie of the Year award, a string of All-Star appearances, and of course, an MVP title. But the world he’d created came crashing down, on and off the court. I’ll Show You is both a defiant rebuttal and a promise kept, as Rose opens up in a way the world has never seen before. The reserved star, normally a man of few words in front of microphones or cameras, allows readers a frank look at his life and mindset, from his childhood up through his career resurgence in Minnesota. Fans will not want to miss this unvarnished account of Rose’s journey so far. Pre-Order your copy here. (09/10/19)
Visit the Urban Bookish Amazon page to get your copy of the books featured on this list.