As observers of Hollywood’s finest actors and entertainers, we only see a manufactured version of our favorite people on the big screen and do not get the opportunities to know them on a more personal level. Sometimes, you may grow up your whole life admiring a celebrity and modeling your own personality, behaviors, and/or values to be similar to theirs. However, you may never really get that true indication of how this person really is and you only hope they live up to the images they portray in the media. Because nobody wants their favorite celebrity to be discredited in the eyes of others, but that’s the catch-22 here. Our favorite celebrities are great, excellent, and talented beyond measure, but they are also human and vulnerable. The times you get to see celebrities bare their insecurities, vulnerabilities, and humanity are when they usually publish memoirs, and they usually offer us the best glimpse into their lives. Celebrities are just like us—real and raw, vulnerable and emotional, funny and serious—so they should be given grace in the place called life.
Here I’d like to discuss some of the best memoirs that 2022 has to offer. While a few of these memoirs have already been published, there are still a few that are left to close out the last quarter that promise to make a hit with readers. If you enjoy reading about gossip or dirt, then this isn’t for you, but if you’d like an honest portrayal of what it means to be a Black man or woman in this society—to be excellent and to be told that’s not good enough but still make magic happen—then these memoirs will give you hope, courage, and motivation to keep going on your very own journey.
The Movement Made Us: A Father, a Son, and the Legacy of a Freedom Ride by David J. Dennis Jr., and David J. Dennis Sr. (out now)
In this necessary book, which is part memoir and part oral history, both father and son relate their experiences in the South about what it means to be a Black man and fight to be there. Dennis Sr. actually participated in the Civil Rights Movement and his son Dennis Jr. is an active journalist in the movements today. Their collaboration here is legendary.
Finding Me by Viola Davis (out now)
A powerful, endearing memoir of a woman that has to look inward at the little girl that people failed to see. Viola Davis is writing a book to herself and anybody else that cannot be honest with themselves enough to see that they matter always and will always be enough. The memoir encourages you to be your first love and to see the best in you.
Black Boy Smile: A Memoir by D. Watkins (out now)
This memoir will have you questioning how Black boys don’t smile and experience joy more often in this world that has been designed to make them frown. D. Watkins shares his experiences with his father and his life during the crack epidemic—where survival for Black youth is disguised as toxic masculinity.
Uphill: A Memoir by Jemele Hill (out Oct 25th)
A memoir about what it means to be a bold, Black voice in American society with no regrets. Jemele Hill is known for her no-filter attitude, but that stems from intergenerational trauma and her attempts to break away from that abusive cycle. Hill covers her upbringing in Detroit, her career, and her uphill battles.
The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times by Michelle Obama (out November 15)
With the success of her first memoir Becoming, former First Lady Michelle Obama is back with another memoir to light up the darkness that hovers over our unstable society right now. Obama’s honest candor, humor, and advice comes through to make you find the light in your own life to make the days brighter and practice optimism. A memoir about choices to connect and find resources to make our worlds better one day at a time.