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The Mother of Black Hollywood: A Memoir

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  4,526 ratings  ·  934 reviews

National Book Club Conference ‘Book of the Year’ Award Winner

From her more than three hundred appearances for film and television, stage and cabaret, performing comedy or drama, as an unforgettable lead or a scene stealing supporting character, Jenifer Lewis has established herself as one of the most respected, admired, talented, and versatile entertainers working toda

Kindle Edition, 339 pages
Published November 14th 2017 by Amistad
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Average rating 4.32  · 
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 ·  4,526 ratings  ·  934 reviews

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Sakeenah Graham
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Do not read this book!! Listen to the audiobook!!! You will do yourself a disservice by not hearing her words from her own mouth. I loved this book. She was of course real and raw but she brought it full circle and I could tell it was a genuine labor of love, to help people and not a Broadway/Hollywood tell all or a ploy to make some money. Well done!!
Brown Girl Reading
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of Jenifer Lewis and lovers of memoirs
EXCELLENT memoir! I had the pleasure of reading and listening to the audiobook simultaneously. What a life this entertaining woman has had! I definitely recommend it, especially the audiobook because she is narrating it.
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book defines what a Memoir should be. No candy coated life stories here!

I laughed
I cried
I sighed
Then I laughed some more
Then I cried again
But most of all... I feel rejuvenated. (In these streets) @jeniferlewisforreal

Jamise // Spines & Vines
"Shoulders back, titties first" - Jenifer Lewis
Through triumphs and tragedy Jenifer Lewis keeps it real in this hilarious, laugh out loud, honest, and down to earth memoir. I'm so glad I chose to listen to the audiobook because the true essence of her spirit, her joys and her pains are revealed magically. Ms. Lewis' voice and animation draws you in immediately. This was the perfect book to kick of 2018 and the audiobook is a must!!

“JOURNAL ENTRY: Stop waiting for something or someone to come a
It is no secret that I love Jenifer Lewis, she is talented and iconic. Notable films include The Preacher's Wife,Nora's Hair Salon and other syndicated television shows. Not only is she hilarious but I love how blunt she is about life, that is rare with celebrities. Prior to reading this, my expectations were high but this one was a decent book. I knew that she had a bipolar disorder but finding out why was interesting, a new perspective on those that have the same condition. Besides a few laugh ...more
Ezinwanyi Chinyere

Enjoyment: ♥♥♥♥½
Narration by Jenifer Lewis: ♥♥♥♥½
Plot: ♥♥♥♥
Writing: ♥♥♥♥
I listened to this story and was fascinated. It was dramatic, over the top and loud just like the actress. Jenifer Lewis has lived an eventful life thus far. I found this audiobook more succinct, more dramatic and more in depth than many of the memoirs I’ve read of late.
I loved that she told her own story and controlled the narrative in a way that introduced her to the audience so we get a rounded picture of her life in fro
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book started with so much promise. Jenifer Lewis was funny and honest. I enjoyed her antics but then the book took a turn when she started listing all of the people she knew who had died from AIDS. I was listening to the audio version so it sucked all the air out of my car. I had my brother in the car with me and I was bragging about how funny she was and then she got so depressing.

I also believe Jenifer Lewis is a bigger star in her own mind than in actuality. Ms. Lewis named all these peo
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was funny, honest, loud and way over the top just like the writer. I'd expect nothing less from Jenifer Lewis. I of course listened to the audiobook version which provides the entire experience. She's quite honest about her childhood, her mental health, her sex life, and the ups and downs of being a hollywood diva. Before reading this I only thought she was an actress. I had no idea that she had these roles in between her one-woman shows and could really perform. My only annoyance was ...more
Of the three memoirs I read this year, The Mother of Black Hollywood was my fav. such candor and transparency. Even through sharing her struggles with mental illness, sex addiction and a childhood riddled with poverty and loneliness, Jenifer Lewis is laugh out loud funny. As soon as I finished the last page, I turned on Jackie's Back and vowed to catch up on Black-ish. I love her and I'm glad she is finally reaching the success she aspired to since the 70s.
Dee's Reading Zone
"The Mother of Black Hollywood: A Memoir" was a very thought-provoking memoir that was funny, inspiring while managing to capture Lewis's true self without being to commercial in Black Hollywood. You will find yourself giggling oftentimes about her life story but crying too with all she has endured to stay true to herself in the face of her addictions and staying noticeable in Black Hollywood. This was Jenifer Lewis' story... not a gossip rag to divide a people or shock the readers but to celebr ...more
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
The Mother Of Black Hollywood has spoken when she tells her story without a filter. She faces so many trials and it is applauding to see her keep stepping. Being able get a glimpse of what life was like prior to the 2000s was beautiful .

Black love, showbiz, sacrificing time just to so you can do what you love. Ms. Lewis touches on her sexual escapades, the AIDS epidemic hitting, sexual abuse, death after death after death, mental battles that finally had a name years later (bipolar dispersed).
Christina Thomas
I am listening to this on Audible. I enjoy Jenifer bleep bleep Lewis as an actress (if you read the book you got that)! I however am not enjoying this memoir. I appreciate her candor and transparency. Everyone has a story and I'm grateful that she is sharing hers, but the book is hard to listen too. Ms. Lewis has a distinct and heavy theatrical voice. It's a little much for 10+ hours. Although she shares a lot of information about herself. I still don't get a sense that I know her. If that makes ...more
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jessica by: H. Adam
It is ESSENTIAL that you experience this book as an audio book. What a storyteller. She gives me life.
Latanya (Crafty Scribbles)

Bravo! Ms. Lewis opens her life, without fear or pause, to present a memoir befitting a woman who, to this point, lived without apologies. She refuses to hold back, respecting her readers enough to give them the truth they paid to read or hear. For the pearl clutchers out there she appears strong, and rather unladylike, but to this diamond wearer, she's certified gold.

Upfront and a tad raunchy titles (Read Them!) ushers chapters discussing everything from her sex addiction, diverse career on
I love hearing these celebrities narrating their own stories. Jenifer Lewis is no exception. Her big personality shined through on this audio. I learned a lot about her that I didn't know, which wasn't hard since I don't follow celebs lives. I've only known her to be the Mother of Hollywood and was unaware of her background in Broadway. It was also interesting to learn about her mental struggles. I found myself raising my eyebrows throughout the book before I learned the reason why behind her be ...more
Absolutely love everything about this memoir! Aunty Jenie was fabulous as always.
J Beckett
What can be said about Jenifer Lewis that she doesn't say, fervently, about herself?

She is majestic! This memoir is raw, hysterical, and moving. It was an interesting peek into Black Broadway and Hollywood in the late 70s and 80s. Has anyone written a book about that yet? I need more. Anyhoo, if you read this (and you should,) listen to the audio version. She reads it herself, and it is a gift!

May 20, 2020 - I reread this for book club. I tried to read the print version since I listened the audio version previously, but this demands to be heard in Ms. Lewis's voice. This time a
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jenifer Lewis who plays the mother on the hit tv series is bipolar and her addiction was sex. And she lived a very interesting life.
I started this book thinking what on earth am I reading. Lol I wish this book started with her growing up first instead of her present going back to her past. I kept thinking why does she keep talking about how many different men she was sleeping with but I kept pushing forward. By chapter 9 it explained everything.
Starkly honest and powerful. She talks about her life, her career, opens up about her BPD and sex addiction, her family and so much more. It's entertaining and hilarious and touching all at the same time. The audiobook narration is a great experience.
Zoe's Human
This review is specifically of the audiobook version read by the author.

Did you know that the default setting for loan time on a digital audiobook with the NC Digital Library is 1 week unless you go into your settings an change it in advance? Yeah, me neither. Renewal is not an option when there's a hold list, but you can get back on it and wait and wait and wait for your turn again. It can be a long wait to pick back up at Chapter Ten. Check your digital library settings folks.

On to the book ..
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Jenifer Lewis. Always have. So when I found out she'd be releasing a memoir, I immediately added it to my TBR list. This book is, in many ways, exactly what you'd imagine, if you follow Lewis's career. The voice is very authentic; you can tell she penned it all herself. No "as told to"s here. The language is colorful and there are enough accounts of sexual escapades to leave you blushing. (As someone who grew up with a crush on Gregory Hines, I was especially flustered when he appeared he ...more
Never Without a Book
Jenifer Lewis
The Mother of Black Hollywood: A Memoir in audio,and before I started, I read that many didn’t care for her voice and now I know why. I felt she was overly theatrical. This book was hilarious for the first 4 chapters then it got dark, I mean real dark. Jenifer lets you in on her most personal moments from the men in her life, her struggles with bipolar disorder and the havoc it wreaked in her early life and her success in acting. This book is really worth the read just don’t do the
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully Written Truth

I've always loved Jenifer Lewis. I was shocked to read her story. To realize that she dealt with a difficult childhood, numerous romantic relationships, survived college and still conquered Hollywood give me hope for the future. Ms. Lewis's honesty and clear "I don't give a damn" attitude is refreshing. Read and learn about an amazing Black Woman.
Michelle Leonard
(I’m really considering a 5 rating) I’m still processing and decided not to start a new audiobook today in order to cleanse my pallet. Where do I start with this lady? She is truly larger than life. She mentions in her book that her personality is so big that people either love her or hate her and she’s so right. I’m in the love her camp.
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Do yourself a favor—get the audiobook version and listen to Jenifer Lewis read her memoir! My goodness! This woman is a Black and National treasure!!
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autos-bios
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jenifer Lewis is amazing and this was a great opportunity to learn more about her life, her struggles and her accomplishments. She's funny and heartbreaking all at the same time.
Tracy DeNeal
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jenifer Lewis - The Real Deal

It has been said that everyone is the star in his or her own story. Nothing could be more true in the case of Jenifer Lewis. This book was raw. What a celebration and testament to a life lived out loud and proud.

My heart ached with her as she recounted the terrible toll of loss after loss of dear friends and loves that has plagued her over the years. I beamed at her accounts of her triumphs.

Jenifer Lewis is a ubiquitous presence in my entertainment life. It just se
Ed Center
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this book on and now can't imagine engaging the print version. I'm sure it's fine, but Jenifer Lewis's voice is close to a national treasure. Her rich baritone, the inflection of her sass, her comedic timing. This book had many snort out loud moments that had left me feeling awkward at the gym or on the bus. It starts out feeling like a monologue of your favorite, crazy, unfiltered aunt. But Lewis's story is much deeper than that. She took me on a journey both powerful ...more
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Jenifer Lewis is one of Hollywood’s most familiar faces, with more than 300 appearances in film and television. Dubbed a “national treasure” by, Jenifer currently stars on the Emmy-nominated hit show “Black-ish,” where her hilarious portrayal of Ruby Johnson earned Jenifer a nomination for the 2018 Critics Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress in a TV comedy series.

Jenifer’s bestse

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