The thing that Jenifer Lewis and I have most in common (besides being funny, strong, beautiful, African American women) is our undying love of New York City. Lucky for me, New York was one of the stops on Jenifer’s book tour to promote her autobiography The Mother Of Black Hollywood. Sure it meant waking up at 5:00 A.M., driving an hour to the train station, a two hour train ride to Grand Central Terminal, hopping the 5 train uptown, getting to the Barnes & Nobel at 86th & Lexington a little before 10 A.M. in order to score a wristband to the 7:00 P.M. book discussion but it was totally worth it, at least in my gay opinion.
Jenifer Lewis! I knew the name, the face, and the humor but she wasn’t a diva I followed closely. I was there to see what she’s about. Even before the book discussion started, she took control of the event in true diva fashion as she approached the stage, demanding that we get off our “New York asses” and give her the standing ovation she deserved. I’ve been to a lot of book signings and discussions but never one like this. Jenifer told stories, sang, preached her truth, answered questions and interacted with the audience. I loved when she politely asked a cranky infant’s mother to leave due to the distraction, the mother rudely refused, and Jenifer (being a class act) accepted that but proceeded to appropriately “mother fuck” the woman under her breath. After an hour and a half, the store turned the lights on to inform Jenifer that she was running long and she informed them that “nobody turns up the lights on Jenifer Lewis.” She graciously agreed to take pictures, however when you’re a self-proclaimed germaphobe diva who has already done a full days worth of interviews and want to go home, you set the rules: no touching, no life stories, you pose and go! When it was my turn, the diva goddesses must’ve been looking down on me because a diversion happened around the photographer, allowing me a couple extra moments and photos with her Greatness.
After such an amazing event, I couldn’t wait to read her book, and it didn’t disappoint. Jenifer’s writing style is just as honest, straight-forward and funny as she is in person. The book may be Jenifer’s life story but it’s also her love affair with Broadway and Hollywood. The ultimate threesome…speaking of which, there is a threesomes in the book, as well as an endless parade of naked twosomes. The self-proclaimed “Dick Diva” doesn’t kiss and tell, she fucks and brags. The Mother Of Black Hollywood is more than just a hot read and story of Jenifer’s rise to fame; it made me laugh out loud (I loved how she scammed her way to the front row of Barack Obama’s nomination for President at the Democratic National Convention), was touched by her close relationship with the gay community, and impressed by her strength coming out as bi-polar. My favorite thing about the book is that Jenifer never apologizes, you can accept her for who she is or you can go fuck yourself.
After going to Jenifer’s book discussion and reading her book, I’m a fan until the end. She’s a force to be reckoned with and I can only hope she continues to perform because seeing a Jenifer Lewis live show is now on my bucket list. I just have to hope the diva goddesses are listening.
PS: If you find the language in this post offensive, stay away from The Mother Of Black Hollywood, you won’t be able to handle it.