Leslie Jones says her parents’ confidence-boosting love and encouragement helped her move on from her childhood trauma and blossom into the Hollywood star she is today.
The comedienne, actress and Saturday Night Live alum opened up about the impact of the sexual abuse she endured as a child in her forthcoming memoir, Leslie F*cking Jones, which is set to drop Sept. 19. In excerpts shared by People, the 56-year-old star shared that she’d been sexually assaulted around the age of 2 or 3.
“It was one of my babysitters who messed with me,” Jones reportedly wrote in her memoir. “Man, I wish I could go back and fight that guy — that little girl couldn’t protect herself.”
The actress said she’s unsure if her beloved parents ever learned of the sexual trauma she suffered. Her father, Willie Jones Jr., a radio station electrician, and her mother, Sandra Diane Jones, a cable company employee, both passed away in the 2000s due to heart-related illnesses. The actress emphasized that while they may have been unaware of the sexual abuse, her mother and father encouraged her to never let anything get in the way of achieving her goals.
While her father graced her ears with loving words of affirmation to boost her confidence, the actress said her mother introduced her to mentors and placed her in extracurricular programs that helped her self-esteem.
“My dad would always say to me, ‘I don’t care what they tell you, you can do whatever you want to do as long as you work hard,'” the SNL alum told the People. “‘They’re going to tell you you’re Black, they’re going to tell you you’re a female.’ He’d say, ‘But none of that matters.'”
“That’s why I never quit,” Jones added. “There were days where I was just crying and worrying, but the thought always came to my head, ‘Okay, what can I do?’ Dad said, ‘Become undeniable.'”
Jones admits on her website that some of the details in her memoir are a bit “vague” and “hazy” due to her being 56 — and having “smoked a ton of weed.”
Despite that, the actress promised readers a “real” storytelling of all of the experiences that have led her to where she is today — a three-time Emmy nominee previously recognized as one of Time‘s 100 Most Influential People, with numerous acting and writing credits attached to her name.
“I’m sharing it all in these pages. It’s not easy being a woman in comedy, especially when you’re a tall-ass Black woman with a trumpet voice. I have to fight so that no one takes me for granted, and no one takes advantage. These are the stories that explain why.”
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