Juicy Details, Please: 7 Autobiographies We’d Love to Read

April 3, 2012  |  
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Certainly by now you’ve noticed that the new side hustle for artists and entertainers, is to write an autobiography. Everyone from Common to Iceberg Slim has a book on the shelves. It’s hard out here for musicians these days. Everyone has a story to tell but it’s the people below who we want to hear from the most. While these autobiographies will probably never happen, with one for certain, we know that people would be snatching these hardcovers off the shelves if they were to ever come to fruition. Simply because, we’re nosey like that.

Lauryn Hill

I had to start with the best. If everyone on this list were to write an autobiography, I’d want to read Lauryn’s first and then read it again after I’d finished everyone else’s. After The Miseducation and the following hiatus, turned disappearance, Lauryn had people from all walks of life wondering one simple question. What happened? Every time I talk about Lauryn I reference this video I saw of her giving a speech to some middle-high school aged students. In it there was a light about her. She was 25 at the time and regrettably we, the public, haven’t seen her in this fashion since then. I need Lauryn to write an autobiography so we can have some closure. I have to laugh at myself because it sounds crazy, right? She’s a stranger. But the thing is when your music has such a profound effect on people, they feel, whether logically or illogically, like they know at least a portion of you. In this hypothetical, dream autobiography Lauryn has got to tell me what went down with she and Wyclef, what happened with the marriage that never happened with Rohan and why she became so disenchanted with the music industry. And really, why she started asking folks to address her as Ms. Hill…

Prince

As much as I’ve inhaled this man’s music throughout the course of my entire life, I can honestly say this cat is an enigma to me. But an intriguing one at that. Like Jamie Foxx said, when you look into Prince’s eyes you feel something. From the very few interviews Prince has done over the years it’s clear that he views life and the world in a way that many of us will never understand. He’s claimed that the internet is a phase we’ll outgrow in the next few years. He told Tavis Smiley that there were two presidents before George Washington and that America has lied to us. That last one is completely plausible, but what an off the wall type of statement to make? That’s why I want to learn about this man. I want to know what his childhood was like, was he always so androgynous, how he dealt with the loss of his child and subsequently his marriage and even how he came to be a practicing Jehovah’s Witness. It would be nothing short of magical.

Mary J. Blige

If any of these biographies were to ever come to pass, I’d say that Mary’s is the most likely. And Lord knows this woman has a story to tell. Whew! Mary has been through it. Really, sometimes I forget that she’s only 41. Not that she looks old or anything but homegirl has been through a lot. And actually she’s been pretty upfront about it. She told us she puts her “life all up in these songs.” And we believe that. If you watch Mary perform live, you can see it’s a type of therapy for her. But yet and still, I would love to have a breakdown of how she made it through. How she made it through a childhood wrought with sexual abuse, an abusive relationship with K-Ci’s scrawny behind and how she overcame alcoholism and learned to love herself.

Beyoncé

Some of ya’ll are real mad right now. *Kanye Shrug* I have no qualms about saying I would read a Beyoncé autobiography in a heartbeat. Why? Because we don’t really know who she is. Anybody who goes to such extreme lengths to keep private stuff private in an age where every other celebrity is about full disclosure, is bound to induce a sense of mystery and intrigue in not only her fan base but in consumers of pop culture at large. I would love to know how she felt about the Destiny’s Child shuffle that was going on for a while there, how she Jay came together as a couple, how she felt about her parents’ divorce and what struggles she faced in the game especially after she became a household name. It would be fascinating. And I know even people claiming they have no interest, the same people who are always instructing Bey to “sit down,” would be the very ones either devouring her book or hounding their friends for the highlights.

Lil Kim 

The story goes that Kim said, at one time or another, that she was “a white woman trapped in a black woman’s body.” We don’t know if Lil Kim actually said that herself; but according to Biggie’s mom, Vonetta Wallace, those words came from Kim’s mouth. Judging from her surgical transformations over the years, it’s not that hard to believe. Regardless of whether she said it or not, a woman with that type of story surrounding her name, has a story to tell, even if it’s just to refute the rumors. Actually, doesn’t she sound tragically like Pecola from Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye? That is chilling stuff. I only know a little about Kim’s story but it hasn’t been pretty. She and her was homeless for a time, sleeping out of their car. Her great love and mentor married someone else. And she went to prison for lying for one of her friends. I’d definitely check that book out.

Kanye West 

I remember when I learned that Kanye’s mom had passed away I was very concerned for him and his well being. If you’ve followed Kanye’s musical career and watched him in interviews, it’s not hard to see that he’s a sensitive type of dude. And I don’t use the word sensitive with any type of negative connotation. I mean sensitive in that he’s, for better or worse, very in touch with his emotions. So I knew that the death of his mother was going to take a lot out of him. I genuinely wondered if he’d be able to recover. He’s gone on to create some great music; but still the fact that he took a very short break after her death and some of his antics since then, including the way he dogged Amber Rose, have really left me wondering whether or not he’s dealt with it. Writing a book about that time in his life might not be such a bad idea. Not to mention, I read Kanye’s Thank You and You’re Welcome a few years ago and I can say he has an interesting, and at times profound, way of viewing the world. No doubt his autobiography would be entertaining and enlightening.

Whitney Houston 

Obviously and unfortunately this one will never happen. Whitney is gone. And maybe that’s why it would have been good, selfishly, if she’d had some type of autobiography to leave with us. Something, written in her own words, addressing everything from how she and Bobby first fell in love, the drug use and how she [temporarily] overcame it, the birth of her daughter, her friendships and the pressures and insecurities she felt living and working in this industry. I’ve noticed that when we bring up Whitney’s name nowadays people get very defensive, not wanting us to acknowledge her flaws along with her otherworldly voice and her [seemingly] warm and welcoming spirit. While we’ll always remember Whitney for the way she used her gift to touch our lives, it would be foolish for us and the upcoming generation not to take heed to the warning she issued through the way she lived her life. It might be a stretch because I don’t know her at all but I could see Whitney wanting people to learn from her.

 

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