Actors Becoming Writers: A New Space For Black Creatives

It has become increasingly popular for actors to publish memoirs. As they step out of the entertainment industry and into the literature world, actors are using their creative ingenuity in a new way to share their stories about their lives as Black Americans.

Author's Corner Black Voices Memoirs & Biographies Recommendations

In the last decade, it has become increasingly popular for Black actors to publish memoirs. As they step out of the entertainment industry and into the literature world, actors are using their creative ingenuity in a new way to share their stories about their lives as Black Americans.

Black actors are creating a new space for themselves in the book world. The autobiographies of such actors offer a unique perspective on the challenges that Black Americans experience in the entertainment industry. Within this, their compelling life stories serve to broaden the conversation about representation, accessibility, and diversity in America. It is crucial to give proper recognition to their work for this reason. Celebrities whom you have grown up watching, like Cecily Tyson, Billy Dee Williams, and Whoopi Goldberg, are just some of the actors who are using their incredible talent of conveying stories to write astounding novels. 

In Years Past

Cecily Tyson, an American actress famous for her roles as a powerful African-American woman, was the first Black woman ever to receive an honorary award. In her extraordinary career, she has received a plethora of awards atop that. Tyson dives deep into her recollection in her memoir Just As I Am, with nearly 100 years of memories and experiences to share. Just As I Am was released in 2021. This acclaimed actor stands a symbol for black excellence and strength in and out of her professional work. Her immense vulnerability about difficult relationships, the abuse she witnessed, and her experience battling sexism and discrimination behind the camera make this an astonishing narrative. 

Side profile image of Cecily Tyson
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Just as I Am is my truth. It is me, plain and unvarnished, with the glitter and garland set aside. In these pages, I am indeed Cicely, the actress who has been blessed to grace the stage and screen for six decades. Yet I am also the church girl who once rarely spoke a word.

-Tyson

Other Actors Are Turning The Same Page 

Other famous faces are entering a new chapter in written storytelling as well.  On February 13, 2024, Billy Dee Williams will release his memoir called What Have We Here? As the first Black character in the Star Wars Universe, Williams has had a remarkable career in front of the camera. He shares his story about his unwavering passion in the face of racism and discrimination in the white-dominated entertainment industry that is curated due to appearance. Williams describes the importance of his roles and the lessons he has learned within his successful career and his personal life. 

Billy Dee Williams looking over his shoulder while wearing a purple cape
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Whoopi Goldberg sitting down resting hand in head
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Not everybody gets to walk this earth with folks who let you be exactly who you are and who give you the confidence to become exactly who you want to be. So, I thought I’d share mine with you.

-Goldberg

These famous actors are stepping out of the spotlight and shining it within themselves to illuminate the cultural nuances and challenges that shaped their success stories. These memoirs are resonating with a wide audience from people; those who are building their careers, who have experienced discrimination, or who have simply had a dream. People from all backgrounds, with a range of personal and career aspirations, are inspired by such recollections shared by their favorite actors.


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