Tag: memoir

Jonathan Van Ness Reveals HIV Diagnosis in Upcoming Memoir

Jonathan Van Ness, the charismatic hair stylist on Netflix’s Queer Eyeis opening up about all sides of his life in upcoming memoir Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love. Ness previewed some of the topics covered in his memoir to the New York Times including being HIV positive, surviving sexual abuse, and his battle with sex and drug addiction.

 

Jonathan Van NessImage via Refinery29

 

Ness told the New York Times that many of his struggles began when he was sexually assaulted by an older boy from his church. He said that this resulted in “compounded trauma,” something that many young survivors of sexual assault face. Ness states that this is what eventually led to his tendencies to lean towards “self-destructive behaviors.”

Some of these behaviors included finding older men in AOL chatrooms, and meeting them for sex. Ness also admits to having sex with men for money in order to support his drug habits.

 

 

Ness writes that he was diagnosed with HIV after he fainted while giving a haircut. He sought out medical advice, believing he had the flu, and received his diagnosis at the age of 25. Ness states that while the news was devastating, it’s what helped him make the changes in his life that led to him becoming the massive success that he is today.

Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love is available for preorder now, and will officially hit shelves on September 24th!

 

 

 

Featured Image via Allure

Snowden’s Memoir Reignites Controversy Over Gov. Surveillance

Six years ago, Edward Snowden shocked the world when he revealed the U.S. government was secretly implementing a plan to collect and monitor every phone call, text message, and email. Now, he’s telling how he helped create this system of mass surveillance and why he chose to expose it in his memoir, Permanent Record. 

 

Image via Amazon.com

 

The book’s release is not without its controversies, though. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit Tuesday, Sep. 18, alleging that the whistleblower’s memoir violates a non-disclosure agreement he signed while working for the CIA and NSA. Strangely, the lawsuit does not seek to prevent distribution of the Permanent Record. Rather, the DOJ asks the court to seize the financial proceeds from the book. G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement:

 

Intelligence information should protect our nation, not provide personal profit.

 

 

Typically, government employees with access to sensitive information have to submit any published work to their agency for review. Permanent Record contains no secrets that haven’t already been published by other news organizations. Snowden did not submit the book to the government for review prior to publication, preferring to publish his uncensored story. Ben Wizner, an attorney for Mr. Snowden who runs the American Civil Liberties Union’s speech, privacy and technology project commented on the circumstances of the lawsuit:

 

Had Mr. Snowden believed that the government would review his book in good faith, he would have submitted it for review. But the government continues to insist that facts that are known and discussed throughout the world are still somehow classified.

 

 

It’s understandable why the U.S. government might want to stifle Permanent Record‘s release seizing its profits. The story he leaked in 2013—of the government’s vast surveillance network capable of monitoring the activity of every person on the Internet—is still shocking today. In a section of the book describing the XKEYSCORE system which is “perhaps best understood as a search engine that lets an analyst search through the records of your life,” Snowden writes:

 

It was, simply put, the closest thing to science fiction I’ve ever seen in science fact.

 

But perhaps the lawsuit will have the opposite effect, driving more attention to it than it originally attracted. Anyway, Permanent Record is set to be one of the most important political books of the year. Still living in exile in Russia, this is Snowden’s chance to tell his story truthfully.

 

 

Featured image via Getty Images, Justin Sullivan 

Mercy Please! The ‘Just Mercy’ Trailer Has Been Released!

The fall/winter movie season means that many Oscar hopefuls will be hitting cinemas in order to compete for the grand prize. With an all-star cast and powerful message behind it, Just Mercy has all the ingredients of a potential award winner.

 

 

Based on the memoir of the same name by Bryan Stevenson, the film stars Michael B. Jordan as Stevenson as he moves to Alabama to help those wrongly convicted heinous crimes and cannot afford proper representation. He then decides to represent Walter McMillian, a man convicted of killing an 18-year-old girl despite there being evidence that proves his innocence. 

 

Image Via Amazon

 

The film follows the trial of McMillian as well as the formation of the Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit started by Stevenson that provides legal representation for those who may have been denied a fair trial.

 

Bryan Stevenson. Image Via Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau

 

Jamie Foxx plays McMillian, while Brie Larson also stars as local advocate Eva Ansley. Tim Blake Nelson and O’Shea Jackson Jr. also star.

Watch the full trailer here:

 

 

Just Mercy will be released on Christmas Day

 

 

 

Featured Image Via ComingSoon

Cyntoia Brown’s Memoir Gets Stunning Cover

Cyntoia Brown, a victim of child sex trafficking, whose imprisonment for murdering a forty-three year old man when she was only sixteen inspired a years-long campaign for her release, is publishing her memoir in just a couple months. Her case has had a major impact on laws surrounding sentencing for minors and victims of sex-trafficking.

Now, she’s publishing her story in a new memoir she began writing while serving her sentence.

 

Cyntoia Brown

Image via npr

Brown was sentenced to life-in-prison in 2004 for shooting a 43-year-old sex trafficker in self-defense. According to NPR:

Brown was convicted of aggravated robbery and first-degree murder for killing 43-year-old real estate agent Johnny Allen, whom she went home with after he picked her up for sex at a Sonic Drive-In in Nashville…She told police that she pulled a pistol out of her purse and fatally shot Allen because she thought he was reaching for a gun.

 

 

Earlier this year, Brown was finally released after a 15 year legal battle on the basis of self-defense. Her release made headlines and gave many Americans hope that justice is possible. While incarcerated, Brown earned her GED and a bachelor’s degree, mentored at-risk youth, and began working on a her memoir titled Free Cyntoia: My Search for Redemption in the American Prison SystemAnd now her reflection on her struggle for freedom has a cover:

 

Free Cyntoia

Image via Atria

According to the Atria Publishing Group, Cyntoia’s story takes the reader on a “rollercoaster ride” detailing her struggle for release. Her book is scheduled to release on October 15, but you should definitely preorder it if you want to get your hands on this heartbreaking and inspiring tale as soon as possible!

 

 

Featured image via The Tennessean

Taron Egerton to Narrate Audiobook for Elton John’s Memoir

Back in May, Taron Egerton played Elton John in his biopic Rocketman to great critical acclaim. Now Egerton’s Elton is returning to our ears for the audiobook of Me, the singer’s forthcoming memoir.

 

Image via Amazon

 

When asked about the opportunity to play the iconic singer once again, Egerton had this to say:

“Elton John is a fascinating man, at times incredibly intimidating and yet very vulnerable, I have never met anyone like him. I was passionate about my role as Elton in the movie Rocketman and this feels like the perfect closing chapter to the whole experience. I am honored to have been asked to narrate Elton’s autobiography and I’m excited to get started.”

 

 

The autobiography is said to show the life of Elton John from a perspective that has yet to be seen; his own. Readers will get an inside look at topics like John’s sobriety, and his thirty year strong relationship with husband David Furnish. On top of this, Entertainment Weekly has reported that the audiobook will be thirteen hours long and will feature Elton himself.

 

Image via Metro

 

The memoir and the audiobook will both be available on October 15th, just four months after the premiere of Rocketman. Egerton told ABC News that playing this role has not made him and Elton coworkers, but friends as well.

 

 

“Having him there as a resource was incredible, because it meant the whole experience for me became intensely personal. The most important thing you do as an actor when people say ‘how do you prepare,’ it’s that regardless of who you’re playing, you fall in love with them because you have to become them. So when I developed this friendship with Elton, that was a very intense feeling.”

 

 

 

 

Featured image via Vanity Fair