An insightful, inspiring, “candid and warm” (Booklist) memoir from Karamo Brown—beloved culture expert from Netflix’s Queer Eye—as he shares his story for the first time, exploring how the challenges in his own life have allowed him to forever transform the lives of those in need.
When Karamo Brown first auditioned for the casting directors of Queer Eye, he knew he wouldn’t win the role of culture expert by discussing art and theater. Instead he decided to redefine what “culture” could—and should—mean for the show. He took a risk and declared, “I am culture.”
After all, Karamo believes culture is how people feel about themselves and others, how they relate to the world around them, and how their shared labels, burdens, and experiences affect their daily lives in ways both subtle and profound. Seen through this lens, Karamo is culture: his family is Jamaican and Cuban; he was raised in the South in predominantly white neighborhoods and attended an HBCU (Historically Black College/University); he was trained as a social worker and psychotherapist; he overcame personal issues of colorism, physical and emotional abuse, alcohol and drug addiction, and public infamy; he is a proud and dedicated gay single father of two boys, one biological and one adopted.
In “this soul-soothing memoir” (O, The Oprah Magazine), Karamo reflects on his lifelong education. It comprises every adversity he has overcome, as well as the lessons he has learned along the way. It is only by exploring our difficulties and having the hard conversations—with ourselves and one another—that we are able to adjust our mind-sets, heal emotionally, and move forward to live our best lives.
“During every episode of Queer Eye, there’s at least one touching moment where Karamo Brown drops some serious wisdom about self-love and makes everybody cry. His moving memoir about overcoming adversity captures that feeling in book form” (HelloGiggles).
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
With his uplifting memoir, Queer Eye’s dapper culture guru sets out to use his own story to help others make positive changes in their lives. Touching on key moments in his journey—struggling as a kid to reconcile his religious upbringing and his growing awareness that he was gay; grappling with addiction; parenting his sons; meeting his fiancé—Karamo Brown highlights the lessons he took from each experience. And though Brown brings his background in social work and psychotherapy to the table, he avoids preachy self-help platitudes and opts instead for clarity, kindness, and cool-dad candor.
In this often passionate, insightful memoir, Brown, known for his reality TV roles on The Real World and Queer Eye, shines a revealing light on addiction, race, and desire. Born in 1980 in Houston, Tex., he was the only son of a Jamaican-Cuban immigrant family and proud of his Rastafarian father, who gave him the Swahili name Karamo, meaning "educated rebel." Sometimes the name caused Brown embarrassment, but it fostered an inner strength in grade school, he writes, and as an undergraduate at Florida A&M, a historically black college. His pioneering appearance as the first openly gay black man on MTV's The Real World put all of his flaws on view, and led him to confront his drug use, excessive partying, drinking, and depression. Brown's role as Queer Eye's fiery culture expert allowed him to comment openly about racism and sexual stereotypes as he found happiness as the single father of two boys and, later, in a committed relationship. "We must find ways to move the needle on success and love," Brown notes in the clear-eyed writing and encouraging tone that permeates his narrative. This is a powerful story of a young, gay black man's fight to gain self-empowerment and healing.