This memoir offers a candid and funny response to those who question the racial authenticity of successful black men. After receiving a letter asserting that he is “not a genuine black man,” Copeland (comic, actor, radio talk-show host) tries to understand the qualifications needed to earn the classification: “I can’t swim. That’s black. But I can’t play basketball either.” Raised in San Leandro, a suburb bordering Oakland, California, Copeland delves into his experiences as a lone black child struggling to blend in among a white majority. His mother attempted to assimilate in any way possible, converting to Catholicism and taking her family to “brunch” after church, despite resistance from whites. Copeland details a futile search for a barber who would consent to cut his hair, being searched by a security guard while trying to shop and receiving an eviction notice based purely on the color of the family’s skin. Copeland’s comedic talent is evident throughout the book, though he concedes that he uses laughter to keep the pain at bay and endured a time when he descended into depression. Honest and engaging, this memoir is a valuable book for anyone trying to straddle racial lines, for anyone who has ever felt out of place.
Brian gives an overview of the book:
If you were to look up the definition of the word versatility in a dictionary of performers, chances are you’d find the name Brian Copeland. The multitalented comedian, writer, television host, talk radio host, and commentator has basked in the glow of both public and...