Five Memoirs Written By Black Women That Are Even Better As Audiobooks

Back in the day, I loved a good read.

Something about the stillness and imaginary voyage was always so fulfilling especially when the author was able to tell a story I can relate to. These days between work, motherhood, and blogging I can barely find time to shave my legs, let alone read an entire book. Instead, I listen to audiobooks on Scribd.

I find this process to be a bit easier and much more productive because I can listen while getting dressed or in the car, while running or running errands.

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While some might argue, that reading books are better than audiobooks, I believe that audiobooks that are narrated by the author are amazing. To me, it feels like a private listening party hosted by the author or the author and I are besties and she’s reading me her best work before it goes public. I simply live for it!

As the third installment of my Black History Month series, here are Five Memoirs Written By Black Women That Are Even Better As Audiobooks.

Becoming

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Becoming, the 2018 memoir written, by former FLOTUS Michelle Obama, shares her and her family’s voyage, starting with her humble beginnings on the South Side of Chicago, her Ivy League educational journey to the historical road to the White House. The memoir is a timely piece that is enjoyable to listen to because it provides context to many situations during the Obama Administration that we may have heard about through the media. She shares the ideation behind the Let’s Move! campaign and why youth obesity is so important to her as a parent and as a First Lady. She shares her iconic fashion insight, being the first African American First Lady and above all else, being a working mom. This narration is 17 hours but worth a listen. I will not mention that  Becoming is also a #1 New York Time Best Seller and has over 7,000 five star reviews on Amazon.

The Mother of Black Hollywood: A Memoir

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Jenifer Lewis is my absolute favorite and yours too; don’t deny it. The multitalented Jenifer Lewis’ career spans over many, many decades and has appeared in over 300 TV and films, stage plays, comedies, dramas, and cabarets. She’s pretty much played almost everyone’s Black mother in almost any movie or television show with a black cast. Her memoir shares how her passion for the performing arts helped her blazed such a long career in an industry that isn’t as affording to African American actresses. She also shares details on her scandalous sex life, as well as her activism for those impacted by HIV and even her experience as a mother to her adopted daughter. She’s so funny and simply iconic! This is probably hands down my most favorite audiobook. Jenifer’s voice and flair for the dramatics give us all life.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

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The late, Maya Angelou is an American treasure and is gone but not forgotten. This memoir was written in 1969 and captures her early childhood where she and her brother were put on a train and sent down south to live with her paternal grandmother. From there she shares intimate details about her life including rape at the age of 8 and becoming pregnant at the age of 16. Her story, set on the backdrop of racial white America, is so inspiring and strengthening. This literary work is considered one of the American classics and worth a read or in this case a listen to. Her powerful, iconic voice makes you linger onto every word. The audio version is about three hours long.

What I Know for Sure

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Picture, it—the voice of the Oprah Winfrey, dropping gems and pieces of great advice that she has learned in her six decades on earth. What I Know for Sure, started as a column in O, The Oprah Magazine and evolved into this auditory experience of just all things goodness. Oprah shares her struggles, insecurities, mistakes and triumphant. I just love it! A recurring theme through the audiobook is “gratitude,” “gratefulness” and “self-love” all of which are simple concepts but complex in implementation. The audiobook is about six hours long and you’ll probably want to listen to it quarterly. It’s like chickenless soup for the soul. That’s a little vegan humor.

We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories that Are Complicated, Funny and True

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We’re Going to Need More Wine was one of my very first audiobooks because I wanted to be noisy and learn more about Gabrielle Union. I’ve watched her on the big screen play roles that often perpetuated stereotypes about black women being too independent, crazy or more focused on our careers instead of relationships and love. Then when she married Dwayne Wade after he had a child while they were on a relationship hiatus and I grew indifferent about Gabrielle Union. After this audiobook, I fell in love with her because she became more human to me. I was able to empathize because her struggles were similar to some of my struggles career-wise. She, too, shares intimate details about her life like dealing with colorism, being sexually assaulted, having a terrible marriage and spouse, the trials in her career, finally finding love and why she chooses to engage in philanthropy and activism. Some of her stories where completely off the wall, but it’s a great listen and will cause you to literally laugh out loud.

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When you do have time to sit down and actually read, don’t forget to check out my past post, Five Must-Read Books for Women Entrepreneurs. What are some of your favorite reads or audiobooks? 

Light + Love

Ar’Sheill Monsanto