09.10.2019

Hurricane Lewis Roars Into Sacramento: A Preview of This Year’s Exceptional Women Of Color Event

Hurricane Lewis Roars Into Sacramento: A Preview of This Year’s Exceptional Women Of Color Event

By Michael P Coleman

As I write this just after Labor Day, Hurricane Dorian has just ravaged the Bahamas and pummeled the southeast coast of the United States.  Luckily, northern California doesn’t have to worry about such meteorological events. 

Or do we?

On October 19th, Hurricane Jenifer — Jenifer Lewis, that is — will roar into town as the Keynote Presenter at the 11th annual Exceptional Women Of Color event, to be held at UC-Davis’ Mondavi Center.  Lewis has been a Tinseltown staple for over 30 years, earning the moniker The Mother Of Black Hollywood.

Brilliantly, that’s also the title of her 2017 best-selling memoir, an honest, detailed book that’s just been released in paperback.  The Mother Of Black Hollywood’s overarching message?  If Lewis can make it through the formidable challenges she’s faced — SPOILER ALERT!  There have been MANY — so can we. 

Lewis’ memoir is a mostly hysterical, at times searing NSFW tome that describes the journey that a little girl from St. Louis took to becoming, as she loves to call herself:

"Jenifer Muthafucking Lewis.”

Our early morning conversation was peppered with that kind of “real talk.”  Lewis’ book, like the legend herself, is not for the faint of heart…or for the very young. Only the mother of black Hollywood could get away with it!  

“You’ve got to understand, darling, that I’ve been an entertainer for my entire existence,” Lewis, 62, EXCLUSIVELY told me, during a chat that left me feeling quite good about being called “darling.”  For one of the few times in my career, I threw objectivity to the wind.  She’s Jenifer Muthafucking Lewis, and to be in her orbit is utterly intoxicating.  

“It’s a huge responsibility to say ‘come see me after your 9 to 5’, which for most people is a job that they don’t love. I, on the other hand, have gotten to do what I loved to do.  So when people come see me, they leave entertained.  It is what I do!”

“I was the Beyoncé of my time!”

In a rare retreat, Lewis hilariously amended that last declaration. 

“Let me rephrase that,” Lewis whispered, almost as if to provide a salve to the Beyhive, before bellowing “I couldn’t have touched Beyoncé. Even I wasn’t that talented! That’s one talented bitch right there!”

Having just wrapped a film with another icon, Dolly Parton, slated for release next year, Lewis has started writing her second memoir.  While that book is just coming together, it will focus on the work that Lewis says we all have to do in 2020.

Conservatives, consider this your warning. 

“I want to say we have to fight, but we have to stand,” Lewis said. “Am I scared? Yes. But I’m unafraid!  And that is what we must be: unafraid. We have Lex Luthor in the White House, he has his finger on the button, and that’s scary shit!”

Given my Superman fixation, of which Lewis knew nothing, I was stunned by the Lex Luther reference.  I leaned in. 

“But I’m an optimist,” Lewis continued. “We have to stand together, because when we laid down, we wound up with Bozo The Fucking Clown in the White House.” 

“So we’ve got work to do!”

CLICK HERE for information and tickets to see Jenifer Lewis at the 2019 Exceptional Women Of Color event.

Go to michaelpcoleman.Wordpress.com for more of MPC’s EXCLUSIVE interview with Jenifer Lewis.

Mike Coleman headshotonly nologo 300

 Connect with freelance writer and “darling” to Jenifer Lewis, Michael P Coleman (yes, he has told himself that he is the only one she calls “Darling”) at michaelpcoleman.com or follow him on Instagram and Twitter:  @ColemanMichaelP