Sunday, September 28, 2008

Faith and Biggie : A Review of Keep the Faith


I read Faith's memoir, Keep the Faith, by Faith Evans
with Aliya S. King, this weekend. I was surprised by the tone,
it was honest, readable and ultimately made you want to like her.

She starts off the book giving the first couple chapters to her childhood
and familial background and then goes into her relationship with
Biggie and her musical career.

Perhaps what was most refreshing was her honesty about how,
when she was a teenager, she dated a dude who hit her, was verbally
abusive and how she finally decided to leave that relationship.

It was interesting to learn that she graduated high school at the top
of her class and subsequently attended Fordham University in The Bronx.

There are a few things that I was surprised to learn. For example,
early on before they were all famous Biggie asked Faith to take Kim
shopping and to the gym. I was also surprised to learn how honest
Biggie was about sleeping with other women. She would ask him,
he told the truth, yes. They would go on being husband and wife,
in the way that you do when you have that kind of information.
It was as simple as that.

Perhaps what is most beneficial about the book is that it provides a behind
the scenes to young women who are interested in getting involved in
the music industry. She talks about gaining the courage to ask
Puffy to pay her for her song writing contributions. She walks the reader
through what it was like to learn how publishing credits are allocated.
She talks about her managing the relationships professional and
private with Puffy, Missy, Mary and 112, in a way that I don't recall anyone
from our generation doing so.

I must admit that I was drawn to finishing the book because I was
interested in seeing how honest she talked about Biggie hitting her.
Given the fact that Pepa just published a book Lets Talk About Pep,
where she mentions being abused by Treach and Kim Osorio, former
editor The Source discusses in her Straight from the Source
how she endured sexism galore while at the helm
of that magazine, I wondered to myself if we were beginning
to be honest about the violence against women in our neighborhoods
and in our music.

I am trying to connect the dots between our attitudes towards the
violence that women suffer in hip hop to the violence that we see
against women in our communities. While reading Keep the Faith
I was looking for how she framed Biggie hitting her. What is interesting
is that the only incident that she mentions is him shaking her and
pushing her down after he found out that she recorded a song with
Tupac. However, they both committed act's of violence against people
that they thought were, or actually were the other persons lover.

Ultimatly the book will resonate with you if you interested in Hip Hop,
stories about women in the music industry or a story about
a stormy relationship between two lovers who came of age in
the eyes of the public. If you find yourself or Barnes and Noble or
Amazon, pick it up, its a great weekend read.


Anonymous said...

Great post. Do you read more non-fiction than fiction? You covered at least 3 new releases. Did you read those too? Maybe I need to dig deeper into your blog.

I shall return!

M.Dot. said...

3 new releases? Really. Which ones?

I do READ a ton of Non-fiction...Theory...but also..Magazines....I flew through Karrine Stephans Vixen Diaries last week, Incredible.....But...Having peeped your may probably appreciate a Paul; Beatty Review I have cooking,....that Negro is certiFIABLY nuts.

Read anything good lately?

A.u.n.t. Jackie said...

I lovesss me some paul beatty.

I have his entire collection of writing, all first edition even his limited print of his first collection of poems which i think goes for like $600 on Ebay...

If he wasn't already someone's man..I'd straight jock him for his brain!

RPoeta said...

I really have been interested in reading Faith's memoir. Thank you for the review. I might have to get my hands on it now.

It has been very interesting to me the ways women in hip hop use memoirs (and to some extent, street fiction) to respond to patriarchy. I think its very important to know the long history of black women who use writing as a form of resistance to racism and patriarchy.

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