New Release Books by Gerrick Kennedy

Gerrick Kennedy is the author of Didn't We Almost Have It All (2022) and Parental Discretion Is Advised (2017).

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Didn't We Almost Have It All

release date: Feb 01, 2022
Didn't We Almost Have It All
A candid exploration of the genius, shame, and celebrity of Whitney Houston a decade after her passing On February 11, 2012, Whitney Houston was found submerged in the bathtub of her suite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. In the decade since, the world has mourned her death amid new revelations about her relationship to her Blackness, her sexuality, and her addictions. Didn’t We Almost Have It All is author Gerrick Kennedy’s exploration of the duality of Whitney’s life as both a woman in the spotlight and someone who often had to hide who she was. This is the story of Whitney’s life, her whole life, told with both grace and honesty. Long before that fateful day in 2012, Whitney split the world wide open with her voice. Hers was a once-in-a-generation talent forged in Newark, NJ, and blessed with the grace of the church and the wisdom of a long lineage of famous gospel singers. She redefined “The Star-Spangled Banner.” She became a box-office powerhouse, a queen of the pop charts, and an international superstar. But all the while, she was forced to rein in who she was amid constant accusations that her music wasn’t Black enough, original enough, honest enough. Kennedy deftly peels back the layers of Whitney’s complex story to get to the truth at the core of what drove her, what inspired her, and what haunted her. He pulls the narrative apart into the key elements that informed her life—growing up in the famed Drinkard family; the two romantic relationships that shaped the entirety of her adult life, with Robyn Crawford and Bobby Brown; her fraught relationship to her own Blackness and the ways in which she was judged by the Black community; her drug and alcohol addiction; and, finally, the shame that she carried in her heart, which informed every facet of her life. Drawing on hundreds of sources, Kennedy takes readers back to a world in which someone like Whitney simply could not be, and explains in excruciating detail the ways in which her fame did not and could not protect her. In the time since her passing, the world and the way we view celebrity have changed dramatically. A sweeping look at Whitney’s life, Didn’t We Almost Have It All contextualizes her struggles against the backdrop of tabloid culture, audience consumption, mental health stigmas, and racial divisions in America. It explores exactly how and why we lost a beloved icon far too soon.

Parental Discretion Is Advised

release date: Dec 05, 2017
Parental Discretion Is Advised
Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, and DJ Yella caused a seismic shift in hip-hop when they decided to form N.W.A in 1986. Suddenly rap became gangsta and relevant on the West Coast. With their hard-core image, bombastic sound, and lyrics that were by turns poetic, lascivious, socially conscious, and downright in-your-face, N.W.A spoke the truth about life on the streets of Compton, California--at the time a hotbed of poverty, drugs, gangs, and unemployment. Their hood tales offered a sharp contrast to the cozy, comfortable images of thriving middle-class life emanating from television screens across America. For the group, making music was not about being nice or projecting a false reality. It was all about expressing themselves. Through firsthand interviews and exhaustive research, Los Angeles Times music reporter Gerrick D. Kennedy transports readers back in time and offers a front-row seat to N.W.A's early days and the drama and controversy that followed the incendiary group as they rose to become multiplatinum artists. Kennedy leaves nothing off the table in his pursuit of the full story behind the group's most pivotal moments, including Ice Cube's decision to go solo after their debut studio album became a smash hit, the forming of Ruthless Records, the group's confrontation with the FBI over their inflammatory lyrics, incidents of physical assault, Dr. Dre's decision to launch Death Row Records with Suge Knight, N.W.A's impact on the 1992 LA riots, Eazy-E's battle with AIDS, and much more. A riveting and illuminating work of music journalism, [this book] captures a defining moment in rap music, when N.W.A made it altogether social, freaky, enterprising, and gangsta. They forced us all to take notice. For that reason alone, their story must be told."--Dust jacket flap.


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