Jenifer Lewis doesn't hold anything back. Her biography "The Mother of Black Hollywood: A Memoir" details her struggles with bipolar disorder and sex addiction. She also talks about the joys of success and fame.
"The main reason I wrote the book was because I wanted the millennials to know that there was no fire too great to walk through if you believe in yourself," she told host Angela Davis. "When I tell you I am a happy person today, I am."
Lewis was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when she was in her mid-30s, and says she doesn't wish she had been diagnosed earlier in life.
"Because if I had, then I would have thought something was wrong," she said. "And they didn't have enough information about it to educate me, to let me know that there was nothing wrong with me."
Lewis will be discussing her book at the 2019 Literary Luncheon on Saturday, May 18, in St. Paul. She spoke with Davis about her book, her work spreading awareness about bipolar disorder, and the issues she wants to tackle next.
"If there's a tattered copy of 'Mother of Black Hollywood' on the side of the road in a war-torn country, 100 years after I'm gone, and one line in this book helps her take one more baby step, then I did something," she said.
This reporting is part of Call To Mind, MPR | APM's initiative to foster new conversations about mental health.
Use the audio player above to listen to the segment.