On the evening following the 1996 acquittal of Snoop Dogg on charges of murder, Newsweek entertainment writer Samuels attended a party thrown by the rapper, where an "obviously drunk fifty-something white male took the microphone... and began to deliver an ill-advised and unfortunate freestyle rap." Upon closer examination, she identified the man as one of the jurors who had granted the musician his freedom that morning. Moments like this abound in Samuels's casual, honest rumination on her career reporting on black Hollywood. Her short chapters include profiles of athletes, actors and musicians such as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Angela Bassett, Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston and the artists of Suge Knight's Death Row record label, a group with which Samuels established a close, long-running relationship. The challenges of fame, success and journalism are touched upon, though only superficially. While the issue of race is given attention, the collection's main draw is the insider observations and anecdotes, which range from telling (in response to being told that an article featuring him is no longer front-page material, a precomeback Eddie Murphy asks, "But don't they remember?") to bizarre (Mike Tyson showing off the letters JFK Jr. wrote him during his incarceration). (Mar.)
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As a reporter with Newsweek, Samuels' coverage of stars in sports and entertainment has more than the requisite adoration of entertainment journalists. In this behind-the-scenes look at celebrity coverage, Samuels reveals as much about her techniques and thoughts on celebrity journalism as about the subjects themselves. As a black reporter, often covering black celebrities, she reveals the drawbacks and benefits of her sex and race--the disdain of white executives and the access afforded to lower-level behind-the-scenes workers from secretaries to janitors. She recalls coverage of the short life of rap star Tupac Shakur and the impact of her hip-hop coverage on her own career in other venues. Samuels recounts the difficulty of getting to know L.A. Lakers star Kobe Bryant, even before the rape allegation that threatened his career, and the contrasting charm of Bryant's nemesis, Shaquille O'Neal. Among the other stars Samuels has interviewed are Denzel Washington, Eddie Murphy, and Whitney Houston. Readers interested in celebrity journalism will find this an appealing look at the stars and one reporter who covers them. Vanessa Bush
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The ediors were right when they said the book was superficial but that doesn't me it's not enjoyable. I couldn't put it down.Published on April 19, 2007 by Tia
Enjoyed this book a great deal. It was very well written, and I learned some interesting things about interesting people. Allison you did a great job! E. GossettPublished on March 20, 2007 by delaineg