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Customer Review

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Insider's Look into American Pop Culture, February 10, 2007
This review is from: Off the Record: A Reporter Unveils the Celebrity Worlds of Hollywood, Hip-hop, and Sports (Hardcover)
Written by Allison Samuels, Newsweek magazine's longtime entertainment reporter, OFF THE RECORD is a compilation of personality profiles of African-American celebrities, including musicians, athletes, actors and other icons. Recommended to anyone interested in pop culture, this book reads like a magazine. Most chapters are relatively short articles that focus on two or three similar personalities, though some chapters are much longer and are dedicated to the exploration of one major cultural icon.

A fearless writer, unafraid to take a jab or two at the mighty and the dangerously sensitive, Samuels uses her 13 years of experience covering the entertainment industry to reveal the surprisingly contradictory personality traits of her subjects. Here you will read about

∑ How the late rapper Tupac Shakur was transformed from an ambitious, sweet, well-read, former ballet dancer to frightening thug, once he was recruited by record executive, Marion "Suge" Knight;

∑ How NBA all-star Kobe Bryant immaturely alienated himself from his Lakers teammates and in the process destroyed his own reputation and his relationship with Shaquille O'Neal by foolishly believing he did not need the guidance and advice of NBA veterans;

∑ How actress Halle Berry offended Whoopi Goldberg when she tearfully accepted her Oscar win for best actress without acknowledging the African-American women who had won before her, including Hattie McDaniel and Goldberg; and

∑ How Mike Tyson is extraordinarily generous, perhaps because as the author notes it is his way of coping "in a world that had not given him very much in the way of kindness or sympathy."

Plus there are other fascinating profiles of Angela Bassett, Denzel Washington, Dr. Dre, Snopp Dogg, Eddie Murphy, Bill Cosby, Ray Lewis, Allen Iverson, Tyra Banks, Lil' Kim, Suge Knight, Coretta Scott King and Malcolm Shabazz.

- Regina McMenamin
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Location: New York, NY

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