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Not So Black and White Paperback – June 12, 2012

4.9 out of 5 stars 85 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Born in The Netherlands, Alexis Wilson was dancing as soon as she learned to walk. After moving to New York City she became the youngest apprentice in The Dance Theater of Harlem and quickly moved on to became a featured dancer in the Emmy Award winning television special, “Blues and Gone.” After appearing as a dancer in the Francis Ford Coppola film, “The Cotton Club” she graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University, moved to Europe and continued her dance career. Upon her return to The States she teamed with Peter Wise and Associates and began casting national commercials and theater productions like the Broadway smash hit, “Smokey Joe’s Café.” In addition to writing a full-length musical, a narrative tribute of her father’s contributions for PBS television, and contributions to the books, “Before I Got Here: The Wondrous Things We Hear When We Listen to the Souls of Our Children” and “Not In My Family: AIDS in the African-American Community” she joyously celebrates life with her husband and two children.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 210 pages
  • Publisher: Tree Spirit Publishing (June 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615568246
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615568249
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,392,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Barbara on July 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
I read through Alexis Wilson's 'Not so Black and White' over a holiday weekend - could not put it down! I am amazed by her bravery and honesty in telling such a personal story. Alexis doesn't hold anything back and is forthcoming in the narrative about her life and about the relationships that have shaped her. A week later and I am still thinking about parts of the book and saying 'wow'....
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Format: Paperback
Not So Black and White is the story of so many things: race, abandonment, the etiquette of love and loss all set to the beat of ballet! There are memories here of some heavy hitters from the stage to the big screen that you will recognize, and some that you will be glad to be informed of. Alexis has given us as much of an autobiography as she has a history lesson into the dance world's greatest way-pavers.

Though there are many issues within, Not So black And White is so beautifully balanced, and each facet feels important and necessary. I am reading this book AGAIN; chewing over the many poetic, descriptive morsels the authors spills out across the pages.

Alexis Wilson has the fantastic ability of allowing you to feel, very personally, a part of her experience. From the little girl recalling the complexity of emotions as she listened, observing the strange and secret sounds coming from her father's room in the middle of the night, or the discovery of what her mother had been up to after she abandoned her children; to the woman, disciplined by dance, fashioned through unconventional love: strong, capable, wounded yet ferociously loyal to the end.

I found it surprising, that all of these worlds I was reading about and had never known in my own experience, felt suddenly important.
This is not just a story about a broken family who experienced much. It is a tribute to an outstanding father, a devotion to those fallen from AIDS, and a nod to the darkness without which we would not recognize the light.

This is the story of recognizing love, even when it's not spoken the way you would speak it; appreciating family, even when it doesn't look like what you had imagined; discovering yourself in a world of stigmas, and being victorious over the victim within.

I highly recommend!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a huge biography reader and I was absolutely delighted to find Alexis Wilson's book about her life growing up as the daughter of 2 great performing artists and her journey of coming into herself as a human being, artist and now writer. I was particularly interested to read it as she is the daughter of Billy Wilson, the great dancer/choreographer/ director of such shows as Bubbling Brown Sugar and Stop the World I Want to Get Off (both of which I saw as a little boy). I am the son of performers as well so reading her book was almost like going back into my childhood and adolescence and seeing what inspired me to want to be an actor/singer in the first place. Amidst the backdrops of the worlds of ballet, Europe, New York and Broadway there are great accounts of family struggle, what it takes to be a dedicated artist in this business and more so what it takes to live the life you truly are meant to live and the discoveries and sacrifices that have to be made. Alexis and her brother were primarily raised by 2 dads (her father Billy and the wonderful singer Chip Garnett whose beautiful rendition of Sophisticated Lady you can still hear on the Bubbling Brown Sugar OBC recording). She recounts in great detail what that world was like and the strong family foundation she had particularly being estranged from her mother. And despite the foundation she had what she had to struggle through as a daughter, dancer, actress, caretaker, wife and mother.Read more ›
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Some books hit home and are difficult to put down (Even if having to go to the bathroom!). Holly (the name I know Alexis Wilson by) courageously shares her story with delectable taste and intrinsic passion. This book by a very brave woman has the reader sitting with open arms wanting to hug and kiss her saying, "You did it, and, so beautifully, too!" Holly tells her story (her life's story which I saw a part lived) so exquisitely. As she presents her past, I reflect on the sweet humble child (my peer) she was and know now that behind her twinkling bright eyes and infectious smile were gut-wrenching familial thoughts, occurrences, secrets, and revelations. Everyone who reads this book will fall in love with the author, her family, her life.
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Format: Paperback
From the minute you pick this book up you are hooked! Each page is filled with vivid details and heartfelt memories. Alexis really went out of her way to make the reader achieve the actual experience as if we were all there with her.
The sights, the smells and experiences make for a great novel filled with trials, tribulations and above all, LOVE.
This journey is not only unique but what makes it so personal to the readers is that this journey was real. The people involved including Alexis really were bonded and their relationships were almost destined.
Not so Black and White is an amazing story of a young woman and her courage to take this life bestowed upon her and make it shine. Despite set backs and heartache the strength to move forward is what brings the reader in and reminds us all that we are not so different frome one another.
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