I Take My Coffee Black: Reflections on Tupac, Musical Theater, Faith, and Being Black in America

Worthy. Sept. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781546029410. $26. MEMOIR
In this candid, insightful memoir, Merritt (The Tyler Merritt Project) shares his steady journey from a music-loving Christian kid in Las Vegas to actor and activist. Interwoven in his narrative are snippets of U.S. history that spotlight mistreated and marginalized people. Merritt also recounts his family’s journey from sharecropping to corporate success while revealing how his father’s stoicism and his mother’s resolve affected the ways he experienced the world. Central to the story are the many friends he met along the way, from classmates who attended the eclectic performing arts high school where he found his calling to those who supported him throughout his different careers as an adult. Although Merritt’s story has many joyful moments, it is also wrought with betrayal, heartache, injustice, failure, disappointment, and despair. Yet hope prevails as he urges readers to learn from one another’s stories instead of turning away because of a lack of empathy and understanding.
VERDICT Engaging and at times enraging, this thought-provoking memoir is suitable for general as well as performing arts collections.
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