Thursday, August 03, 2006

Confessions of a Video Vixen - Karrine Steffans

The Basics: Confessions of a Video Vixen, Karrine Steffans, 2005, 205 pages, hardcover

How I found it: When I was looking up a book about the history of hip hop, Queens Reigns Supreme: Fat Cat, 50 Cent, and the Rise of the Hip Hop Hustler, which I haven't read yet, on, it said that people who bought that book also bought Steffans book. Then I remembered that I had seen a bit of an interview with Steffans on Tyra Banks' talk show where Tyra called her a whore.

What's it about?: It is an autobiography of Steffans' life. She grew up in a home where her mother beat her, was raped as a teenager then ran away and turned to stripping. She was in several extremely abusive relationships, one of which produced a son. Then she moved to L.A., hooked up with many of Hollywood's influential men (hip hop artists, producers, actors, NBA stars, etc.). She also acted, starred in music videos and lived the high life, eventually battling drug and alcohol addictions.

Did I like it: This book is a piece of crap. It is poorly written and very poorly organize, even though her story is interesting. At 205 pages it is a fairly short book, but Steffans still manages to tell the same stories twice in some instances. Steffans comes across as completely unlikeable. She is emotionally unstable, a negligent mother, a substance abuser, a battered woman and a very poor example to for women everywhere. I don't like to judge, but this woman is despicable. She used here sexual "talents" to get money and gifts from powerful men, but I think she was just being subjugated by them. As a feminist, I take offence at her lifestyle, but at the same time I want her to get counselling.

Will you like it: Please don't buy this book. It is a total waste of your money and really only got published because it has lots of tell-all information about Steffans' sex life with famous people (P. Diddy, Ja Rule, Ice-T, Vin Diesel, Fred Durst, etc.). Don't even do what I did and borrow it from the library. The romance-novel style sex scenes are not even redeeming in a gossip-page kind of way and she doesn't even really talk about the music videos. What a waste of time.

But don't take my word for it: Readers on both loved and hated it, a reviewer on the African American Literature Bookclub really liked it (as a cautionary tale though), a reviewer on AlterNet thinks that Steffans is adding a rarely heard female voice to the hip hop world.

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