Keep the Faith: A Memoir, Faith Evan with Aliya S. King
It's been over ten years since Big was killed. I grieved for him for a very long time. And then, as time passed, the icy wall of grief surrounding my heart began to thaw and I began to heal. I remarried, had more children, and continued to record and release more music. I continued to live my life. And while I can never discount the time I spent with Big, I've never felt the need to live in the past. But sometimes, I still find myself thinking about Big being rushed the hospital, and I break down in tears. It's not just because we hung up on each other during what would be our last telephone conversation. And it's not because I am raising our son, a young man who has never known his father. It's partly all of those things. But mainly it's because he wasn't ready to go. His debut album was called Ready to Die. But in the end, he wasn't. Big never got a chance to tell his story. It's been left to others to tell it for him. In making the decision to tell my own story, it means that I've become one of those who can give insight to who Big really was. But I can only speak on what he meant to me. Yet I also want people to understand that although he was a large part of my life, my story doesn't actually begin or end with Big's death. My journey has been complicated on many levels. And since I am always linked to Big, there are a lot of misconceptions about who I really am. I hope that in reading my words, there is inspiration to be found. Perhaps you can duplicate my success or achieve where I have failed. Maybe you can skip over the mistakes I've made. Use my life as an example-of what to do and in some cases, what not to do. It's not easy putting your life out there for the masses. But I've decided I'll tell my own story. For Big. For my children. And for myself.
KEEP THE FAITH
I received Faith Evans’ new book Keep the Faith a while ago, and my first thought was, “I hope that she’s not exploiting the death of her late husband, Biggie Smalls, with this book.” There have been several articles and movies written about his untimely death, and I was hoping that this wasn’t one more thing to add to the conspiracy surrounding his unsolved murder. After reading a couple of the chapters, I was pleasantly surprised so see that her book wasn’t solely about his murder; she chronicles her life as an up and coming R&B singer and, as well, she talks about her family, her poor relationship choices, and her struggle to balance pursing her career as a single mother and a widow.
I will admit, the beginning of this book was a little boring. It recalls Faith’s childhood and her traumatic move from Florida to New Jersey. She was uprooted from her mom (she unfortunately never had the chance to meet her father but only knew that he was an Italian-American man) and was made to live with her grandparents. Some of this information didn’t seem interesting, but in the back of my mind, I kinda knew that there would be more salacious stories in the upcoming pages.
According to the book, the young Faith Evans was pretty much a typical teenager. She was boy crazy, rebellious and hung around the wrong crowd. Basically, she searched for anything that remotely looked dangerous, which usually meant hooking up with the wrong guys. I couldn’t help put want to shake her and talk some sense into her every time she spoke about a guy that did her wrong. (Believe me, there were tons of instances!)
Even though her personal life was in shambles, she still had a deep appreciation for music. She adored gospel music and eventually became a part of a group. It was also at this time that she broke from the group and chose to follow her passion and pursue music full time.
The book quickly and concisely recounts her entrance into the music biz and details how singing for Puffy changed her life. After meeting him, her dream of becoming a recording star began to take form.
Mid-way through the book, things started to pick up. This is when Faith started speaking about her roller coaster-like relationship with Notorious B.I.G. — a rapper who, at the time, was minutes away from fame. Being a friend of Puffy, Biggie would always be in the studio so he and Faith would bump into each other from time to time.
I particularly loved how he courted her in the beginning. He saw her in the studio, was interested, went over and just kicked it to her. Biggie would never ask her out on a traditional date, he would simply say, “Where we eating at tonight?” That was his way of saying that he wanted to spend some time with her. I thought that was sweet in a high school way.
The majority of the book talks about their fast courtship and their even quicker trip down the aisle. They got married after knowing each other for only two months! Faith openly discusses how happy she was in the early stages of her marriage, and how depressed and angry she felt when she knew that it was falling apart due to Biggie’s penchant for creeping. (his most notorious mistress was rapper Kimberly Jones, a.k.a. Lil Kim).
A couple of my favourite things about this book is that Faith divulges a lot of info. She candidly sets the record straight about the “supposed” affair with Tupac and how the deaths of Tupac and her husband affected her personally and professionally. Being the nosy sista that I am, I liked how she openly exposes her petty beefs with the then unknown performers (she actually had beef with Mary J. Blige and Missy).
Overall, Keep the Faith was a good read. Faith was able to tell her side of the story as the way she saw it. She didn’t paint herself as an angel, but spoke about the traumatic things going on in her life thus far.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loved the hip hop and R&B of the mid-90s and especially to anyone who actually remembers the East Coast/West Coast beef.
Check out the book! ¤ Michelle
KEEP THE FAITH: (out of 5)