My daughter and I used to binge-watch the reboot of Queer Eye on Netflix— she loved the home makeovers, Bobby’s energy and style; we both loved Antoni and the food. Tan was adorable. And Jonathon is just a lovable force. And then there was Karamo, orchestrating something not quite identifiable as “culture expert.”
When his memoir, Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing & Hope came out (pun?) in 2019, Karamo Brown visited Lafayette College. The teenager’s father had him autograph a book for her and we excitedly attended a public lecture he gave on campus that night.
Almost two full years later, I finally finished the book.
I have recently resumed reading in general so the fault does not lie with Karamo.
The book is light, simple in phrase, and mimics Karamo’s speech.
It’s a coming of age story. It’s the experience of a Black gay man, son of immigrant parents, struggling to find himself, share his voice and help people.
He has handled so many situations others know well— issues of addiction, relationships, family, sex, parenting. He spent so long yearning to reach out into the world that he nearly self-destructed in the process.
He’s very respectful of other people, only talking about himself— not violating the privacy of his kids, his extended family or fiancé. He doesn’t share glorifying tales of his wild boy days, focusing instead of why he was behaving that way and what he learned.
He structures the chapters not chronologically but thematically which makes it easy to understand the building blocks of who he is and how he came to be.
And even before George Floyd and #BlackLivesMatter, he begged us as a society to listen to each other and be kind.