Jenifer Lewis is a national treasure. The iconic actress has been gracing our stages and screens for over four decades and has earned the unofficial title “The Mother of Black Hollywood,” which she named her memoirs. Lewis is known for her candid nature and openness when it comes to her journey and struggles with mental health. During a recent stop at The Real, Lewis shared a powerful statement with the ladies and opened up about how she defines her success.
Lewis is an actress, comedian, and philanthropist. In the age of social media, she has also become somewhat of a motivational speaker. Jenifer’s interviews are filled with powerful affirmations from someone who has been through it all. She is always going viral for this reason and has done an exceptional job passing along her wisdom to younger generations. While catching up with Loni, Adrienne, and Garcelle; Jenifer discusses why she is so transparent about her struggles. “Speak up people!” she told the girls and their audience. Lewis believes that the things we keep to ourselves can consume us. This is why she chooses to be open about mental illness and addiction. According to Lewis, “We’re as sick as our secrets.”
Jenifer Lewis has been open about the many struggles she has faced in her life. Lewis says when she first came forward about her bipolar diagnosis and talked about it on the Oprah Winfrey Show, some people championed her for “coming out.” Jenifer does not feel like she was coming out at all. “I’ve been out!” she declared. Jenifer Lewis goes on to say, “when you’re looked at inappropriately, speak up!”
For Lewis, having no secrets is a form of success. She also says that success is having a smile on her face. Jenifer understands that she has been incredibly lucky and has lived “the American dream.” For that reason, she wants to continue to spread love and positivity. Jenifer Lewis opened up about her place in pop culture as well. She acknowledges that she has a special place in millennials’ hearts thanks to all the maternal roles she’s played over the years. Lewis recalls being introduced to many as the aunt on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air before going on to play the mother of several A-list actors from Tupac Shakur to Gabrielle Union and more. For the last decade, many have known Jenifer as the grandmother on Black-ish. Due to this status, Lewis makes it a point to uplift and inspire because she knows young people will listen to her.