28 Days of Literary Blackness With VSB | Day 5: Every Little Step: My Story by Bobby Brown With Nick Chiles

Image: Every Little Step: My Story (Harper Collins)

Publisher Synopsis: In Every Little Step, Brown will for the first time tell the full story of his life and set the record straight, particularly about his relationship with Whitney Houston.

Bobby Brown has been one of the most compelling American artists of the past 30 years, a magnetic and talented figure who successfully crossed over many musical genres, including R&B and hip-hop, as well as the mainstream. In the late 1980s, the former front man of New Edition had a wildly successful solo career—especially with the launch of Don’t Be Cruel—garnering multiple hits on the Billboard top ten list, as well as several Grammy, American Music, and Soul Train awards. But Brown put his career on hold to be with the woman he loved—American music royalty Whitney Houston. The marriage between Brown and Houston was perhaps the most closely watched and talked about marriage of the 1990s—a pairing that obsessed the public and the gossip industry. Now, for the first time, the world will be able to hear the truth from the mouth of America’s “bad boy” himself. Raw and powerful, Every Little Step is the story of a man who has been on the top of the mountain and in the depths of the valley and who is now finally ready to talk about his career and family life, from the passion and the excess to his creative inspirations and massive musical success.

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Maaaaaaaan, listen. First, let me be very, very clear: I’m a Bobby Brown fan. Through and through. He is not only the most interesting member of New Edition, he might give the most interesting man in the world a run for his money. Bobby seems to have lived out his entire ass life in the most extreme ways possible. Add to the fact that TODAY, February 5, 2019, is his 50th birthday (!!!!!!!!!!—How is he only 50 today!!?!?!?!?) and you realize how young he was when he reached his peak over 30 years ago when his game-changing album, Don’t Be Cruel, dropped on June 20, 1988.

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When we got news that Bobby Brown was going to release an autobiography, I literally couldn’t have been more excited. Much of that was because the teasers for it were the most ridiculous things you could possibly ask for in a book. They took the Bobby Brown as party-man legend and leveled that shit up. I mean, before Bobby, the term “cocaine chicken” wasn’t a thing. Now, it’s an actual thing. Why is it a thing? Bobby Brown cooked chicken with cocaine when he was a little kid. Whose cocaine was it? His momma’s. Robert Barisford Brown also had sex with a ghost. Or the ghost had sex with him. It’s kind of unclear no matter how clear he tries to make it. How do I know this? It’s in the book.

When the movie about his life dropped and we found out that he and Janet Jackson had a thing, and possibly were actually in love, folks couldn’t believe it. Thing is, you might have if you’d read the book since there’s a whole lot of talk about her in it. Especially the time he threw her out of his hotel room butt-ass naked. I saw an original cut of episode 1 of BET’s The Bobby Brown Story and they included that scene. I also knew it wasn’t going to make the final cut because I just can’t see BET wanting that smoke. Sure as shootin’, it did not make it to air.

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While the book is full of shenanigans, it is also full of reflection about his time with Whitney and her death, and especially about the death of their daughter Bobbi Kristina. I won’t say Bobby is the deepest brother on the planet, but as somebody who is already a fan, I appreciated his perspective and the time he took to delve into his own issues and how they contributed to a lot of troubles and pain he’s endured, both as an individual and with Whitney.

I read a lot of books. This has been one of the most entertaining for the WTF moments, but also because as I said, Bobby has lived a lot of life and anybody who has reached both the heights and depths he’s seen needs to have it documented, personally. Is it a literary masterpiece? Absolutely not. It’s even painfully obvious where Bobby had the reins to himself and Nick Chiles got to work while Bobby was sleeping or something. But if you love New Edition like I love New Edition, and if Bobby entertains you as much as he entertains me, and if Don’t Be Cruel is as high on your list of albums as it is on mine, then this is the book for you, I promise.

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He even reads the audiobook himself, which adds an additional layer of value. I recommend this book for the culture, for the people and because, well, as a fan of Bobby Brown, I appreciated the ability to learn more about him from his own perspective.

Every Little Step: My Story (2016) by Bobby Brown with Nick Chiles

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About the author

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.