*Activist Tarana Burke took to television this week to promote her new memoir, “Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement.”
Before she founded what would become a national reckoning on sexual abuse, sexual assault and sexual harassment, Burke was a little Black girl from the Bronx dealing with issues of self worth, reinforced by constant criticism of her features. She is, herself, a rape survivor. “Who would want to rape you?” she recalls people responding, when she opened up about this part of her life.
During her appearance on “The View” this week, co-host Whoopi Goldberg brought up her portrayal of Miss Celie in “The Color Purple,” who was famously called “ugly” to her face. “And I remember being really mad,” Whoopi said, explaining that even though the words were part of the script based on Alice Walker’s novel, they still stung on a personal level.
“It makes you feel a certain way,” Whoopi continued. “It has a visceral effect on you.’
The publisher’s synopsis of “Unbound” reads:
As a child, she reeled from her sexual assault, believing she was responsible. Unable to confess what she thought of as her own sins for fear of shattering her family, her soul split in two. One side was the bright, intellectually curious third generation Bronxite steeped in Black literature and power, and the other was the bad, shame ridden girl who thought of herself as a vile rule breaker, not of a victim. She tucked one away, hidden behind a wall of pain and anger, which seemed to work…until it didn’t.
Tarana fought to reunite her fractured soul, through organizing, pursuing justice, and finding community. In her debut memoir she shares her extensive work supporting and empowering Black and brown girls, and the devastating realization that to truly help these girls she needed to help that scared, ashamed child still in her soul. She needed to stop running and confront what had happened to her, for Heaven and Diamond and the countless other young Black women for whom she cared. They gave her the courage to embrace her power. A power which in turn she shared with the entire world. Through these young Black and brown women, Tarana found that we can only offer empathy to others if we first offer it to ourselves.
Watch Burke’s entire interview on “The View,” where she gets choked up when a passage in the book regarding her mother’s words of encouragement is read back to her by co-host Sara Haines, as Burke’s mom looks on from the audience.
Below, Burke sat down with Tamron Hall to discuss her memoir, detailed life after one of the largest cultural events in American history, and helped usher in Tamron’s 51st birthday.
Below, Burke brings her book and story to Oprah Winfrey.