I did not set out to read back to back hippie-esq A lister’s memoirs but Lenny Kravitz’s memoir, Let Love Rule, happened to become available on Overdrive the same week Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey was so here we are. If I had to choose between the two I would say Lenny’s story was more captivating and overall a better fit for my memoir preference. This is clearly a “first” memoir because he stops right as his first album is released but that is partly why it is such an effective read as he delves much deeper into his childhood and early adulthood which, while colored by his goal to become a professional musician, has more depth to it than just a rehash of professional highlights. Also I listened to the audio book which is narrated by the author and easily adds another star to my rating.
Lenny Kravitz, if you have been living under a rock, is the son of The Jefferson’s Roxy Roker, a Black woman, and television news producer Sy Kravitz, a Jewish white man. He had a relatively normal life prior to his mother being cast in The Jeffersons when he was in middle school, although Cicely Tyson is one of his god mothers so he was always cooler than you. He had a tough relationship with his father, a former Green Beret, but his relationship with his mother was always a safe place for him. He was also incredibly close with his maternal grandparents who he lived with during the school year when he was still in New York. Once Roxy’s television career took off he relocated to California and spent the rest of his formative years growing up on a sound stage.
“My life is all about opposites. Black and white. Jewish and Christian. The Jackson 5 and Led Zeppelin. I accepted my Gemini soul. I owned it. I adored it. Yins and yangs mingled in various parts of my heart and mind, giving me balance and fueling my curiosity and comfort.”
I was pretty surprised by a few revelations throughout Let Love Rule like how he was essentially homeless when he was in high school because his relationship with his father, never supportive of his musical aspirations, had deteriorated. He didn’t get much money or help from his mother and I would say it is safe that his career is not really the result of nepotism (or at least not how he writes it) and he actually distanced himself from his birth name in his early attempts to break into the music industry by calling himself Romeo Blue (*cringe*). He does creepily mention, more than once, that Lisa Bonet was always his dream girl and in a way he manifested a way to get close to her which eventually lead to their relationship, marriage and daughter. I also had no idea he was not famous when they met? Like Zoe Kravitz was already born before his first album came out which did not align with the timeline I had assumed based on the fact that completely unknown musicians tend not to get to marry sitcom royalty.