Q&A: Tyrese Talks New Book, Steve Harvey and Will Smith

The singer and actor reveals all in his book debut. 

Posted: 04/11/2011 12:55 PM EDT

Last week Tyrese Gibson added author to his résumé with the release of How to Get Out of Your Own Way, a book that shares personal life lessons and his own story of triumph. From a book signing in Tribeca to a live radio show in Harlem, BET.com tagged along to hear more from this Baby Boy who is all grown up.

Did you find it difficult to disclose your painful childhood memories and struggles?
Yes. I am a very private person that lives a very public life. It was important for me to humanize the book, because I didn’t want to be perceived as this “perfect man” on a podium or come off as this “therapist” throwing out lobs of advice without telling people the type of stuff I’ve been through. I had to become very vulnerable and go into great detail about my past and my struggles. In doing this I was able to anchor the book in truth and take people on my personal journey of how I specifically decided to get out of my own way.

What are your words of encouragement for people who want to make their dreams a reality?
One of my favorite quotes is “God has a blessing with your name on it waiting for you on the other side of fear.” Most people have great ideas, but they start dreaming within what they can afford. You have to dream beyond your bank account without fear. Don’t rob the world of your visions. How many times have you seen something on television and said to yourself, “I thought of something just like that three years ago!”? You didn’t move on it, so the idea left you and went to someone else; they moved on it and now they are worth millions!

You shared a story about Will Smith running to his treadmill after seeing your overly expanded waistband in the movie Waist Deep. We don’t often hear men speak of weight issues and food addiction. Is this an ongoing battle for you?
I definitely have my moments. In my opinion there is no difference between food and crack cocaine. I believe food is one of the biggest addictions out here. If you wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning and you drive to McDonald’s and find yourself thinking, “Man, it’s too late for me to be eating this. I shouldn’t do it!” you've had a moment of clarity to consider canceling the order, but then they hand you the food and you give into the addiction. There is no difference between that and someone waking up at 3 o’clock in the morning with an urge to light up a crack pipe, because before they put the pipe up to their mouth, they are thinking, ”Man, my teeth are falling out. This is not right!” but they still light it.

A sizeable part of your book talks about romantic relationships. Do you plan on giving Steve Harvey a run for his money?
No, I love Steve. I think he and I could do it together. I don’t compete, I win. I would rather join forces with prominent, influential people versus going out there and competing with them. I am doing a book with Rev. Run called Manology dissecting the thoughts of man. It’s going to be a revealing, uncomfortable truth coming from a married man’s perspective as well as a single man’s perspective. We hope to paint a clearer picture of who we are, where we are, and what the next phase of man is from our humble opinions.

Why should BET.com readers pick up a copy of How to Get Out of Your Own Way?
Because I did it for them. We are knee-deep amongst a lost generation! And it’s not just teenagers running wild, selling drugs and shooting people. There are a lot of messed-up adults passing down that “dysfunctional gene” to their kids. I dug into the chest cavity of my soul and put my heart into this book. I am concerned with what people don’t know. For those people who say, “If you want to keep something from Black people, put it in a book,” I’m offended by that! Dysfunction, self-defeat, doubt, I have a problem with you too! I’m going to take you out one person at a time. Dysfunction is going to be mad as hell! [Laughs]

How to Get Out of Your Own Way is in stores now. 

 

(Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

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