Fierce. Fearless. And, of course, FOXY. That’s the invincible Pam Grier. After watching the larger-than-life star on the screen for more than thirty years, her fans will be salivating to read about her life in “FOXY: My Life in Three Acts” (Springboard Press/Grand Central Publishing Hardcover; $24.99, April 28, 2010). The never-say-die actress/singer/icon opens up and lets the world into her life to witness her triumphs, failures, challenges, and loves, which include the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Freddie Prinze, Sr. and Richard Pryor. She also talks in detail about a couple of well-heeled mystery suitors. This saga of one of the world’s most beautiful women—and the overcoming every hurdle that gets in her way will bring tears and cheers as she survives everything, even a bout with cancer.
Grier seems to tell all. She reveals her grief after, not one, but two sexual assaults she endured as a child, and she describes the humiliation black women felt in the sixties when they weren’t allowed to try on a pair of shoes in Colorado department stores because of systemic racism. Looking at the powerful character she played as Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown or the rock solid Kit Porter she became in the “The L Word,” no one would know that she had been victimized.
But Pam Grier would never, ever be caught calling herself a victim. She begins the narrative when she is three weeks old—surviving a car crash with nary a scratch. From the emotionally distressing relationship between her parents to the exhausting and ultimately wasted efforts she makes to bolster her comic genius lovers Prinze and Pryor, she shows that she does not think twice about taking a next step—even if it’s off a cliff or out of an airplane. (Remember: she does her own stunts.) She has no fear. But what is especially appealing and surprising is her honesty. Grier doesn’t hold back, even when she has not been entirely pleased with her own conduct. Case in point: A dying relative asked her to do a favor that was sure to cause great controversy within the family. Grier tried but ultimately refused. She notes that this became a lifelong regret. Yet, not one to deal with self-pity, Grier acknowledges her wrong, admits to feeling guilty, and that’s right—she keeps on stepping.
What made this woman so centered, so balanced? She says it was her mother who did not believe in prejudice and didn’t want her family to grow up hating or fearing anyone. And Pam didn’t and does not. Always aware of discrimination, whether due to race or gender, she calls it out, but she has never let it hinder her. There truly is nobody like this foxy lady.
**Meet Pam Grier during her booksigning and reception for “Foxy: My Life in Three Acts,” at AAMP (African American Art Museum of Philadelphia), 701 Arch Street, Thursday, May 6, at 6:00 PM.