Sunny Hostin Is Sharing Her View in a New Memoir 'I Am These Truths'

CUL_Parting Shot_ Sunny Hostin
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"We need to prove to those people that had to drink at a separate water fountain that their lives do matter just as much."

If there's one thing Sunny Hostin is good at, it's sharing her view. "I've got a seat at the table at The View, the most important political show on TV. I can be a champion for people that don't have a voice." Now she's sharing her unique perspective in her new memoir I Am These Truths (HarperOne, September 22). "I'm a person of color, a person with challenges; there's no roadmap in the book, but it does at least give you a sense that if I can make it, I believe anyone can."

It was important to Hostin to publish the book in English and Spanish, an idea first suggested to her by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. "She told me about how she makes sure her books are accessible to Spanish speakers and to have them available in Puerto Rico in particular." Hostin says growing up she "didn't have anyone that looked like me doing what I'm doing" and hopes that maybe her book will find its way into English as a second language classes. "Imagine being in a class and you don't speak the language and you have the opportunity to read my story in Spanish. I think it could be powerful. I hope so."

Sunny Hostin Memoir
HarperOne

What inspired you to write I Am These Truths?

A couple of things. At first, I thought, I'm young-ish, I have so much more to do, do I really have a book in me? Is this story important? My book agent is a friend I've known for a long time and he constantly says, "You've got to tell your story. You do have a book in you." I'm a person of color, a person with challenges and there's no roadmap in the book, but it does at least give you a sense of, if I can make it, I really believe anyone can. So that made sense to me because growing up, I really didn't have anyone that looked like me doing what I'm doing. The few times that you see people today that appear to be successful, you think that they just kind of popped up and you don't know their story and what they've gone through and how it's really kind of hard. I wanted to put pen to paper and give people a reason to believe that they could do anything.

Was it difficult to write such a personal book?

The most difficult chapter was motherhood. I just finished the audiobook, and often we'd need to take a breather. The director was crying and I was, too.

Why was it important to you to do the book in English and Spanish?

The first person that mentioned it to me was Justice Sonia Sotomayor. She said, "You have to write your story. It's such an incredible story. And it must also be in Spanish." She told me about how she makes sure her books are accessible to Spanish speakers and how it's so very important to have them available in Puerto Rico in particular. My mom's from Puerto Rico and the Justice is, of course, Puerto Rican. She just implored me to do it. The reason that I went with HarperOne is that because from the beginning they said they'd like to publish this in Spanish. I was amazed that they brought it up even before I did, even though that was a prerequisite for me. My mom was an ESL [English as a second language] teacher for many years. Imagine being in a class and you don't speak the language and you have the opportunity to read my book, my story in Spanish. I think it could be powerful. I'm hoping it will be.

Whenever The View isn't on the air, do people come to you frantically being like, "I NEED MY VIEW!"

They do! I think because we handle current events and our show is so topical day to day. Each of us has such a different point of view that we sort of mirror that point of view for our viewers; they want to make sure, "am I crazy" or "am I nuts?" I totally get it, I mean, even my own mom sometimes will come over like, "There's a repeat on, are you sick? Are you okay?"

How important do you think The View is during an election year?

I was told once by someone that every single decision about your career and many important facets of your life are made when you're not in the room. What you need to have are champions in the room with a seat at the table. And that champion has to have the political capital and be willing to spend it on you. I never forgot that. And now I realized, wow, I have a seat at the table, right? Literally and figuratively. I've got a seat at the table at The View, the most important political show. On television, I can be a champion for people that don't have a voice and give that perspective.

It's so important during this time because our voices need to be heard. I feel like we're really in danger of losing our democracy. I think when you have secret police under the guise of protecting buildings hurting people and violently stepping on their constitutional rights, when you have police brutality of Black people and you have the president discriminating against trans people, these groups have to have a champion with a megaphone in the room willing to spend that capital on them. And I find, unfortunately, that there are people that feel the same way I do with megaphones, but they will not spend their political capital. You can lose your job in certain places if you're considered an agitator. I'm just willing to do it.

How do you think others in media should approach discussing some of these important topics around the Black Lives Matter movement?

I was just talking to my father about this. He was born in 1949, grew up in the South and married a woman who is not Black in 1968, a year after the Loving v. Virginia decision. He's so concerned that this is a moment and not a movement. I don't agree with him. I think it's a reckoning. I think we need to prove my father wrong. We need to prove to those people that had to drink at a separate water fountain that their lives do matter just as much.

Sunny Hostin Is Sharing Her View in a New Memoir 'I Am These Truths'