Mel B’s story isn’t Scary – it’s terrifying
A celebrity memoir called Brutally Honest? Surely a misnomer: by the time that ghostwriters, PRs, agents and editors have done their work on a famous person’s book, there’s often very little unpolished truth left in there at all. But Melanie Brown – Scary Spice – isn’t like most celebrities. From its opening description of a suicide attempt in 2014, through her raw and unsparing account of the horrifying coercive control she suffered from her former husband, Stephen Belafonte, to her reflections on relationships with the Spice Girls, Brutally Honest lives up to its name.
You can practically hear Melanie Brown’s dirty Leeds laugh when she describes some disappointing one-night stands with ‘famous penises’
IT’S A FACT!
When the Spice Girls visited Nelson Mandela’s house, Mel B made off with a toilet roll. She later told Mandela, making him laugh.
The book is dedicated to ‘all women who have ever been controlled, put down, cheated on, abused, shamed, lied to, used, treated like the eternal underdog and had their spirit and self-esteem completely snatched away’. It ends with a list of 15 signs of domestic abuse, and it’s easy to imagine that women in a similar situation to her will be helped immeasurably by her frankness. But this isn’t a piece of public health advice: it’s Melanie Brown’s story through and through – raucous, confrontational and often funny. You can practically hear her dirty Leeds laugh when she describes some disappointing one-night stands with ‘famous penises’.
A lot of Brutally Honest covers Brown’s romantic life – her sad marriage to Jimmy Gulzar, the whirlwind relationship with Eddie Murphy (whom she still calls the love of her life, despite his public rejection of her). But some of the most interesting parts are about her family and background, and what it means to be black in Britain.
Mel B with the Spece Girls at the height of their fame in the 1990s. Even more than the details of sex tapes and threesomes, it’s the emotional truthfulness of Brutally Honest that stands out
She is ‘still healing’ from the Belafonte relationship, and she’s fearless about revealing how much mess and pain that involves. Even more than the details of sex tapes and threesomes, it’s the emotional truthfulness of Brutally Honest that stands out.