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“I cried on my 18th birthday. I thought I was a failure because I didn’t have a record deal yet,” Mariah Carey writes in her memoir, “The Meaning of Mariah Carey,” which comes out on Tuesday. Now 50, the singer and songwriter has recorded 15 studio albums, including more No. 1 singles than any other solo artist. Here is what she tells readers in her new book.
She knows what domestic violence looks and sounds like.
“By the time I was a toddler, I had developed the instincts to sense when violence was coming,” Carey writes. “As though I was smelling rain, I could tell when adult screaming had reached a certain pitch and velocity that meant I should take cover.”
She recalls numerous physical altercations, including her brother slamming her mother into a wall with such force, it sounded “like an actual gunshot.” Carey, then 6, called a family friend — “‘My brother really hurt my mother, and I’m home alone. Please come help.’” — who called the police. When they arrived, “One of the cops, looking down at me but speaking to another cop beside him, said, ‘If this kid makes it, it’ll be a miracle.’ And that night, I became less of a kid and more of a miracle.”
She experienced racism and colorism from a young age.
When she was 4, Carey used a brown crayon to color her father, who is Black, for a family portrait. She remembers a trio of teachers “cackling hysterically,” insisting she’d used the wrong shade.
“They had only ever seen one member of my family of five: my mother, who dropped me off at school each day,” Carey writes. “They had
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