Former BET Networks CEO Debra Lee to Release Memoir (Exclusive) – Hollywood Reporter

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In ‘I Am Debra Lee,’ releasing on March 7, 2023, the exec chronicles her life and rise to the top of the entertainment industry.
By Lexy Perez
Associate Editor
Debra Lee, the former CEO of Black Entertainment Television (BET) Networks, is set to tell her story in a memoir.
Lee will release the book, I Am Debra Lee: A Memoir on March 7, 2023. The memoir will be published by Legacy Lit, an imprint dedicated “to giving voice to issues, authors and groups that have been marginalized, underserved and underrepresented.”
Lee said in a statement, “This book is not just a memoir, it’s also a guidebook for anyone with a bold vision who wants to strike out on their own unique path to success. I hope that by sharing my journey, readers understand that a person’s success isn’t just defined by the high and low points of someone’s career, and that authenticity, hard work and a clear vision can yield unexpected results. As I look at all my career has helped build, I’m proud of the legacy it’s left behind and thrilled to share it within these pages.”

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Lee served as the CEO of BET beginning in 2005 before stepping down in 2018. She first joined BET in 1986 as general counsel and was promoted to president and chief operating officer in 1996, before she ascended to chairman and CEO in 2005. During her over 30-year tenure at BET, Lee guided the network into the scripted space with The Game and hit programming including Being Mary Jane, The Real Husbands of Hollywood and In Contempt. Lee is also the founder of Leading Women Defined and the co-founder of Monarch Collective organizations.
Legacy Lit teased that in the book Lee will share “the glitz and glamour of being a high-powered executive in entertainment” while also touching on how moments were “tempered by the invisibility she felt in rooms where she was the only woman or only Black person.”
Described as a “part memoir and part career advice book,” the book chronicles Lee’s upbringing and professional story in which she shares “key insights,” “hard-learned lessons” and her story of “how she came to be the leader of a major enterprise and the ‘first’ in many rooms.”
Legacy Lit writes of the memoir, “There are few people who have achieved the level of success Lee has, and many without nearly the number challenges that face women and Black people in America. Lee doesn’t shy away from provocative topics like motherhood and reproductive choice, the lack of representation and corporate diversification, money and valuing oneself, and encountering racism while on the job. Through her journey topics that many women struggle with in the workplace — Time’s Up, abortion and fertility — are discussed with frankness not often seen from C-suite executives.”

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