Ziwerekoru “Ziwe” Fumudoh is much more than an overnight success. In the years that preceded her wildly popular variety series, she wrote for shows such as The Rundown with Robin Thede and Desus & Mero, along with establishing herself as a force in the media space. Now, she’s adding author to her resume with a new book A Black Friend: Essays, which grapples with the understanding of identity.
“I think it was just the divine alignment of timing,” Ziwe says of the book’s release date. “I had been working on the book since 2020 and it just so happened that this was the year that I kind of tied it up with a bow.”
In A Black Friend, the Northwestern graduate examines themes such as gender expectations, code-switching, affirmative action, coupon cutting, race-baiting, wikiFeet, and more. “Honestly, I think a majority of the essays that I write about have to do with my relationship to friendship or my favorite pop-cultural figures relationship to friendship,” Ziwe says.
In addition to the release of the book on October 17, Ziwe is also embarking on a live tour, further showcasing her talents as both a visionary, as well as an entertainer. Fumudoh began her comedy career doing sets in basements throughout Brooklyn. For her upcoming tour, she says that it will be a “mix of standup, music, interviews, and a whole hodgepodge of entertainment,” when she hits the road later this month.
Much of A Black Friend was crafted during the success of Ziwe’s self-titled program on Showtime, which she also wrote and produced. Known for its colorful sets, musical numbers, and highly accessorized costumes, it catapulted the comedian into the public spotlight, and showcased the genius of Fumudoh on a large scale. Much to the displeasure of audiences nationwide, the show was canceled earlier this year after two seasons.
Since transitioning from her show in April, Ziwe explained how important it is to maintain a level of creativity in all your endeavors. “Every day can be a time of expression if you are an artist and you decide to live theatrically,” she tells ESSENCE.
When asked what she plans to tackle next on her journey in the entertainment industry, Ziwe responds by saying: “I will not stop until I am the president of the world.”
“I am following every impulse that excites me,” she continues. “So whether that’s another book, more interviews or a podcast, who knows what the future holds. But I like to keep myself guessing, so hopefully I’ll keep you guys guessing too.”
Ziwe’s new book A Black Friend: Essays is available for purchase now.