“I Don’t Care if You Like Me, I Like Me” is a daily motivational in the voice of the late Bernie Mac. It’s a humorous but poignant page-a-day prescription for a better life and career.
Who you wit? If you are smart, you will be on board with Bernie “the Mac Man” Mac’s motivational book of the above title. The book is co-authored by Mac and his widow, Rhonda R. McCullough.
Mac was an actor and comedian with his roots in Chicago comedy clubs. He is best known for his role in “The Bernie Mac Show” and as one of the Kings of Comedy. His legacy lives on in his work and in his words. Rhonda R. McCullough is the overseer of the Bernie Mac estate as well as the president and CEO of the Bernie Mac Foundation.
With a foreword by iconic comic Sinbad and an afterword by Lil Rel Howery, the book shares gems for folks to help make themselves better in so many ways.
It’s 365 daily motivations, broken up in four sections for each quarter:
All About You. “Fight your own fight, take responsibility for your life and be the best got-damn version of yourself.”
Everybody Else. “You are part of this big community called ‘the world.’ Stop being selfish and see the big picture.”
Somebody To You. “Specific people come into your life, and you have what we call a relationship with them. Thing about relationships is they take work sometimes. No, I got to keep it real. They take work all the time. You get out what you put in.”
Plentitude. “You can have everything you want. It’s there, and God will give it to you. You just got to make it happen.”
I was able to interview McCullough, and she talked about the impetus for the book. “These are trying times. A lot of people are really struggling with their mental health. People need to feel uplifted, but they also need help: with motivation, with relationships, with their place in the world and how they can make a difference.
“Bernie was called to comedy because he knew that laughter could heal people, so this book carries that on by helping people get through the hard stuff with good solid lessons that make you laugh while you’re receiving them. His advice is raw and it’s real, just like he was, tellin’ it like it t-i-iz.
“People miss him. All over social media you can see his fans commenting that he was a big part of their lives and that they learned so much from him. This book is our way of keeping his legacy alive in a way that’s going to help people, too, like he would’ve wanted. It’s self-help, Mac’d out.”
She explained that Mac, who died in 2008 and whose birth name was Bernard Jeffrey McCullough, offers more than just funny one-liners.
“Bernie was different in his standup than he was in real life, so the book is funny like his comedy, but the advice comes from the man more than the comic. When you watch him in interviews, like when he was on Oprah, you see the real Bernie come out. There was one episode in particular where he said, ‘I never watch what other people do. Bernie Mac’s gotta do his thing.’ Then he said, ‘I don’t care. I don’t care what people think.’” This interview was the inspiration for the title of the book.
Mac isn’t the only great comic noted in the book. Sinbad and Lil Rel Howery deliver accolades for the book. Comic Reggie Reg is the voice behind the audiobook.
McCullough said: “Both Sinbad and Lil Rel Howery love Bernie, so they were both really excited to come on board.”
She added: “[for the audiobook] We wanted that authentic Bernie feel! Reggie Reg is a stellar impressionist, and his impression of Bernie is almost eerie. He’s so close to Bernie’s voice that you may have a hard time telling him apart from the real Bernie Mac.”
Courtney B. Vance, Sherri Shepherd and Kym Whitley are also quoted on the back of the hardcover book.
McCullough also shared details of a memorable moment with Bernie. “One of my most memorable and favorite times with Bernie was before all the fame. We used to go to these parties that his uncle would invite us to, and because we both loved dancing, we would just have an amazing time enjoying the music and dancing our butts off!”
Finally, the Bernie Mac Foundation “is still going strong, still bringing awareness to the community and raising monies for research for a cure for Sarcoidosis.”
Look for “I Don’t Care If You Like Me, I Like Me” on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target and wherever books are sold.
Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., is the Entertainment Editor for the Chicago Crusader. She is a National Newspaper Publishers Association ‘Entertainment Writing’ award winner, contributor to “Rust Belt Chicago” and the author of “Old School Adventures from Englewood: South Side of Chicago.” For info, Old School Adventures from Englewood—South Side of Chicago (lulu.com) or email: [email protected].