STOCKTON (CBS13) — Surviving the streets of Stockton and turning struggle into success — that was the message Tuesday night when a media mogul turned author returned to his home town.
Jason Lee is known for Love and Hip Hop and Hollywood Unlocked. On Tuesday, he kicked off his book tour for his memoir “God Must Have Forgotten About Me” to hundreds of students. Lee sat down with students at Delta College to tell his story.
“I wrote this book to tell my story but with the hopes that it would inspire other people to find a way to create their own path to healing,” said Lee.
In the book, he details growing up in the streets of Stockton with a drug-addicted mother and an absent father. After entering the foster system, Lee said he experienced molestation, abuse, and trauma including his brother’s murder.
“I found myself in so many rough situations throughout my life. That the question I used to always say was ‘alright God…where you at?”
Instead of looking for someone to blame, Lee looked inward and found the power to persevere.
“I have to stop waiting or depending on other people, and I have to figure this out on my own. That really gave me the drive and determination to be where I am right now,” he said.
Lee shared his story with students including Tashianna Jones, whom he gave a copy of the book.
“I would describe it as emotion-provoking and very raw,” said Jones.
Jones is a senior at Edison High School who is interested in a career in media. She has lived through addiction in her family and found hope in Lee’s story.
“I feel like it’s him basically telling them they’re not alone. He started from the bottom and worked his way up. He basically hustled to get where he is,” she said.
That message that hard work pays off was reinforced by actress and comedian Tiffany Haddish and rapper Cardi B. Both made a surprise appearance via FaceTime, offering to pay for copies of the books for all students in attendance. Haddish treated students at the event to a showing of her new movie.
As Lee looked out in the crowd, he said he sees himself in the students and sees the power of potential.
“All people need is that one light. And hopefully, tonight is that light,” he said.