Book Review: “Walk Through Fire: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Triumph” by Sheila Johnson

Reading through the first few pages of Sheila Johnson’s memoir, Walk Through Fire: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Triumph (Simon and Schuster), I was instantly hooked. Many of us recognize Sheila Johnson as America’s first Black female billionaire, the brilliant woman who made history as a co-founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET). However, Johnson’s story is rich with layers that go far beyond her groundbreaking achievements in the television industry. She is also an accomplished violinist, actress, teacher, film producer, and photographer, among other talents.

Spanning 243 pages, Johnson’s memoir dives deep into her life, beginning with her childhood when she first learned to play the violin. It follows her through her college years, her meeting and subsequent marriage to Bob Johnson, and the turmoil that accompanied their 33-year-long relationship. Johnson doesn’t hold back; her memoir is a candid, tell-all account featuring a number of recognizable names whose revelations are sure to leave readers in shock.

Johnson writes with style and grace, demonstrating how a messy life can transform into a powerful message. She portrays herself as a woman who has persevered through significant hardship and adversity. For instance, at just sixteen years old, her father left her mother for another woman, which devastated her mother and shattered Sheila’s self confidence.

Despite the many challenges she faced, Sheila Johnson rose to remarkable heights. Today, she is the CEO and founder of Salamander Collection. Her memoir details how she found love again, became the first woman to own stakes in three professional sports franchises, and continues to expand her influence in both the philanthropic and entrepreneurship.

Walk Through Fire is a testament to the power of resilience and the importance of personal growth. Johnson’s story inspires readers to understand that through adversity, one can make profound changes not only in their own life but also in the world around them.

By: Gwen Pierce

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