"What are you?"
This is the question that Sunny Hostin, Emmy Award-winning journalist and co-host of ABC’s The View, has been asked her whole life.
On Tuesday, the mother of two revealed that she's written a memoir, I Am These Truths: A Memoir of Identity, Justice, and Living Between Worlds, in which she traces her journey from growing up Afro-Latina in the South Bronx to becoming an assistant U.S. attorney and influential journalist. Constantly battling racism and sexism, Hostin says her struggles have given her even more reason to fight for justice — and bring a national spotlight to some of the most important news stories of our time.
I Am These Truths will be published by HarperCollins on Sept. 22.
"In her signature no-holds-barred, straight-up style, Sunny opens up and shares her intimate struggles with fertility and personal turmoil, and reflects on the high-stakes cases and stories she worked on as a prosecutor and during her time at CNN, Fox News, ABC and The View," according to the publisher. "Timely, poignant, and moving, I Am These Truths is the story of a woman living between two worlds, and learning to bridge them together to fight for what’s right."
Raised by teenage parents, Hostin, 51, has opened up in the past about her difficult childhood. In November 2019, Hostin appeared on Tamron Hall's syndicated daytime talk show and explained how she was forever changed after she witnessed her uncle's stabbing as a child.
"It’s something I don’t talk about a lot, but I thought it was time for me to start talking about it," Hostin told Hall. "When I was about 7, I saw my uncle stabbed in front of me. [He was] my father’s only brother and I adored him. He was the fun uncle."
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"Just the two of us were there," she continued. "He was dating someone who turned out to be married, and her husband came in and attacked him. I remember as a child just trying to stop the bleeding, just being so traumatized, thinking, ‘Please Uncle Ed, don’t die, don’t die, don’t die.’ And we never talked about it as a family, ever."
While her uncle survived that initial attack, he died a few years later due to complications from the stabbing. The assailant was never punished.
"One thing about my uncle that I never quite got over — no one was prosecuted," Hostin said on Tamron Hall. "The police were not really interested, and I remember being in law school thinking, 'I want to be a prosecutor. I don’t want to be a defense attorney. I want to get the guy that did that to my uncle.' And as a journalist, I wanted to give voice to the voiceless. I wanted to tell those stories."
"I recently said to my dad, 'What happened to Uncle Ed is why I do what I do,'" she added. "And he said, 'You remember that?' They really thought that by moving me from the Bronx, putting me in a different school, not talking about it, that it wouldn’t have an impact. And that’s why I think as families, we have to talk about it."
In her memoir, Hostin explains how she escaped poverty by working hard in school. She ended up earning scholarships to attend college and law school, before becoming a federal prosecutor. Hostin then segued into journalism. She appeared on CNN as a legal analyst and host, as well as other outlets like ABC, before becoming a co-host of The View in 2016. Beyond candid personal stories, Hostin also writes about some of her biggest cases as a prosecutor and stories as a journalist.
Her uncle's death is also part of the reason she hosted and executive produced a six-episode documentary series, Truth About Murder with Sunny Hostin, on Investigation Discovery. In the show, Hostin revisited some of the most puzzling unsolved homicides in the U.S.
"I have made it my mission to talk about things," she told PEOPLE in October 2019. "When you go through trauma, it’s important to talk about it. And that’s what I’m doing."
I Am These Truths hits bookshelves on Sept. 22.