Tiffany Haddish is having a year for the books. After her breakout role in the hilarious comedy, “Girls Trip,” and her historic hosting gig on “Saturday Night Live,” it’s safe to say the self-proclaimed black unicorn has reached the top only after years of trial and tribulation. But, the comedian says, through it all, she’s “just super grateful.”
Earlier this week, Haddish spoke with PEOPLE magazine to discuss the best year of her life and her new memoir, ‘The Last Black Unicorn,’ where she talks about growing up in foster care, child abuse, and her marriage. She explains how she followed her dreams and made it big, despite the roadblocks she faced along the way.
“I was told every day I’d never be nothing,” she said. “Now I look in the mirror and say, ‘Tiffany Haddish, I love and approve of you.’ It was all worth it.”
In her early years, her mother, who raised her alongside her grandmother in South Central L.A., got into a car accident that changed her life forever. The accident occurred when Haddish was eight-years-old and left her mother with severe brain damage that led to schizophrenia.
“After the accident, oh my God, she would say the worst things to me, like ‘You look like your ugly ass daddy, I hate him. I hate you,’” Haddish wrote in her book. “She couldn’t get all her words out, so she’d just punch me. Just full on. Because of her, I can take a punch like nobody’s business. Teachers would ask, ‘Why’s Tiffany’s lip busted?’ I didn’t say anything. As bad as she was to me, I still couldn’t help but love her.”
Five years later, Haddish’s mother was taken to a mental facility and she and her four brothers and sisters were sent into foster care. That is where Haddish used her comedy as a defense mechanism. Although she was still bullied, which started with her mother’s sickness, continued in foster care and through her first marriage, Haddish persevered until she made it. And now, she wants to use her success to help her mother better herself, in spite of.
“My mom is still alive, in a mental institution,” she wrote. “My goal is to get enough money to buy a duplex. I want to put her in one of the units and hire a full-time nurse to take care of her. Then I want to get her whatever medications she needs so she can be my mama again. Honestly, that’s what I want in life.”