Review of Born for This: My Story in Music, by BeBe Winans

Born for This: My Story in Music is the memoir of Benjamin, “BeBe”, Winans. Born into the large Winans family of Winans Family Singers fame, BeBe was the youngest son of ten children. BeBe watched his older brothers work diligently under the tutelage of their father David, or “Skippy”, first in the church choir and then as they formed their own Gospel group.  

Skippy was strict but loving. They had to give their best for God, but there was to be no boastful pride should they succeed. BeBe longed to join his older brothers on the stage, to make singing his career too.  He worked hard and begged God and his parents for his chance, but was told he wasn’t ready yet.

Finally BeBe and his younger sister CeCe were allowed to travel from Detroit to North Carolina to audition for Jim and Tammy Bakker’s televised PTL program. To BeBe’s dismay his sister made the cut, but he didn’t. Since CeCe was still shy of 16 years old, BeBe offered to go to North Carolina to live with her so she could follow her dream.

The book’s title, Born for This, comes from a song BeBe wrote out of his disappointment. It is an affirming lyric proclaiming that God gave him the talent and would indeed use him as a singer.

BeBe was eventually hired by PTL to sing with CeCe, but he continued to work through the dissonance of desiring to be a star while staying humble. BeBe and CeCe matured in their professional lives while at PTL, also learning how to navigate in the sometimes tricky non-African American world outside of Detroit.

BeBe has an engaging story that I’m sure would be of interest to many, but his book is presented as a rambling, scattered tale that would make it easy to not finish. With some better editing this could become a first-rate memoir.