Can you believe it’s been 21 years since the great Sister Souljah released her best selling book The Coldest Winter Ever? Even though it came out in 1999, it kept its relevance for….over 20 years. The GEN Zs are probably reading it even though they were barely born when the book came out or just babies when it did.
Sister Souljah wrote in the perspective of a spoiled, grimey, ratchet, hoodrich teenager who had her priorities ALL OUT OF ORDER–Winter Santiaga. She got her saddity ways by being the oldest and most spoiled daughter of a big time drug dealer. She was gifted with diamonds since the second she was born and every birthday until—shit hit the fan like it normally does. Her house was raided by the feds, her sisters had to go into foster care, her aunt sold her out to the Bureau of Child Welfare because she didn’t want to deal with her.
Winter’s goal is to get money so she can pay for a lawyer to help her dad AND to maintain her appearance because that’s all she cares about. But mainly she is a hustler and will cross anyone just to get ahead. Fast forward—-Winter has to stay in foster care and has to learn that she is no different than anyone else and she needs to humble herself. Of course, that didn’t adjust her attitude. Her close friends became her enemies because she only looks out for herself and she’s selfish. She stole from people who took her in and provided a roof over her head. She pretty much said forget her sisters who were in childcare and only focused on herself. She did get the chance to see her father before it would be a few years for her to see him again.
Winter starts dealing with an old boo thang who is a big timer and has money in his pockets. He was part of a crew who was an enemy to her dad’s crew at the time he got incarcerated. Per usual, Winter didn’t really care after a while because her father could no longer provide for her, her mother got addicted to drugs and her new man could provide for her–at a minimum. Once she thought everything was all good, it wasn’t. Winter’s boo had her on restrictions because he really couldn’t 100% trust her, (which makes sense). Once she started trusting him, things went array.
It took for Winter to get locked up in order for her to be humble. Per usual, she had a good hustle going on and the same friends she turned on are the same ones who were in prison with her, holding her down and she doing the same for them.
To me, this book is relevant after 21 years due to the fact that it addresses karma, real life situations, hustle and loyalty (or lack thereof):
Karma–> Winter stole from Sister Souljah and her house; her karma was leaving there broke because she tried to steal again. She also was disloyal to her best friend, who was boosting clothes for her. Once she got locked up, Winter didn’t want to help her nor bail her out.
Real-Life Situations–> Being in foster care, father is sent to prison, mother on drugs, having to start from nothing and hustle to the top, plus a slew of other things
Hustle–> Winter had kept some of her clothes when the feds invaded her home. Once she was placed in foster, the kids there would get a weekly allowance plus whatever money they had from their part-time jobs. Winter would sell her styling services and let the girls there borrow her clothes.
Loyalty–>She had loyalty to her family. She was defending her mother when she knew she was on drugs. She was hustling to pay the lawyer for her father. That loyalty then turned to disloyalty when Winter started having a relationship with her father’s enemies. She also finds out that her father cheated on her mother and had an outside child, that’s when she lost all respect for him. She still kept him in her heart but she couldn’t deal with his infidelity so she decided to start screwing the enemy. Karma had a way of making it’s way back to Winter when the same guy left her hanging as she was getting jumped and had his drugs on her. He was also selling drugs to her mother. When Winter found out, she was disgusted—by her mom; she never address him nor her mother about it.
In conclusion, any pre-teen or teenager or grown ass woman can read this at point in life. It’s a timeless boo. Yes, it was based in the 90’s but the message still remains the same:
Be careful what you do because karma always catches up to you.