A Novel


You only think you want this life . . .


Alex Maxwell is planning her wedding to up-and coming music artist Birdie, ghostwriting video vixen Cleopatra Wright’s memoir, and she’s just been assigned the story of the year by her editor in chief at a major music industry magazine—an article about the glamorous lives of women married to platinum-selling hip-hop artists. Alex has been interviewing celebrities and hangers-on long enough to know all that glitters isn’t gold, so she’s determined to get the real scoop. Still, it’s not going to be easy to get past the wives’ gilded cages. . .


Beth Saddlebrook, wife of aging rapper Z. They have three beautiful boys and a seemingly endless supply of cash. But Beth spends her days trying to keep Z off drugs and fielding calls from women hollering she’s just a “small-town white bitch” and claiming to be carrying Z’s baby. Only one person understands what she’s going through. . .


Kipenzi Hill, multiplatinum-selling R&B artist and Beth’s best friend. Her relationship with rap star and record label president Jake is an open secret in the industry. She knows Jake loves her, but he’d rather break up than publicly acknowledge it. Now she has learned that the newest (and much younger) R&B sensation Bunny has been signed to Jake’s label.


Josephine Bennett, wife to Jamaican singer and überproducer Ras Bennett. Josephine doesn’t just want to spend her husband’s money, she wants to contribute. Her fashion company is finally starting to get media attention when her husband admits to something she’s suspected all along—he’s fallen in love with another woman.


Cleopatra Wright, every man’s dream girl, a video vixen with a story to tell and scores to settle. Cleo’s got that thing no one can put a finger on and no man (or woman) can resist. Some would call her evil or misguided or both, but Cleo always moves with a purpose and she’ll stop at nothing to get what she wants. . .


Alex realizes she may have more in common with these women than she’d like. What if this is a glimpse of how her life will be if Birdie finally gets signed to a major label? Stuck between her loyalty to this newfound sisterhood and her obligation to write the truth, Alex is forced to rethink everything she knows about work, friendship, and love.

  • Touchstone | 
  • 320 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439165003 | 
  • July 2010
List Price $9.99 (price may vary by retailer)


Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Platinum includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Aliya S. King. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Journalist Alex Sampson Maxwell has received a plum assignment, writing a feature on the real lives of hip-hop wives for Vibe magazine. The problem is, she is also ghostwriting the tell-all memoir of Cleo Wright, a video vixen known for sleeping with their husbands. As Alex delves into their world, she uncovers the not-so-glamorous realities of these dutiful women. There’s Beth, pregnant while trying to keep her rapper husband Z off drugs and fielding calls from his many mistresses as his career tanks; Kipenzi, Beth’s best friend who is set on retiring after an illustrious but exhausting singing career to settle down with Jake, a multi-platinum artist; and Josephine, desperate to have a baby despite her hip-hop husband Ras’ cheating. Alex, secretly engaged to up-and-coming artist Birdie, wonders if she will suffer a similar fate in a money-fueled world of public scandal and private shame.

Questions for Discussion

1. What is the common reason the women offer for why they have see more

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About the Author

Aliya S. King
Luis Antonio Thompson

Aliya S. King

Aliya S. King is an award-winning journalist and the author of Platinum.  She is the co-author of Original Gangster and the New York Times bestseller Keep the Faith.  Her work has appeared in Vibe, Giant, Uptown, Essence, King, Ms., Us Weekly, and Teen People, among others.  Please visit her at