Black History Month 2023 is among us, and coverage is dominated by efforts to erase the significant contributions of Black people in American history and the violence that persists across our communities. In short, we’re finding ourselves yet again overwhelmed by the depiction of the struggles, tragedies and injustices that are too frequently and unfairly made part of the Black experience.
In an effort to transcend those narratives in favor of Black advancement and joy, we’ve curated a special edition of our Sweet Reads series that focuses on books that celebrate our contributions as innovative creators, influential tastemakers, talented storytellers, intrepid adventurers and brilliant thought leaders.
Ready to celebrate BHM by placing a spotlight on Black creative brilliance while supporting the cultural contributions of Black authors? Check out (and buy!) these titles below:
For the Culture—Phenomenal Black Women and Femmes in Food: Interviews, Inspirations, and Recipes — by Klancy Miller (Pre-order now, releases May 2, 2023)
NARRATIVE: Recognizing the profound impact Black women have made in the culinary world.
With a personal ethos of “Black people should take up as much space as possible,” chef and writer Klancy Miller launched For the Culture magazine in 2020 to celebrate “Black women and femmes in food and wine.” The proliferation of stories she discovered, however, made it clear that to more fully capture the voices behind food narratives all over the world, a book deserved to be written, too.
Described as a “must-have anthology of the leading Black women and femmes shaping today’s food and hospitality landscape,” this book not only shares incredible recipes but it also gives the reader intimate, behind-the-scenes stories and hard-earned lessons gathered from women in a variety of culinary spaces.
NARRATIVE: The restoration—and deserved elevation—of the legacy of Blackness in art.
From the blasting of the broad nose off the face of the Egyptian Sphinx to the theft of valuable art from African countries to the cultural and historical censoring of the works of talented Black artists, the presence and historical place of Blackness in art has been systematically erased, concealed and overlooked. Thankfully, author and award-winning poet Zaria Ware boldly made it her mission to rectify that.
The book is described as “an essential work that elevates a globally dismissed legacy to its proper place in the mainstream art canon. From the hushed corridors of royal palaces to the bustling streets of 1920s Paris—this is Black history like never seen before.”
Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold — by Bolu Babalola
NARRATIVE: The repositioning and re-centering of Black women in stories of love, joy, intimacy and relationships.
The unique allure of this anthology of short stories lies in both British-Nigerian author and journalist Bolu Babalola’s culturally creative retelling of mythical love legends combined with the creation of three original tales of her own, all of which create a new perspective of the beauty of Black love.
This exquisitely written Sunday Times bestseller is so much more than a book. At its core, it represents freedom in love for Black women in ways it hasn’t really been presented before.
The Catch Me If You Can: One Woman’s Journey to Every Country in the World — by Jessica Nabongo
NARRATIVE: An expert perspective (and necessary voice) in travel and adventure.
If anyone takes the phrase “go see the world” seriously, it’s Jessica Nabongo. Upon visiting Seychelles on October 6, 2019, she became the first Black woman to visit every one of the 195 United Nations member countries—a feat achieved by less than 300 people. This book staunchly dispels the stereotypical notion that Black people don’t travel.
While The Catch Me If You Can is generally about traveling the world, there are other deep, underlying messages at play: the beauty of connecting with strangers through shared experiences, the power of immersing yourself in other cultures, and encouragement to take bold risks in navigating your own journey.
AphroChic: Celebrating the Legacy of the Black Family Home — by Bryan Mason and Jeanine Hays
NARRATIVE: Deserved reverence for the gorgeous aesthetics and distinct designs that emerge from the Black family home.
Featuring the homes of prominent, well-known, and highly regarded Black Americans, this book is creatively categorized by sections: “Heirloom Homes,” “Creative Homes,” “Boss Homes,” and “Off the Beaten Path.”
In between the pages of gorgeous décor photos, Bryan and Jeanine strategically rectify the “omission of the Black family home” by focusing the discourse around the historical and contemporary cultural contributions to interior design, as well as acknowledging the role that Black home ownership plays.