i went back and forth on whether to write something about black history during black history month. not because it’s not important, but because the idea that we should only honor black history and black stories during one singular month [and the shortest month at that] is ridiculous.
in the end i decided this could be a great opportunity to share how i honor black voices year round, in the hopes that you might find something new for yourself.
read black authors.
you always know my first suggestion is going to be books. i have so many still to read, but below are some of my favorite books – both fiction and nonfiction – by black authors.
- wow, no thank you by samantha irby
- the vanishing half by brit bennett
- march, books 1-3 by john lewis
- roll of thunder, hear my cry by mildred d. taylor
- becoming by michelle obama
- i know why the caged bird sings by maya angelou
- just mercy by bryan stevenson
- biased by jennifer eberhardt
- an american marriage by tayari jones
- born a crime by trevor noah
- stamped by jason reynolds and ibram x. kendi
- the girl with the louding voice by abi dare
- stay with me by ayobami adebayo
- another brooklyn by jacqueline woodson
- i’m still here by austin channing brown
- heart talk by cleo wade
- the hate u give by angie thomas
- the death of vivek oji by akwaeke emezi
- get a life, chloe brown by talia hibbert
- royal holiday by jasmine guillory
and these are some that i am excited to read this year:
- you exist too much by zaina arafat
- hood feminism by mikki kendall
- so you want to talk about race by ijeoma oluo
- girl, woman, other by bernardine evaristo
- uncomfortable conversations with a black man by emmanuel acho
- caste by isabel wilkerson
- between the world and me by ta-nehisi coates
- the mothers by brit bennett
buy from black-owned businesses.
some of my favorite black-owned business include:
- harlem candle company [new york, ny]
- chef tam’s underground café [memphis, tn]
- oh happy dani [atlanta, ga]
- the four way [memphis, tn]
- ten thirty candle co [cordova, tn] <– also these are made by one of my students which makes me so happy
- alcenia’s [memphis, tn]
- slim & husky’s [multiple locations, including memphis]
- jungalow [los angeles, ca]
donate to black-led organizations.
i like to put my money where my mouth is and encourage you to do the same. i make recurring donations to the cltv, the conscious kid, and black lives matter and make regular donations to other organizations throughout the year. you can find a whole list of black-led organizations on the give blck database.
follow – and pay – black creators.
too many people expect black people to create educational content but don’t want to pay them for their work. liking and sharing their posts is helpful, but what is ultimately the most helpful is providing financial support if you are able to do so. many creators have patreons set up so that you can support them on a monthly basis, while others have shops with items for purchase. some of my favorites include:
- nicole cardoza of anti-racism daily
- rachel cargle
- baratunde thurston
- oneika raymond
- marisa renee lee
- christina lewis
- nikole hannah-jones, creator of the 1619 project
- code switch
- it’s been a minute
consume media made by black people.
remember the controversy surrounding #oscarssowhite? that wasn’t that long ago. black people are historically underrepresented when it comes to running things and being recognized in hollywood [those golden globe nominations that just released are looking pretty white as well]. that culture is slowly changing, but space will only be made for black directors, producers, writers, and showrunners if we support those who have begun that shift. some of my favorites include:
- insecure on hbomax
- when they see us on netflix
- black panther on disney+
- living single on hulu
- one night in miami on prime
- uncomfortable conversations with a black man
- just mercy — available for purchase on online streaming platforms
and here are a few of the ones i plan on watching this month and throughout the year:
- the 13th on netflix
- soul on disney+
- sylvie’s love on prime
- girlfriends on netflix
this is by no means an all-encompassing list. i am constantly adding to the people i follow and share, because every black voice is different and has a unique perspective. i hope this serves as a reminder that we have a long way to go in the united states and around the world in how we treat and celebrate black people and that it should happen all year long and not be designated to a single month.
note: the book links are bookshop affiliate links, meaning if you purchase anything through that link i earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. i don’t do this to make money but if you make a purchase you will also be supporting independent booksellers, which does mean a lot to me. even better: find a black-owned bookshop in your city and go purchase the books from them.