Start Black History Month Right with Books Written by These Authors

By Olivia Johnson | February 7, 2022

As the renowned poet, author, and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou once said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” From memoirs to thrillers to mixology and Black girl magic, these seven authors use their passions to tell their stories from a Black perspective. To kick off Black History Month, here’s a list of books worth adding to your collection.

See more: Author Tamika Hall Talks the Meaning of ‘Black Mixcellence’

My Life in the Sunshine by Nabil Ayers

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My Life in the Sunshine is a memoir about Nabil Ayers' music-filled journey to connect with his estranged father. Ayers only met his father a handful of times as a child. Yet, he always felt the lingering influence of his father’s musical legacy on his life. On his way to getting to know his father, Ayers discovers the existence of several half-siblings as well as a paternal ancestor. This journey led Ayers to meaningful discoveries that allowed him to find the family he never knew as well as himself.

Black Mixcellence: A Comprehensive Guide to Black Mixology by Tamika Hall and Colin Asare-Appiah

Black Mixcellence: A Comprehensive Guide to Black Mixology chronicles the history of Black and brown mixologists in the spirits and mixology industries. Along with international drink recipes, this book also includes personal stories and anecdotes from some of the industry's most notable. Who doesn't want to know the history of their favorite alcoholic drink while learning how to make one?

Black Girls Must Be Magic by Jayne Allen

In this second installment of the acclaimed Black Girls Must Die Exhausted series, the character Tabitha Walker tackles life’s challenges and a few surprises. With an ex-boyfriend creeping in the shadows and challenging situations at work threatening her livelihood, Tabitha has to make some hard choices. But, with the future looking uncertain, can she find her way?

My America: Recipes from a Young Black Chef by Kwame Onwuachi

The cookbook and memoir by Kwame Onwuachi, My America: Recipes from a Young Black Chef, features more than 125 recipes. From Trinidadian curry to jambalaya and Red Velvet cake, Onwuachi seeks to spread the enriched culture of African cuisine one recipe at a time. Along with international recipes, Onwuachi includes his personal stories about food and its connection with the culture of the land.

Hey You!: An Empowering Celebration of Growing Up Black by Dapo Adeola

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This storybook by Dapo Adeola, who also illustrated this book, addresses the experiences Black children face growing up with systemic racism and gives messages of hope and empowerment to this generation’s youth. Acknowledging the variety of Black experiences as a youth, Adeola shows us that Black children don’t have to fit in a particular category of Blackness to have the same impactful journeys.

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

In this thriller, Nella Rodgers is the only employee of color at Wagner Books. So, she longs for diversity – that is until she meets Hazel, a new employee at Wagner. Excited to befriend Hazel and share coveted Black girl secrets, Rodgers suddenly starts to get notes saying: “LEAVE WAGNER NOW.” As Nella obsesses over the threatening messages, she quickly realizes that things aren't always what they seem.

Shine Bright: A Very Personal History of Black Women In Pop by Danyel Smith

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In this novel from former VIBE Editor-in-Chief Danyel Smith, she takes readers through a deep dive into the history of Black women in pop music. The book explores how Black women have impacted today’s pop sound. Throughout the book, Smith gives her personal accounts of the oppression Black women have faced in the music industry.

Photography by: Oladimeji Ajegbile/Unsplash