Hello there, fellow readers. February is Black History Month and we’ve selected five noteworthy books by amazing Black authors to read, any month of the year.
- Memoirs of a Wildcat – Mary A. Tidlund
I love this book. Mary’s story is about a woman’s search for identity and finding the answer to a genetic mystery. Her quest for a dynamic career led her to become the first Black woman CEO in the energy industry, but when everything she thought she wanted in life came to a hard stop, she had to change it up, and look inside herself for solutions.
Memoirs of a Wildcat is all about trusting your own strength, pushing past internalized stereotypes, and making your way in the world, especially when it means living audaciously to get what you want.
2. Will – Will Smith
Oh, this book. Will is one of the biggest forces in entertainment and he is brave enough to share fully about his life, in a bold and inspiring book that examines how outer success, inner happiness, and human connection are aligned. Will’s vulnerability is moving, as he recalls his wild experiences through the world of music and film.
Will’s transformation from a scared kid in a tense West Philadelphia home to one of the biggest rappers of his time and then one of the most notable movie stars in Hollywood, is a fascinating tale. And just when you think it can’t get any better, Will writes beautifully about the rest of it – the pain and complexities of stardom. A must-read!
3. The Year of Yes – Shonda Rimes
Shonda is the creator and producer of some of the most audacious (and my favourite) shows on television, including Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder. Turns out, Shonda is extremely introverted despite her tendency to write bold and outspoken characters. After saying “No” to most things as a busy mom with a big career, she decided to embrace a challenge: for one year, she would say YES to everything that scared her.
This powerful, intimate, and funny memoir explores Shonda’s life before her Year of Yes—from her nerdy, book-loving childhood to her devotion to creating iconic television. The book also chronicles her life after her Year of Yes had begun—when she forces herself out of her comfort zone; when she learns to “explore, empower, applaud, and love her truest self.” I think you should say “Yes” to this one, friends!
4. The Skin We’re In – Desmond Cole
In The Skin We’re In, journalist and activist Desmond Cole examines what it’s like to live in Canada as a Black person. This book dives into one year, 2017, and records Cole’s personal journalism, activism and journey in tandem with stories that made headlines in Canada, including refugees crossing the Canada-U.S. border in the middle of winter and the death of Somali-Canadian Abdirahman Abdi at the hands of the Ottawa police. An important and eye-opening read.
5. Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement – Tarana Burke
Tarana is the actual founder and activist behind one of the most iconic movements of our time – the “Me Too” movement. This book is an insightful memoir about her own experience saying those two words, and how she brough empathy, awareness and acknowledgment back to an entire generation.
Tarana’s childhood sexual assault affected her deeply. “One side was the bright, intellectually curious third generation Bronxite steeped in Black literature and power, and the other was the bad, shame ridden girl who thought of herself as a vile rule breaker, not as a victim.”
Tarana’s struggles resulted in a power which in turn she shared with the entire world. Through these young Black and brown women, Tarana found that we can only offer empathy to others if we first offer it to ourselves.