Sistah Girls, I have been in my non-fiction bag this year and I am here to tell you that the gems being dropped by these Black women authors are nothing short of amazing.
From business to Black Joy, these authors have written works that will stand the test of time. I have been in a season where I am looking for answers in business, or trying to figure out how to navigate friendships as an adult. And while it can be frustrating I know a Black woman has written a book on whatever I’m going through.
“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.” ― James Baldwin, interview, 1963.
I am the person who truly believes there is a book out there for all the questions we have–and a Black woman has already authored it. And because I believe this, I’ve put together a list of non-fiction books that every Black woman should read.
Black Joy: Stories of Resistance, Resilience, and Restoration by Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts
I wish I had come across Black Joy in 2020; it wasn’t published until 2022–but I needed it back then.
The world literally felt like it would never get back to “normal,” everything was going wrong and the burden of despair didn’t want to leave us. In 2020, Black people were fighting COVID-19 and a system that was designed to take us out at the same damn time.
It wasn’t until I read Black Joy that I understood that my laughter was resistance, the way I would get excited when I found a new book to read or the absolute joy I experienced when my mother and sisters had marathon movie nights because nobody had anything else to do during the lockdown. We’d laugh and simply enjoy being surrounded by each other.
Historically, Black people have always used joy to fight against the tortures that were brought to us. And this book is a reminder that our joy is another tool we can use to resist.
I Am Debra Lee: A Memoir by Debra Lee
Ms. Debra Lee is that girl, for over 30 years she worked for BET networks and she changed the game with her leadership skills and boss moves. Lee gave us Being Mary Jane, BET Honors, Black Girls Rock, brought back The Game, and has done countless other things that we will never know about.
You’d think working at BET her memoir would be filled with stories about celebrities (we get some tea) but it’s not. It’s a business book from a Black woman who not only survived but thrived while working her way up the ladder of a new cable company to eventually take over as the CEO.
Lee dropped so many gems that by the end of the book you will be quoting her like she’s a rapper.
Sisterhood Heals: The Transformative Power of Healing in Community by Dr. Joy Harden Bradford
Sistah Girls, if you have a friend group or you’re trying to find a new set of friends or become a better friend–this book is for you.
When I think of sisterhood so many things come to mind, I think about the women in my family and my friends. I think about seeing my mother and aunties talk about life, I grew up truly believing that all my friends would live in the same apartment and we’d live life like an episode of Living Single.
But the truth is friendships are not like 30-minute episodes of a written sitcom and not all friendships last forever. Sisterhood Heals, helps us navigate and question what it means to be a friend and how you can interact with Black women who are in your community.
Rest Is Resistance: A Manifesto by Tricia Hersey
Sistah Girls, we all need to rest–full stop.
For so long I don’t think Black women even deserved rest much less understood the importance of making rest and relaxation part of our self-care. We live under oppressive systems and Tricia Hersey reminds us that there are ways to take back our rest.
How many times have we overworked ourselves into exhaustion only to get up and do it all over again? Hersey gives us the language to call out what we have all experienced. But she also gives us the tools we need to move forward to build a more healthy and sustainable life.
Ride or Die: A Feminist Manifesto for the Well-Being of Black Women by Shanita Hubbard
Sistah Girls, if you don’t read any other book on this list, I implore you to read this one. Shanita Hubbard literally ripped all of my edges out and handed them back to me one by one.
Using Hip-Hop as the backdrop, Hubbard shows Black women around the globe that being the “Ride or Die Chick” will not save us, in fact, it’s killing us. From the church to the boardroom, Black women have always had to hold it down.
Hubbard examines how the “Ride or Die” trope shows up everywhere. Hubbard candidly uses her life as an example and provides the tools for how we can begin to heal and reimagine what our lives could be if we took off the cape.
Sistah Girls, this list is short but I promise you every book on this list is worth the read. So if you have read any of these books (read them all) let me know in the comments.
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