12 Books To Read During Black History Month

Despite Stacey Dash’s nonsensical statements, Black History Month (BHM) is in fact still happening this year and what better way to celebrate than with some reading. Check out this list of books, both fiction and nonfiction, to help you feel empowered, make you laugh, and get motivated to change the world.

1. How to Be Black by Baratunde Thurston

Source: Harper

Start your BHM right by learning “how to be Black”. Thurston’s book of satirical essays that discuss how to be the best Black person you can be will keep you laughing and shaking your head at it’s realness.

2. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

Source: Simon & Schuster

Queen of Shondland, Shonda Rhimes has found success in a medium that has never been that open to women of color. Learn about how for one year Rhimes said yes to every opportunity that came her way and how it changed her life.

3. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Source: Anchor

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah centers around a young Nigerian couple who are separated but come back togethers 15 years later and rediscover their love for each other and their homeland.

4. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Source: Spiegel & Grau

Written as a letter to his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates dives into what it means to be Black in America, both in the present and in America’s history. Looking at his life experiences, Coates takes a hard look at race in America and what could be improved for the future.

5. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Source: Random House

Filled with heart wrenching moments that will make you both angry and sad, Maya Angelou tells the story of her life with honesty and understanding. However, this book isn’t a sad story about what happened to her but instead an uplifting story about how she was set free.

6. The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X

Source: Ballantine Books

From his childhood to his time in jail to his full dive into Islam, Malcolm X fully opens up about his ideals and how the American Dream doesn’t really include Black people. Whether you think his ideas are too extreme or not, they’ll definitely make you think.

7. Monster by Walter Dean Myers

Source: HarperCollins

Written as a screenplay, this novel follows Steve Harmon, a teenage boy in juvenile detention awaiting trial. Winner of multiple awards, this shocking story demonstrates how one decision can completely alter someone’s life.

8. The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae

Source: Atria

In this collection of hilarious essays, Issae Rae, creator of the YouTube hit, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, discusses her experiences as a creator of a YouTube show, dealing with people’s unwanted commentary, and rocking her natural hair.

9. Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan

Source: Signet

Before it became an amazing film, Waiting to Exhale was a bestselling novel. Centered around four black women, each of whom are going through their own relationship trials, this book tells the story of the undeniable bonds that friends share.

10. Beloved by Toni Morrison

Source: Vintage

This classic novel tells the story of Sethe, a woman who escaped slavery 18 years ago but is still running from the ghosts she thought she left behind there. Filled with suspense, this isn’t just a story about slavery but a story about a mother who’s still being haunted.

11. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Source: Mariner Books

A tale about two sisters that are separated for years, The Color Purple is a classic that has since been turned into a movie and musical. Thought provoking, heart breaking, and inspiring this story is worth a read, and even a second if you’ve read it before.

12. Dear White People by Justin Simien

Source: Atria

Answering questions such as, “Am I the token Black friend?” or “Was that a microaggression?” Dear White People is the ultimate guide to living in “post-racial” America.


10 Black Women Killing the Game

Black women are truly a group of amazing people to behold. From Beyonce to Kerry Washington to Oprah Winfrey these women are doing amazing things and looking good while doing it. This Black HERstory Month let’s praise all the black women who are doing great things today.

1. Oprah Winfrey


Known as the “Queen of Media” Oprah Winfrey has greatly changed the face of media. Starting with her own talk show on ABC she now owns her own network (called OWN of course). She is currently the only black billionaire in North America. Talk about doing big things.

2. Beyoncé


Besides having the ability to release an album in the dead of night without any promotions and still making it to #1 on the Billboard Music Charts and iTunes, Beyonce is one of the greatest female powerhouses of all time. Earning herself a total of 17 Grammys both on her own and with Destiny’s Child, she is the third most honored female vocal artist. Outside of her musical accomplishments Beyonce has turned herself into a very successful brand with deals with Pepsi and H&M, her clothing line with her mom, and the start of her own fragrance line. Get it girl!

3. Kerry Washington

kerry washington

Many people forget that Kerry Washington starred in Save the Last Dance but she was there. Washington has been acting for a longtime now but it wasn’t until recently that she’s been recognized as the phenomenal actress she is. As Olivia Pope on the ABC show, Scandal, she has become very well known worldwide. Washington is not only a great actress but also a philanthropist supporting Woman’s Cancer Programs and V-Day, a global group that promotes awareness of violence against woman and girls. Amazing!

4. Gabby Douglas


Leaving the 2012 London Olympics with two gold medals (one for team and one for the all-around in gymnastics) Gabby Douglas practically became famous overnight. Douglas is also the first African-American to win the all-around gold in gymnastics at the Olympics. Lifetime recently released a biopic about the young Olympian where we get an inside look on who Douglas really is the struggles she and her family faced to get to where she is. Now preparing for her next Olympics Douglas is in full training mode. Good luck in 2016!

5. Allyson Felix


Speaking of the Olympics, Allyson Felix was also a star at the last one. Leaving with one gold and two silver medals she dominated the track. She is also a four-time recipient of the Jesse Owens Award from USA Track and Field that signifies the athlete of the year. She is the only woman to win the award four times. She is also training for the 2016 Olympics. Go girl!

6. Sasheer Zamata

Source: Daily News
Source: Daily News

Saturday Night Live is probably the most well known variety show on TV right now and yet for six long years they lacked any representation of a black woman on their show. Hence, they held a a national showcase to look for a new black actress to come onto their show and they found one: Sasheer Zamata. She is the first black actress on the show since Maya Rudolph left in 2007. Zamata has been included in many sketches on the show since introduction onto the show including being a part of their Black History Month skit which was phenomenal. I can’t wait to see where Zamata goes from here on the show and here’s to hoping SNL adds more color to their show in the future.

7. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


Most well known now for her poetry on feminism in Beyonce’s song, “Flawless”, this Nigerian writer is in all senses of the word “flawless”. Receiving over 10 awards for her writing she also does multiple talks (including TED talks and talks with the Commonwealth League) worldwide. Her latest book, Americanah, was selected by the New York Times as one of The 10 Best Books of 2013. In summary, she’s a writing phenomenon that we’ll certainly be hearing more from.

8. Quvenzhané Wallis

Source: IMDb
Source: IMDb

At the age of nine, Quvenzhané Wallis became the youngest nominee for Best Actress in a Leading Role in Academy Awards history for her role in Beasts of the Southern Wild. Though she didn’t win the Oscar Wallis won 13 awards for her role in the film. Wallis will be playing Annie in the upcoming remake of the film/musical. She’s so young and doing such amazing things that I feel a little ashamed. Dang!

9. Nicole Beharie


Black women are getting more screen time on TVs these days and it’s fantastic. Nicole Beharie stars on the new FOX, sci-fi drama, Sleepy Hollow. Beharie plays a Lieutenant  who is the sheriff-detective in her small town and she is the Second Witness of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I’m not entirely sure what that means but I think she plays a BAMF. Awesome!

10. Lupita Nyong’o


Most well known for her role in 12 Years a Slave, Lupita Nyong’o is a Kenyan-Mexican actress and film director. So far she has won 29 awards for her role in the film and has been nominated for an Oscar. In a world where sometimes dark skin is seen as a negative, it’s wonderful to see a beautiful black woman proving everyone wrong. Keep doing you girl!

As we all continue to celebrate Black History Month let’s not only look at all the amazing people from our past but also celebrate all the amazing people who are doing great things today.

15 Black Men To Spice Up Your BHM

Honestly it was hard to pick just 15 but if I kept going we’d be here all day. Feel free to comment who you think should’ve be on this list. Now, shall we begin? (Disclaimer: This is in no particular order.)

Musical Accompaniment:

1. Idris Elba



Although this list isn’t in any special order Idris had to be number one. Let’s be real about this.


2. Shemar Moore


It should be criminal for him to look this fine.

3. Usher


Let us hope Usher continues to look this good forever more.

4. Morris Chestnut

morris chestnut


Yes. A 1000 times yes.

5. Taye Diggs

He’s going to be back on the market soon ladies. Get ready!

6. Drake





This boy is all swirled up and ready to go.


7. Columbus Short

Disney ABC Television Group's 2012 "TCA Summer Press Tour"




In summary, it’s handled!


8. LL Cool J





His nickname literally means, “Ladies Love Cool James”. It might be cocky but it’s true.

9. Laz Alonso




His role as the horrible husband in This Christmas gave me a negative impression about him but his good looks fixes all of that.


10. Lance Gross







11. Blair Underwood





Another actor who played a horrible character but has the smile of an angel. *sigh*


12. Will Smith



FILM Smith 1


Keeping it fresh since the 90s.


13. Djimon Hounsou




The darker the berry the sweeter the fruit, y’all. 😉


14. Trey Songz




His smile + the dimples + the abs = everything I’ve ever wanted.


15. Michael Ealy




His eyes just draw me in. Every time.




Sorry I had to do it. He’s too attractive. I just can’t.

Happy Black History Month everyone!

10 Movies To Watch During BHM

There’s no better time to catch up on your Black Pop Culture than during Black History Month. Whether it’s a historically based film or a comedy, “black” films tend to be underrated. If you haven’t seen these films before now’s as good a time as any to see what you’ve been missing.

1. The Best Man

The 90s were a great time for Black films. This film is a hilarious dramedy focusing on Harper, a novelist, who’s recently written a book based on his college days. However, the books contains a secret that Harper has been hiding from his best friend, Lance, who is about to get married. Filled with a very attractive cast this movie will have you laughing, crying, and gasping all the way through.

2. The Wood

1999 was clearly a good year for films that revolved around a wedding and a group of guys. Friends, Mike, Slim, and Roland, reminiscence on their high school days (shown in flashbacks) as Roland prepares to get married (or maybe not). Showing the hilarity of a man (or boy’s) mind this one is definitely a goodie.

3. Love &  Basketball

Seriously, if you haven’t seen this film before I just can’t. I love this movie. Following two kids from the first day they meet on the basketball court all the way through their college years we get to see all the drama, laughs, and fights that define their relationship. As they say in the film, “Nothing’s fair in love and basketball.”

4. Remember the Titans

Again, another movie everyone should watch. Classic film. What I love about this movie is it deals with the issues of segregation in a way that keeps people interested but also makes it clear that this isn’t just for entertainment. This film tells the story of integration and how a football team was able to bring together two different groups of people in a way that hadn’t been done in that town before. Amazing.

5. The Great Debaters

Another amazingly moving film. This film not only has a great cast (Denzel Washington and Forest Whittaker amongst so many others) but was also directed by Washington and produced by Oprah Winfrey. The movie itself is great because it deals with a time that many don’t talk about. The time between the Reconstruction Period and the start of the Civil Rights movement. It has been argued that the civil rights movement started long before Martin Luther King, Jr. was around and I think this movie kind of shows that. Many stories of African-Americans doing great things has been lost to an American history that lacks color. The thing that I love most about this movie is it shows people there’s more to Black History than just the big names. There’s so many others that have been forgotten and people need to be reminded of that.

6. The Butler

If you’re looking for something a little more recent this movie was fantastic. Forest Whittaker and Oprah Winfrey did a great job in this movie. What makes it so inspiring is it shows two different generations of African-Americans: one who grew up being taught to be silent and respect the white man and one who challenged those ideas. I still can’t believe it didn’t get nominated for any Oscar. A shame.

7. The Color Purple

Based on the novel written by Alice Walker, this film tells the story of Celie, along with many other African-American women during the 1930s. The story demonstrates the trials these women faced, how they overcame them, and how some didn’t. I think this movie gets a bad rap sometimes because it’s not the easiest movie to watch but that’s because it deals with tough issues that can make people feel uncomfortable. However, I think it’s a great film and the musical was awesome as well, though it’s sadly no longer running.

8. Coming to America

I love Eddie Murphy. I think he is absolutely hilarious and talented. Playing multiple roles in this movie, he shows the story of a African prince traveling to America to find his Queen which of course leads him to Queens, NY. Naturally hilarity ensues as Prince Akeem (Murphy) pretends to be a normal American and falls in love.

9. Friday

Out of the whole trilogy (though supposedly they’re making a fourth one) this is the funniest one. Ice Cube and Chris Tucker make a hilarious pair. These two friends go through their Friday running from gangsters trying to kill them, trying to get money, and just plain trying to survive. These two are hilarious as is the whole cast. Definitely a movie to watch.

10. Set It Off

Last but certainly not least is Set It Off. This cast is filled with four amazing black actresses. The premise is four women getting even with a system that they feel is against them and in a way most certainly is. Obviously I’m not saying robbing banks was the best solution but it definitely makes for a good movie. A must see!

There are way more films that could be added to this list but for now I’ll leave you with these. Definitely try to expand your horizons this Black History Month by not only watching movies but actually learning about black history. Enjoy!