Just moved? Need to decorate? Love seeing images that look like you and your culture? During social distancing, I’ve taken the time to make my space reflect who I am, a Black Woman. I’m celebrating all that I am, and all that Blackness has given the world. Here is a list of coffee table books that celebrate the beauty of being Black!
Black Vintage Glamour
My personal fave? This book! I am obsessed with 20th Century Black Hollywood. These photos are breathtaking. Always a reminder that Black Women are the blueprint and have always been it! This book is luxurious as it is silk (yes, silk) bound. Currently sitting on my coffee table, and I often go through it for inspo! Doesn’t Eartha Kitt look stunning on this cover!!
What if I told you the NewYork Times had a collection of pictures of Black Folks that they never published? That those pictures captured our history and essence, and they were never seen? They did, and Darcy Eveleigh, Dana Canedy, Damien Cave, and Rachel L. Swarns, began exploring the history behind them, and subsequently chronicled them. This book includes those photographs and many more, among them: a 27-year-old Jesse Jackson leading an anti-discrimination rally in Chicago, Rosa Parks arriving at a Montgomery Courthouse in Alabama a candid behind-the-scenes shot of Aretha Franklin backstage at the Apollo Theater, Ralph Ellison on the streets of his Manhattan neighborhood, the firebombed home of Malcolm X, Myrlie Evans and her children at the funeral of her slain husband, Medgar, a wheelchair-bound Roy Campanella at the razing of Ebbets Field.
Crown: Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats
Did you grow up in Black Church? My Granny took us every Sunday, and she never left home without her church hat. Crowns tells the story that a church hat, flamboyant as it may be, is no mere fashion accessory; it’s a cherished African American custom, one observed with boundless passion by black women of various religious denominations. Photographer Michael Cunningham beautifully captures the self-expressions of women of all ages-from young glamorous women to serene but stylish grandmothers. Award-winning journalist Craig Marberry provides an intimate look at the women and their lives. Together they’ve captured a captivating custom, this wearing of church hats, a peculiar convergence of faith and fashion that keeps the Sabbath both holy and glamorous.
A Celebration Of Natural Hair is American culture, African culture, and today’s international culture. Black hair, particularly Afros, is unbelievably powerful. Black hair reaches for the sky and beyond. This book takes you down memory lane with its display of bell bottoms, platforms, and hair that stretched towards God. Afros is a beautiful collection of essays and photographs of natural Black beauty.
People of color are the originators of all things, yet are all too often overlooked. Each of our stories is unique, but collectively they contribute to the rebuilding of community and counter hundreds of years of colonialism, narrow-minded and harmful media representation, non-inclusive and conformist beauty standards, and a systemic, historical lack of recognition for our contributions. Brown Bohemians reclaims a small piece of a space that has always been rightfully ours. Brown Bohemians captures the essence and voice of an underrepresented demographic: creative people of color. Inspired by their unique tastes and experiences in fashion, lifestyle, and art, Brown Bohemians brings a vital and virtual movement, born on social media, to life, and into print.
What books are currently on your coffee table? Any that embody our Blackness?
Thanks for reading!