February is one of my favorite months because it’s a time of celebrating important people in my life and important people in Black History. I’m especially excited for February this year because BLACK PANTHER OPENS IN THEATERS ON FEBRUARY 16TH!!! I’m so excited for this movie and I can’t wait to marvel (no pun intended) at the black excellence on the movie screen.
This month, I want to mainly focus on reading books I own that are written by black authors or about black people in history.
We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories by Gabrielle Union
Summary: In the spirit of Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl, and Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist, a powerful collection of essays about gender, sexuality, race, beauty, Hollywood, and what it means to be a modern woman.
One month before the release of the highly anticipated film The Birth of a Nation, actress Gabrielle Union shook the world with a vulnerable and impassioned editorial in which she urged our society to have compassion for victims of sexual violence. In the wake of rape allegations made against director and actor Nate Parker, Union—a forty-four-year-old actress who launched her career with roles in iconic ’90s movies—instantly became the insightful, outspoken actress that Hollywood has been desperately awaiting. With honesty and heartbreaking wisdom, she revealed her own trauma as a victim of sexual assault: “It is for you that I am speaking. This is real. We are real.”
In this moving collection of thought provoking essays infused with her unique wisdom and deep humor, Union uses that same fearlessness to tell astonishingly personal and true stories about power, color, gender, feminism, and fame. Union tackles a range of experiences, including bullying, beauty standards, and competition between women in Hollywood, growing up in white California suburbia and then spending summers with her black relatives in Nebraska, coping with crushes, puberty, and the divorce of her parents. Genuine and perceptive, Union bravely lays herself bare, uncovering a complex and courageous life of self-doubt and self-discovery with incredible poise and brutal honesty. Throughout, she compels us to be ethical and empathetic, and reminds us of the importance of confidence, self-awareness, and the power of sharing truth, laughter, and support.
I borrowed this book from my best friend towards the end of January. I need to read it ASAP.
Toussaint Louverture by Philippe Girard
Summary: Toussaint Louverture’s life was one of hardship, triumph, and contradiction. He was born a slave on Saint-Domingue yet earned his freedom and established himself as a small-scale planter. He even purchased slaves of his own.
Philippe Girard shows how Louverture transformed himself from lowly freedman into revolutionary hero as the mastermind of the bloody slave revolt of 1791. By 1801, Louverture was governor of the colony where he had once been a slave. But his lifelong quest to be accepted as a member of the colonial elite ended in despair: he spent the last year of his life in a French prison cell. His example nevertheless inspired anticolonial and black nationalist movements well into the twentieth century.
Based on voluminous primary-source research, conducted in archives across the world and in multiple languages, Toussaint Louverture is the definitive biography of one of the most influential men in history.
I bought this book in October while I was browsing the cultural studies shelf at Barnes and Noble. I’m Haitian and one of the things that I think is overlooked in history books is the Haitian Revolution. The Haitian Revolution was the most successful slave revolt in history. By gaining her independence from France, Haiti became the first black republic and first country to abolish slavery in the Western hemisphere in 1804. Toussaint Louverture was one of the leaders in the Haitian Revolution.
Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Summary: In 2014, award-winning journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge wrote about her frustration with the way that discussions of race and racism in Britain were being led by those who weren’t affected by it. She posted a piece on her blog, entitled: ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’.
Her words hit a nerve. The post went viral and comments flooded in from others desperate to speak up about their own experiences. Galvanised by this clear hunger for open discussion, she decided to dig into the source of these feelings.
Exploring issues from eradicated black history to the political purpose of white dominance, whitewashed feminism to the inextricable link between class and race, Reni Eddo-Lodge offers a timely and essential new framework for how to see, acknowledge and counter racism. It is a searing, illuminating, absolutely necessary exploration of what it is to be a person of colour in Britain today.
I bought this book back in June and I was really excited to read it. I read a couple of chapters, but became distracted and busy with other things. My goal is to finally finish it.
What’s on your TBR for February? Have you read of these books? Are you going to see Black Panther?