Have you seen the movie Hidden Figures? If you haven’t you most certainly should. This movie made me smile, laugh, and cry. These ladies were overflowing with black girl magic and for that I was incredibly proud. Before I hit the movie theater to see this gem, I hit the book. After I saw the movie it got me thinking about what other black women’s stories are out there. What other books could I get my hands on. So I started to do a little digging. To my surprise and maybe not that surprising, I could not find a whole lot of autobiographies or biographies on dynamic black women. Compared with the amount of autobiographies or biographies you find on black men. My point in saying this is that we definitely need more stories on black women written. In honor of women’s history month, I want to share some of the titles I found. It’s good to read stories about successful others that have gone before us. Here is a small list I came up with. I hope you are able to find something that you can dive into.
Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland
For years I have heard about the great disruption Misty Copeland is making in the world of ballet. I was captivated with her when I watched her documentary A Ballerina’s Tale on Netflix. I have no doubt that I will be captivated by her when I read her story. She is just an awesome all around person. She is a trailblazer for ballerina’s everywhere, she gives back, and she is an entrepreneur. Now she is motivating us to rock awesome bods with her brand new book, Ballerina Body: Dancing and Eating Your Way to a Leaner, Stronger, and More Graceful You.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Before this hits the small-screen definitely read this incredible story. I find it incredible that this woman has helped so many people without her permission and without her knowledge. Odd right? Apparently that can happen. I think it will leave you questioning the ethics of how things are done but grateful for the strides made in human medicine as it might have helped someone you know or you personally.
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes
If you’re addicted to the show Scandal or Grey’s Anatomy, then you should read about the woman behind those shows. Why did Shonda spend a year saying yes? What incredible things happened for her as a result? I know we all can get hesitant about saying yes to things so it’s nice to know that someone can encourage us in that direction.
On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madame C.J. Walker by A’leila Bundles
The world’s first African-American woman millionaire despite the times, the woman who is responsible for many of the hair practices we have on today. Definitely worth the read.
Around the Way Girl A Memoir by Taraji P Henson
I’ve always enjoyed the various roles Ms. Henson has played throughout the years. She’s just a wonderful actress. She moved me in her role as Katherine Johnson in Hidden Figures. Now with her personal memoir, you get to read about her journey to stardom and the experiences that she has had being a black single mother in Hollywood.
Michelle Obama a Life by Peter Slevin
Everyone’s favorite First Lady. With grace and grit, as her husband Barack Obama so eloquently put it when describing how she handled her role as America’s First Lady. This is probably the best origin story you will read all year.
Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family by Condoleezza Rice
I have always liked Condoleezza Rice. I always thought she was such an intelligent woman and so accomplished who had unique background that I don’t hear from typical black women. In this particular book she talks about her family life and what is was like growing up. If you want to read more about Condoleezza and her account of what is was like to serve as the Secretary of State, I also recommend her book No Higher Honor.
I Put a Spell on You: The Autobiography of Nina Simone
Nina is the real deal ya’ll. Gorgeous inside and out. Full of spunk. A game-changer. Talented songstress. Read her story. There’s also a wonderful documentary on her on Netflix. Be sure to check it out.
Life is not a Fairy Tale by Fantasia