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Kirby Barth / Spoon
Culture

Black History Month: 5 Best Reads and Watches

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at York U chapter.

As we near the end of February and stress over the high season of midterms, it is never too late to squish in a couple of good reads in during study breaks. And there is never a bad time to watch a life-changing movie. As an ode to Black History Month, here are some of the most beautiful books, shows, and movies, by Black artists.

Lupin

A fun and easy watch if you want to broaden your horizons and appreciate an international show. Lupin is a French show that follows Senegal immigrant, Assane Diop, as he avenges his father’s wrongful imprisonment. Assane uses familiar tactics inspired by his favorite book character, a thief called Arsène Lupin. Through a series of twists and turns, this mystery thriller wonderfully incorporates humor and lightheartedness, while showing the reality of black immigrants in Paris.

The Fire Next Time

Easily one of my favorite reads of 2022. This book is short and easy to read, comprising two essays: My Dungeon Shook: Letter to my Nephew on the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Emancipation and Down at the Cross: Letter from a Region of My Mind. The essays give an insight into what life was like for African-Americans before and during the civil movement. This is a brilliantly written book, immensely personal and, unfortunately, still applicable to the reality that many African-Americans face to this day.

wHEN tHEY sEE uS

This is a short series that retells the true story of the Central Park Five, a 1989 case in which five black teens were falsely accused of the brutal attack of a jogger. This show is definitely heavy, so make sure to watch it when you’re in a good mental headspace. However, it is a must-watch, written and produced by award-winning Ava DuVernay, praised for exploring and depicting the black experience through film.

Yinka, Where is Your Huzband?

This novel follows the disastrous love life of a Nigerian-British girl named Yinka, a girl whose family consistently comes together in prayer to ask God to bring her a husband. Yinka’s awkwardness, the prayer circles, and her recent unemployment leads to a hilarious series of events to unfold. This book is easy to read, a bit flat, but a good read to grab for the train.

If Beale Street Could Talk

Directed by the same director as Moonlight, this movie beautifully depicts the growing love between Tish and Fonny. Taking place in Harlem in the 1970s, Tish and Fonny’s love story is put to a halt when Fonny is wrongfully imprisoned. This movie shows the importance of community, the beauty of black love, and does James Baldwin’s book justice.

There are so many good books, movies, and TV shows that commemorate and explore the black experience, but this is a good place to get started. Enjoy it with friends and family, or in your book club!

xx xxxx

York U '24