A Contemporary Guide on Empowerment By Black Authors

15 mins read

As protests over the killing of George Floyd (and Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor) head into a second weekend, people are critically questioning their own understanding of racism and turning to books to aid in self-reflection and provide a deeper understanding. Searches for anti-racism books have surged, and titles by Ibram X Kendi, Robin DiAngelo, Layla F. Mohamed and others have found their way onto Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s bestseller lists.

Kendrick Lamar’s song The Blacker the Berry, which has over one million views on YouTube in under three weeks and is featured in his new video, is a hip-hop version of “black consciousness” music popular during the Pan-African movement of the 1960s. In the first verse, Kendrick emphasizes his self-reliance and his confinement to his own experience. He decries the culture of violence, poverty, and police violence that plague poor African-American communities:

“Blacker the Berry” punctuates Kendrick Lamar’s appearance in the band of his community, but the image of an independent voice of the modern African-American is a recent development. The civil rights movement successfully challenged systematic segregation and won a recognition that African-Americans were full and equal citizens.

But a major backlash against civil rights began in the 1970s and culminated in a loaded conservative reaction to the election of President Obama in the United States, resulting in an organized movement to undermine African-American equality and further incarcerate the black underclass.

Baltimore’s black population, which has been in decline since the 1950s, is now approximately 63 percent African-American. Now the public face of crime, impoverishment, and oppression in Baltimore, the young men who riot over the police violence and drug use that are part of their daily living present an existential threat to their communities by emasculating them to the white patriarchal gaze.

Let’s take a moment to look at the top books searching people are using to better understand the true nature of racism and what they can do to better dismantle it.

Why To Read These Black Authors On Empowerment

There are those who get the joyful privilege of knowing their future, and those who must live with uncertainty. In Empowering to Set Yourself Free by Trumpet Times Payattend, an entrepreneur, a book editor, a motivational speaker, and a student of the Bible, strives to examine the meaning of empowerment, and how to attain it, and avoid the pitfalls of the unenlightened.

But no book can empower you. It cannot do the work for you. You must read it, be honest about how it is affecting you, and then apply the wisdom contained in it.

Do you want to know what freedom is? It is the ability to make your own decisions, and to live as you wish, without being coerced. If you’re miserable because of your weight, and you don’t want to be, no one can stop you from doing something about it.

There are so many people who are overweight, yet they sit around waiting for someone, an outside source to empower them.

Why is it that people seem to be paralyzed to take action on their own behalf?

It is a complex issue, but a large part of it is that we have been taught that happiness does not really belong to us, if it is not bestowed on us by someone else.

It was not always this way. There was once a time when people revered the fact that they had the freedom to do as they wished, and they experienced joy in this.

Nowadays, there is so much focus on what an entrepreneur can give to a person, and they can make a person a micro-famous Instagram sponsored model (or even a “micro-famous Instagram millionaire”).

The focus is on the role of the benefactor, yet we do not hear very much about the things that a person can do for themselves.

But if you set out to actually do something meaningful with your own life, this is actually very empowering.

Our lives are not really controlled by other people. Instead, they are under our control, and if we change the way that we think, we can change our choices.

You will eventually find that you have far more control than you ever thought possible, and things that seemed hopeless will begin to crop up, like beautiful flowers after a storm.

This is a spiritual journey, which entails letting go of the things that you are holding onto. There is no real release until you put your life in the hands of God.

This seems contrary to what you may have been taught, but it is actually the only way to truly empower yourself and find the inner peace and happiness you yearn for.

You are more blessed than you realize. You can actually take today and start applying some of the things that you read in this book.

I challenge you to pick one key thing that you will do today. It may just involve sitting down and reading for 15 minutes, or having dinner with your family.

The key is to be honest about what you do each day, and to be willing to do something positive and productive each day.

You can take steps toward this peaceful and happy life today. Empower yourself, and feel a whole lot freer than you probably ever have.

Benefits Of Reading the Black Authors

We can’t do it all for you. You can’t expect someone to change the way you feel at the touch of a button. You must actually make the decision to read and learn for yourself.

Only in the doing do we gain the wisdom and strength that results in the ability to empower ourselves.

You must take the time to actually read the books and put the contents into practice.

But you will find, after doing this for a little while, that you will begin to feel more fulfilled in your life. You will know that you have made strides towards spiritual enlightenment, and your inner light will begin to glow.

With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the wonderful books by black authors that can help you empower yourself.

Stop Killing Us by Terry Keys

This product was recommended by Terry Keys from N/A

USA Today Bestselling Author Terry Keys takes aim at the racial divide facing America today in this breathtaking memoir. Terry Keys takes you through his journey of being a black man in south Texas. Travel with him as he discusses being in an inter-racial relationship to his days in law enforcement. Keys revisits some of his darkest days as he recounts the racism that he’s endured. Don’t miss this incredibly impactful, touching, inspirational and timely piece by Terry Keys.

Why We Can’t Wait by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This product was recommended by Michael Lowe from Car Passionate

This book written by Martin Luther King Jr. is an absolutely fantastic read and one of the most important and influential books ever written. The information given isn’t at all sugar coated and tells the truth of what happened to enforce the Civil Rights movement. The fact that this contains a letter written from when Martin Luther King Jr. was in Birmingham Jail is honestly brutal and haunting and really shows the importance of that time. It’s quite hard to read at times, knowing the struggle, and I think it’s worse in the present knowing what eventually happened to Martin Luther King Jr., but in the same sense it is empowering as it makes you want to be active and help make a change.’

Talk Straight Dammit by Stephen Millet

This product was recommended by Sonji Millet from Myblisstopia

So many people do not realize that what they say matters. Whether you are talking to yourself or someone else, your words are powerful. Negative thoughts and words produce negative results and positive thoughts and words produce positive results. Talk Straight Dammit helps you turn your negative, limiting beliefs into powerful actions to create a life of BLISS you want and deserve. Once you understand how your words affect your life then you can attract the life you of your dreams.

Dear Future Black Queen by Leslie Crawford

This product was recommended by Leslie Crawford from The Literacy Shop

Dear Future Black Queen, is a book of daily messages to young girls. Between the ages of 9 and 13, young black girls tend to struggle with figuring out who they are. Whether it’s hair issues, self-esteem, complexion issues, body types, stereotypes and so many other things. This book was written to encourage each young girl that reads it and is set as a reminder to her that no matter what, she’s a future black queen. Dear Future Black Queen, it’s your time to take your seat on the throne.

The Millennial’s Playbook to Adulting by Arika L Pierce

This product was recommended by Arika Pierce from The Millennial Boardroom

The Millennial’s Playbook to Adulting is a must-read for anyone that wishes to transition into a successful adult. Packed full of practical insights, tips, techniques and real-life stories, this is a one-stop resource on everything from personal branding and networking, to job-hunting, finances, and mental/physical health. Whether you have just graduated college or have been adulting for a few years, this book is for you!

Women of War by Dr. Delene Musielak

This product was recommended by Delene Musielak from Kenise Etwaru, et al.

This book is a collaboration of multiple women from various ethnicities but compiled by a minority woman. It is an empowering book about struggles and hurdles in life and how to break through hardships and keep pressing on. It will uplift anyone who reads it, and change your mindset to get you the victory you need.

Battle Endurance by Nate Battle

This product was recommended by Nate Battle from NateBattle

If you are searching for a tool to help you sift through the noise, overcome obstacles, and find your true purpose in life, this is your book. Let’s face it, life is hard, it is going to be unfair, and people simply don’t always play by the rules. Given that, it’s best to equip yourself, sooner rather than later, with a tool to help you manage through the challenges you will inevitably face in life so you can find and live your true purpose. This book will help you do just that. It lays out a roadmap on how you can look beyond challenges, expectations, and facades to empower yourself. It was written with the idea that as the reader, you can replace the challenges presented with your own, being able to see yourself while learning how to let go, work through conflict, obstacles, and difficulties and limiting negative self-talk, one step, action, moment and battle at a time.. Shared are many stories, and approaches on letting go, how to live in the present, and have a full and more peaceful life. It’s engaging and relatable while including an honest selection of experiences readers of all ages will find as useful tools to help live a full life. This book puts language around so many feelings I had. It also reminds me of a place of peace that must be maintained for me to avoid those pitfalls. A book which motivational speaker Les Brown calls instructive, informative, and inspiring … a guide to live your life victoriously.

Pushing Through by Nicole D. Vick

This product was recommended by Nicole D. Vick from NicoleDVick

Pushing Through has been touted as a cultural TED talk and has received endorsements from some of South Los Angeles’ most prominent leaders. The memoir, an accounting of Vick’s journey into social justice, public health, and community advocacy, features a foreword written by California Senator Holly Mitchell who writes: Her storytelling is an important reminder to Black women that we have a collective responsibility to ourselves to save ourselves – first. Our battles with self-image, sexism, racism are toxic and yet through Nicole’s life example, we can and do make it.

Big, Beautiful, Mine by Ellie Etienne

This product was recommended by Shauna from That Sister

While diversity has increased in books largely due to self-published authors, one area that’s still largely underserved is stories featuring plus size women as the lead. Furthermore, to have a black woman as a plus size lead until recently was largely unheard of. Big, Beautiful, Mine follows neurosurgeon Samantha Jones, a successful, fuller figure African American woman. In this story we get to see her empowerment in love, career and life, showing you can really have it all. The story isn’t without it’s twists though as she must overcome buried insecurities to get out of her own way and take the life she wants. It’s uplifting, it’s relatable (bar the whole ‘billionaire’ thing, which adds a fun element to the story) and it’s a refreshing change of pace. A must read!

The Art Gallery Journal by Budget Collector

This product was recommended by Ebonique Boyd from Budget Collector

There are many internal biases within the art world leading to the same types of people directing aesthetic vision that can be hurtful to many types of people. The elite in the art world have a very narrow vision of what is considered beautiful. The journal is a gateway to allow more people of color to enter the art world.

The Making of a Boss by Chelley Roy

This product was recommended by Christine Jones from Digital Moms

For those looking for a riveting read that is as inspiring as it is invoking, Chelley Roy’s account of her mother’s double life and the consequences surrounding it is the optimal choice. “The Making of a Boss”, tells a story of a young woman reeling from the murder of her enigmatic, yet incredible mother. A young woman who was a new mother herself, who was left spiraling in the wake of her mother’s untimely death. This book details the fascinating life of Roy’s mother, a powerful crime boss in the D.C. area. It speaks of her struggles, her triumphs, as well as her death and the following investigation conducted by Roy herself. For true crime enthusiasts, those interested in incredible women with incredible stories, and those who might have experienced a loss, this is the perfect addition to a collection.

Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome by Joy a Degruy

This product was recommended by Errord Jarrett from Jarrett MedTech Consultants

The process of self examination is always a difficult one punctuated by revelation of joy and despair. This insightful study of the impact of slavery on the taken from the African diaspora presents the juxta position to the prophecy of Wille Lynch on the bank of the James River in 1712, where he exhorted his audience to ‘not kill the body, but take the mind’. During this season when we are all examining our bias in the wake of the death of George Floyd, whether black or white, this book is a must read and a cause for deep reflection and empowerment for those who want to move on to grater things.

Being is the New Doing by Radiah Rhodes

This product was recommended by Shana Cosgrove from VitalUP Marketing

Radiah’s book tells her personal journey on how she moved from looking like she had it all on the outside – great marriage, two kids, and a big important job at a Fortune 500 company, but she was miserable inside; in fact not just miserable but physically sick. Her body was telling her no. Stop. In this book Radiah shares her story while giving others a power framework to live their lives better and full of intention. It all starts with answering the question Who are you?

The Overcomers’ Anthology by Dr. De’Andrea Matthews

This product was recommended by De’Andrea Matthews from Claire Aldin Publications

I am suggesting this book because it tells the raw, uncut personal stories of these co-authors’ triumphs in their struggle to overcome. You will not be disappointed.

I’m Rising By Michelle G. Stradford

This product was recommended by Melanie Musson from QuoteInspector

Her poetry resonates with readers and inspires them to find their courage within and empowers them to act on that courage. The book takes the reader through the journey of despair of hurt, overcoming challenges, and the victory of success. Stradford’s writing style is beautiful as it motivates the reader to find their inner strength.

HOPE for the Alzheimer’s Journey by Carol B. Amos

This product was recommended by Carol B. Amos from CarolBAmos

“H.O.P.E. for the Alzheimer’s Journey” was written by caregiver Carol B. Amos to empower, educate and encourage other caregivers. Alzheimer’s disease impacts the Black community twice as much as the White community. H.O.P.E. helps caregivers to understand the disease and navigate the journey by providing tips, tools, advice, and inspiration. Caregivers can relate to Carol’s personal caregiving experiences often shared through original email communications. H.O.P.E also introduces The Caregiving Principle® a caregiving framework that provides a deeper understanding of a person living with dementia. H.O.P.E. empowers caregivers resulting in a less stressful, more rewarding journey.

Abundance Now by Lisa Nichols

This product was recommended by Valerie Ashford Brown from ValerieAshfordBrown

I love the main theme of this book of success is your birthright. Lisa Nichols empowers us to not only believe that but also to operate in the power that we have inside of us by giving powerful tips and strategies to transition to an abundant life now!

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

This product was recommended by Valerie Ashford Brown from ValerieAshfordBrown

This book depicts alot of what is going on in today’s society. As a matter of fact, it seems to have been taken directly from the headlines.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

This product was recommended by Valerie Ashford Brown from ValerieAshfordBrown

This is an elegant memoir, and very inspiring by First Lady Michelle Obama. I always knew that her and President Obama were humans, but this book further humanized her and her family. The writing is good and is a page turner. It’s over 400 pages, but well worth the read!

Believe Bigger by Marshawn Evans Daniels

This product was recommended by Valerie Ashford Brown from ValerieAshfordBrown

I’ve followed Marshawn Evans Daniels for close to 10 years now and haven’t been disappointed by anything that she puts her hands to, including this book. This is a must have for your library to release the fear, reignite your purpose, and realize your dreams by dreaming bigger. It is a movement filled with truth and power for you to BELIEVE BIGGER!

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