Summer ’16 Reading Essentials Words by: Shaunese Johnson


Nothing is more fulfilling and relaxing than laying pool-side indulging in a good book on a hot summer’s day. Every summer I make an obligation to indulge myself in a variety books and to also learn more about my culture. However, sometimes it can be difficult to find the right books, and therefore I’ve created a list of must-read Black technology, culture, and business books for the summer and throughout the year.

1. “We Real Cool: Black Men And Masculinity” –  bell hooks
“At the center of the way Black male self-hood is constructed in white-supremacist case list is the image of the brute- untamed, uncivilized, unthinking, and unfeeling,” is just one of the few of many powerful quotes explaining the portrayal of African American men in society. This book is perfect for exploring and learning about the stereotypes that constantly surround African American men and how it effects them on a daily basis. The book contains a collection of essays addressing the oppression of Black males, as well as providing a valuable insight of the racial, sexual attitudes, and white privilege in America.

2. “Code Of The Streets: Decency, Violence, And The Moral Life Of The Inner City”  – Elijah Anderson
While exploring the bookstore, I was grateful to come across this treasure. This book details valuable stories of what African Americans have to endure and the lessons they learn through life. The book contains chapters such as “Decent Street Families,” explaining African American households as well as the struggles of the children living in the city. It also has chapters including: “The Mating Game,” depicting the rise of teen pregnancy, relationships, and how Black women can be manipulated into a life of sexual exploitation. These stories all contain the roles of African American communities as well as stereotypes that are harmful in the black community.

3. “The Little Black Book Of Success: Laws Of Leadership For Black Women”  – Elaine Brown, Marsha Haygood, and Rhonda McLean
With the struggles of corporate America, it can be difficult for African American woman to thrive when the odds are stacked against us. With the stereotypes and labels corporate American has placed upon Black women, the fundamentals of maneuvering through the workplace and establishing a business is essential. These three executives give valuable advice on how to be successful, including marketing, advertising, and life lessons as well.

4. “The Sisters Are Alright: Changing The Broken Narrative Of Black Women In America” –  Tamara Winfrey Harris
“What is wrong with black woman? Not a damn thing but the biased lens most people use to view them,” declares the author Tamara Winfrey. This novel explores the lifestyles of African American women living in the 1960’s and the oppression they faced. Harris reveals stories of African American women who have endured sexual and racial abuse in order to obtain equality. The book is sure to grab and keep your attention, as it transforms fiction into reality.

5. “Be Your Own Boss in 12 months: A monthly guide to a business” – Melinda Emerson
Melinda Emerson is the founder of Quintessence Multimedia. Her company (as the title says) was founded in twelve months due to her effective and successful business strategies. The book gives valuable resources on marketing, management, and business relations.

6. “I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual” – Luvvie Ajayi
Luvvie is everyone’s favorite pop-culture critic and her recently released book of her essays capture her witty takes on everything from Shonda Rhimes (who also endorsed the book on Twitter) to racial topics.

Main image courtesy of CreateHer Stock

What are you reading this summer? Tell us in the comments.

Shaunese Johnson
Shaunese Johnson is a 21- year-old introverted college senior double majoring in Child/Family Studies and Communications. She’s currently a childcare provider, but she has also dedicated her time to African American empowerment by being an activist in the community, and sharing her journey through writing. In addition to being a contributing writer, she has also contributed articles for MyBlackMatters.com, JetMag.com, InMySkinCampaign.com, and “The Nuances,” which is a publication created by her college. In her spare time she enjoys reading, writing, meditation, traveling, and swimming.
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