Prime television season is upon us – and if you’re like me, you’ve been itching for the resurgence of shows and series like Insecure, The Bobby Brown Story and How To Get Away With Murder. It’s an incredible time to see content that is made for women of color, by women of color. In a way, it feels like self-care to sit back and watch the stories that reflect our own experiences, truths, or simply show life through the eyes of someone who look like us.
Still, there is something to be said about exploring your own imagination while reading the careful storytelling of women of color. When I’m not throwing popcorn in my mouth and cackling (or gasping) my way through scenes about Issa’s love life (or Annalise’s ongoing drama), I take time to allow my own creative mind to flow through the pages of great fiction and non-fiction writing. Simply put, it’s healing to imagine the characters as they weave through personal journies that feel comfortingly familiar.
Here are few of my favorite must-read works when I want to connect to characters and feel “at home.”
At the beginning of 2018, Jones newest fiction landed a well-deserved spot on Oprah’s Book Club. The Spelman graduate takes readers through a heartbreaking and hopeful love story of a young SpelHouse couple who finds themselves in the throes of an unjust America that punishes even the most ambitious Black men for their Blackness – despite their best efforts to remain respectable. Jones explores major themes afflicting the lives of Black people in America, including gender roles, the prison industrial complex, Black fatherhood, and entrepreneurship. She artfully displays the wreckage that all these aspects of Black American life can have on young, wide-eyed love. Most importantly, Jones provides a reprieve by way of reflection, by writing a love story that honestly portrays what love looks like without privilege. It’s a love so many of us have known.