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Fall 2022 brings an array of diverse and interesting books. The long lineage of Black literature continues to expand with books that provoke thought and explore the contemporary history of Black American stories. The history of South Central Los Angeles, the beautiful world of hip hop and the stunning journeys of new worlds in Black science fiction books create a colorful and eye-opening exploration of the minds of Black writers who offer their imagination and personal information to create a new landscape of storytelling.

No one truly knows what will arise from the inner vision of the Black author until their visions, emotions and understanding of history bleed out onto the page. Every book should be absorbed individually and with deep mental and emotional consideration. The celebration of Black thought continues and will move forward as we unearth the truth of life and the powerful journeys of Universally moving Black books.

The Come Up: An Oral History of the Rise of Hip-Hop by Jonathan Abrams (Penguin Random House)

Author of the New York Times bestseller, “All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of The Wire,” Jonathan Abrams returns with a compelling history of hip hop. After conducting over 300 interviews, Abrams writes a nonfiction account of the history of hip hop spanning over several decades beginning in 1973, when the genre was birthed in the South Bronx in New York City. “Just as jazz did in the first half of the twentieth century, hip-hop and its groundbreaking DJs and artists—nearly all of them people of color from some of America’s most overlooked communities—pushed the boundaries of music to new frontiers, while transfixing the country’s youth and reshaping fashion, art, and even language,” writes Penguin Random House. Read this book if you’re interested in a deep dive into the historical path of hip hop culture and the key figures that made music the most popular form of musical expression in the world.

South Central Noir, anthology (Akashic Books)

“‘The Akashic Noir Series’ forensic study of Southern California sharpens its focus on one of Los Angeles’ most recognized neighborhoods,” writes Akashic books.  This intriguing collection features stories by Steph Cha, Nikolas Charles, Tananarive Due, Larry Fondation, Gar Anthony Haywood, Naomi Hirahara, Emory Holmes II, Roberto Lovato, Penny Mickelbury, Gary Phillips, Eric Stone, Jervey Tervalon, Jeri Westerson and Désirée Zamorano. An array of powerful literary contributions are compiled to create a powerfully written illustration of the predominately Black community of South Central Los Angeles. Gary Phillips writes in South Central Noir’s introduction: “Within these pages you’ll find stories of those walking the straight and narrow—until something untoward happens. Maybe it’s someone taking a step out of line, getting caught up in circumstances spiraling out of their control. Maybe they’re planning the grift, the grab…whatever it is to finally put them over. Other times the steps they take are to get themselves or people they care about out from under. You’ll find the offerings in these pages are a rich mix of tone—tales told of hope, survival, revenge, and triumph. Excursions beyond the headlines and the hype.”

Ride or Die: A Feminist Manifesto for the Well-Being of Black Women by Shanita Hubbard (Legacy Lit)

Professor of journalism at the University of Toronto and chair of the Freelance Taskforce for the National Association of Black Journalists, Shanita Hubbard writes an important nonfiction book. In the memoir-esque book, Hubbard expresses the unfolding of her life and examines the construct of the ride-or-die woman and “argues that this way of life has left Black women exhausted, overworked, overlooked, and feeling depleted,” writes publisher Legacy Lit. “‘Ride or Die’ urges you to expel the myth that your self-worth is connected to how much labor you provide others and guides you toward healing. Using hip hop as a backdrop to explore norms that are harmful to Black women, Hubbard shows the ways you may be unknowingly perpetuating this harm within your relationships. This book is an urgent call for you to pull the plug on the ride-or-die chick,” Legacy Lit continues.

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