The Best Black Non Fiction of 2022 [UPDATED]

The Best Black Non Fiction of 2022 [UPDATED]

2022 was a great year for Black books. Here are even more of our favorites.

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There’s nothing like a good book to leave you inspired, heartbroken or rolling on the floor with laughter. From touching personal stories of triumph to personal reflections on the culture, this was an amazing year for non-fiction. So before we say goodbye to 2022, we wanted to show a little love to some of our favorite reads. Check out our list of the best non-fiction works by Black authors this year.

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“The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times” by Michelle Obama

“The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times” by Michelle Obama

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Screenshot: Amazon.com

In “The Light We Carry,” our Forever First Lady Michelle Obama shares inspiring stories from her experience as a wife, mother and First Lady and how she manages to go high when the rest of the world around her seems to be going so low.

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“The Trayvon Generation” by Elizabeth Alexander

“The Trayvon Generation” by Elizabeth Alexander

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Screenshot: Amazon.com

Elizabeth Alexander’s essay, The Trayvon Generation went viral when it was published in The New Yorker in June 2020. In the piece, she refers to the challenges young people face growing up in an age where young Black men and women suffer from abuse while the world watches. The book, by the same name, elaborates on the conversation, while offering a message of hope for the future.

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“Black Women Will Save The World: And Anthem” by April Ryan

“Black Women Will Save The World: And Anthem” by April Ryan

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Screenshot: Amazon.com

As a White House correspondent and political analyst, April Ryan has covered some of the most important stories in Washington. And she is the best person to write a celebration of Black women’s strength and resilience. In “Black Women Will Save the World,” Ryan uses interviews with influential Black women to highlight the ways in which they have helped hold up our democracy time and again.

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“The World Record Book of Racist Stories” by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar

“The World Record Book of Racist Stories” by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar

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Screenshot: Amazon.com

In “The World Record Book of Racist Stories,” sisters Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar share stories of some of the most ridiculously racist things that have happened to them and other members of their family in the most hilarious way. I guarantee you’ll find yourself asking, “Is this real?” and “What year is this?” more than a few times while you’re reading.

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“Finding Me: A Memoir” by Viola Davis

“Finding Me: A Memoir” by Viola Davis

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Screenshot: Amazon.com

Actress Viola Davis gets real in “Finding Me,” the story of her rise to fame. She writes about everything from growing up in Rhode Island to becoming one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood and all of the peaks and valleys along the way. There’s a reason why this one was a 2022 Oprah’s Book Club pick and a Harper’s Bazaar Best Book of 2022.

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“Bigger Than Bravery: Black Resilience and Reclamation in a Time of Pandemic” Edited by Valerie Boyd

“Bigger Than Bravery: Black Resilience and Reclamation in a Time of Pandemic” Edited by Valerie Boyd

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Screenshot: Amazon.com

Nine months after her untimely death, Valerie Boyd blessed us with this powerful collection of stories from well-known Black writers, including Alice Walker, Deesha Philyaw, Rosalind Bentley and Tayari Jones. In “Bigger Than Bravery,” writers share their reflections on the intersection of COVID pandemic and the Black Lives Matter Movement.

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“Walking in My Joy: In These Streets” by Jennifer Lewis

“Walking in My Joy: In These Streets” by Jennifer Lewis

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Screenshot: Amazon.com

Walking in My Joy” is like a conversation with your favorite auntie. Actress and activist Jennifer Lewis’ witty sense of humor comes through in this collection of stories from her travels that are almost too fascinating to be true. She even manages to put a hilarious spin on fainting at an Obama holiday party! Throughout the book, the fierce mental health advocate encourages readers to continue to love on themselves and walk in their joy.

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“Ride or Die: A Feminist Manifesto for the Well-Being of Black Women” by Shanita Hubbard

“Ride or Die: A Feminist Manifesto for the Well-Being of Black Women” by Shanita Hubbard

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Screenshot: Amazon.com

Black women have been conditioned to believe that they have to dedicate their energy to being everything to everyone else. But in “Ride or Die” author, adjunct professor of sociology, and former therapist Shanita Hubbard gives us permission to put our oxygen masks on first. She lays out all of the ways being a “ride-or-die chick” can wear on Black women, leaving them overworked, exhausted and unfulfilled.

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“Scenes From My Life” by Michael K. Williams

“Scenes From My Life” by Michael K. Williams

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Michael K Willams’ memoir, “Scenes From My Life,” is a deeply personal look at the late actor’s life. He puts everything on the table from growing up in Brooklyn to his ongoing battle with addiction. The New York Times and NPR called it one of the best books of the year.

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“It Was All a Dream: Biggie and the World That Made Him” by Justin Tinsley

“It Was All a Dream: Biggie and the World That Made Him” by Justin Tinsley

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Screenshot: Amazon.com

Just in time for what would have been his 50th birthday, journalist Justin Tinsley dropped “It Was All a Dream,” a brilliant biography of the late Notorious B.I.G. The book includes interviews with some of Biggie’s closest friends as well as DJs and other music journalists who reflect on his life and his place among hip hop’s greatest.

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“The Movement Made Us: A Father, a Son, and the Legacy of a Freedom Ride” by David J. Dennis Jr.

“The Movement Made Us: A Father, a Son, and the Legacy of a Freedom Ride” by David J. Dennis Jr.

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David Dennis Jr. collaborated with his father David Dennis Sr. on Steph Curry’s book club pick, “The Movement Made Us.” The book is a touching personal reflection on the impact the Civil Rights Movement had on the Black Lives Matter Movement of today.

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“Uphill” by Jemele Hill

“Uphill” by Jemele Hill

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Jemele Hill suffered a devastating setback when she lost her job at ESPN after speaking her mind on social media about former President Donald Trump. In her memoir, “Uphill,” she shares stories of her difficult journey to the top and how she managed to rebuild on her own terms after haters tried to knock her down.

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“Shine Bright: A Very Personal History of Black Women in Pop” by Danyel Smith

“Shine Bright: A Very Personal History of Black Women in Pop” by Danyel Smith

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Screenshot: Amazon.com

Shine Bright” Danyel Smith’s writes about the history of Black women’s music and their influence on American pop as we know it. She writes brilliantly as a well-respected pop culture writer and a fan of Black music. From Mahalia Jackson to Aretha Franklin to Mariah Carey, Smith is here to let readers know that Black women have their foot all up in all of the music we know and love.

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“South to America” by Imani Perry

“South to America” by Imani Perry

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In “South to America,” Imani Perry explores the influence of the American South on our culture and the country. This amazing story was a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award winner.

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“Admissions” by Kendra James

“Admissions” by Kendra James

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Screenshot: Amazon.com

In “Admissions,” Kendra James peels back the curtain on life for students of color at elite independent schools that are usually almost completely white. She reflects on her own experience as a student who navigated microaggressions and all-out conflicts with classmates as well as an admissions office who was charged with selling the experience to other students of color.

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“This Boy We Made” by Taylor Harris

“This Boy We Made” by Taylor Harris

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Photo: Amazon.com

“This Boy We Made” is a powerful story of one Black mother’s relentless quest to get answers about her son’s mysterious medical condition. But as she tries to learn more about him, she makes a surprising discovery about herself – one that will change their lives forever.

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“Call Me Chef, Dammit!: A Veteran’s Journey from the Rural South to the White House” by Andre Rush

“Call Me Chef, Dammit!: A Veteran’s Journey from the Rural South to the White House” by Andre Rush

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Screenshot: Amazon.com

Chef Andre Rush went from the Mississippi housing projects to becoming a master sergeant and celebrity chef who served four United States presidents. “Call Me Chef Dammit” is his inspiring story about overcoming PTSD and racism to becoming a world-renowned chef as well as his tireless advocacy on behalf of our military.

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“My Life in the Sunshine: Searching for My Father and Discovering My Family” by Nabil Ayers

“My Life in the Sunshine: Searching for My Father and Discovering My Family” by Nabil Ayers

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Screenshot: Amazon.com

Nabil Ayers didn’t grow up with his father, the legendary musician Roy Ayers. In fact, his mother knew things would be that way when she gave birth to him. In “My Life in the Sunshine,” Ayers writes candidly about his quest to learn more about his famous father, and the amazing new extended family he met along the way.

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“This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories That Make Us” by Cole Arthur Riles

“This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories That Make Us” by Cole Arthur Riles

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In “This Here Flesh” Cole Arthur Riley explores the impact her father and grandmother had on her view of life and faith. Bestselling author Ashley C. Ford says, “This is the kind of book that makes you different when you’re done.”

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