For the Culture – 8 Coffee Table Books Celebrating Blackness

Coffee table books are the statement jewelry of home decor.  A good one is both an extension of AND an exclamation point to your personal style. Team Sugaberry has rounded up some reads that will rightfully declare their presence. These customs-honoring, conversation starters are sure to accentuate your interiors and to invoke heartfelt and subsequent loud talks around every table.

“Soul of a Nation surveys this crucial period in American art history, bringing to light previously neglected histories of 20th-century black artists, including Sam Gilliam, Melvin Edwards, Jack Whitten, William T. Williams, Howardina Pindell, Romare Bearden, David Hammons, Barkley L. Hendricks, Senga Nengudi, Noah Purifoy, Faith Ringgold, Betye Saar, Charles White and Frank Bowling.”

“The films, the stars, the filmmakers — all get their due in Hollywood Black, a sweeping overview of blacks in film from the silent era through Black Panther, with striking photos and an engrossing history by award-winning author Donald Bogle.”

“To date, there has never been a book devoted exclusively to black models. Supreme Models fills that void, paying tribute to black models past and present: from the first to be featured in catalogs and on magazine covers, like Iman, Beverly Johnson, and Donyale Luna, to the supermodels who reigned in the nineties—Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell. The book also observes the newest generation of models—Adwoa Aboah, Jourdan Dunn, and Joan Smalls—who are shaking up the fashion industry by speaking out about racial prejudice and becoming social media sensations. “

“Co-published with the Brooklyn Museum of Art for the major touring retrospective, this volume surveys Wiley’s career from 2001 to the present. It includes early portraits of the men Wiley observed on Harlem’s streets, and which laid the foundation for his acclaimed reworkings of Old Master paintings by Titian, van Dyke, Manet, and others, in which he replaces historical subjects with young African American men in contemporary attire: puffy jackets, sneakers, hoodies, and baseball caps. Also included is a generous selection from Wiley’s ongoing World Stage project; several of his enormous Down paintings; striking male portrait busts in bronze; and examples from the artist’s new series of stained glass windows. Accompanying the illustrations are essays that introduce readers to the arc of Wiley’s career, its critical reception, and ongoing evolution.”

“Black has never been more beautiful, witnessed by this magnificent collection featuring accomplished dark skinned-women from all walks of life. In Dark Girls, celebrities such as Lupita Nyong’o, Vanessa Williams, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Judge Mablean Ephriam, Brandi and Karli Harvey, and over seventy-five other outstanding women share intimate insights into what their dark skin means to them.

Filled with gorgeous photographs, this thoughtful, sophisticated, alluring, and uplifting collection captures the elegance of dark skin—joyfully showcasing that we truly are beautiful for who we are.”

“The perfect gift for music and photography fans, an inside look at the work of hip-hop photographers told through their most intimate diaries—their contact sheets.

Featuring rare outtakes from over 100 photoshoots alongside interviews and essays from industry legends, Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop takes readers on a chronological journey from old-school to alternative hip-hop and from analog to digital photography. The ultimate companion for music and photography enthusiasts, Contact High is the definitive history of hip-hop’s early days, celebrating the artists that shaped the iconic album covers, t-shirts and posters beloved by hip-hop fans today. “

“With stunning images of natural hair and gorgeous, inventive visual storytelling, GLORY puts Black beauty front and center with more than 100 breathtaking photographs and a collection of powerful essays about the children. At its heart, it is a recognition and celebration of the versatility and innate beauty of black hair, and black beauty. The glorious coffee-table book pays homage to the story of our royal past, celebrates the glory of the here and now, and even dares to forecast the future.

It brings to life past, present, and future visions of black culture and showcases the power and beauty of recognizing and celebrating oneself. Beauty as an expression of who you are is power. When we define our own standards of beauty, we take back that power. GLORY encourages children around the world to feel that power and harness it.”

From her Barbados childhood to her worldwide tours, from iconic fashion moments to private time with friends and family, the book showcases intimate photographs of her life as an artist, performer, designer, and entrepreneur. Many of these images have never before been published.

“It’s a piece of art that I am really proud of…” —Rihanna

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