give black: a lit-lovers gift guide inspired by this year’s top artists.

November 30, 2021
53 Picks

Created in partnership with Penguin Random House:

The holidays are upon us! If you’re searching for the right gifts, why not turn to music for inspiration? We teamed up with influencer Cree Myles, who runs the Black lit community @allwaysblack, to curate a list of books based on our most talked about artists of 2021. From Lesibu Grand to The Muslims, there’s a book here for every vibe.

Tems: Tems’ catalogue and aesthetic are equal parts warm, polished, and above all else, Black. If you love her, you will love Jasmine Mans’s debut collection of poetry, Black Girl, Call Home, or Jacqueline Woodson’s National Book Award-winning novel Brown Girl Dreaming.

Serpentwithfeet: Serpentwithfeet is the type of timeless act that we will be talking about 50 years from now. Their musical themes paired with their gospel undertones and captivating chantlike lyrics along with their cinematic videos make them a future denizen amongst the greats for sure. If you enjoy their vibe, you’ll be sure to get into The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr., or Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin.

Fousheé: Fousheé’s musical themes thwart the continuum. Sometimes she’s in a field, gallivanting while singing about love, other times she’s facilitating an armed bank robbery, all smiles. She embodies the “multiple truths” trope. If you enjoy her music, you’ll be sure to get into Phillip B.Williams’s 2021 collection of poetry, Mutiny, or Nnedi Okorafor’s 2011 fantasy, Akata Witch.

Lesibu Grand: Lesibu’s comfortable irreverence makes her a perfect pairing for Phoebe Robinson’s writing style. If you enjoy fist-pumping to Grand, consider cracking open Everything’s Trash, But It’s Ok, or Please Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes by Phoebe Robinson.

Sunny War: One listen to Sunny War and it is undeniable how strongly rooted she is in the Black tradition. If you enjoy her, consider picking up the Toni Morrison classic, Song of Solomon, or Danté Stewart’s debut release Shoutin’in the Fire.

BarteesStrange: Strange’s music offers the perfect backdrop to the characters in Taylor’s Real Life or Fitzsimons’s Passing Playbook. If you enjoy his genre-blending and bending as much as we do, we think you’ll get into both books.

Cherie Amour: Cherie Amour’s sound is equal parts rebellion and love. It reminds us of a budding but complicated love story. So might we recommend Nicola Yoon’s Instructions for Dancing or Nic Stone’s Odd One Out.

Blvck Hippie: Blvck Hippie’s introspective lyrics are a perfect match for these two books of shorts –Brandon Taylor’s Filthy Animals and Maurice Ruffin’s The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You. The track “If You Feel Alone at Parties” was MADE for Taylor’s character Lionel, iykyk.

The Muslims: With song titles like “Crotch Pop a Cop” and “F**k These F****n Fascists” it is no denying where The Muslims stand on timely issues such as prison and police abolition. If you love them and their messages as much as we do, might we suggest Angela Davis’s 1981 classic Women Race & Class, or Brittany K. Barnett’s 2020 story of hope, justice, and freedom, A Knock at Midnight.

You can let us know which are your favorite reads this festive season and what’s on your playlist.