The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Celebrating Black Voices: Books, Films and Music To Consume During Black History Month

Here is a curated list of notable Black creatives influencing literature, film and music to consume during February and beyond.

February commemorates Black History Month, where we celebrate Black voices and recognize the past. The work of Black artists have influenced American culture and help people understand their contributions to American history. Here is a curated list of notable Black creatives influencing literature, film and music to consume during February and beyond. 

Girl, Woman, Otherby Bernardine Evaristo

Photo Courtesy / YouTube Oxford Union

Girl, Woman, Other takes readers on a journey through time that chronicles the stories of Black British women and their experiences regarding the injustices of race, sexuality and gender. The women find homes in Britain, the United States and ultimately themselves. Individuality and companionship are at the forefront of this groundbreaking novel, which appeared on former president Barack Obama’s selection of his favorite books of 2019.  Evaristo recently became the first Black woman to win the Booker Prize in 2019, an award given for leading works of fiction in the U.K. 


Get Out  by Jordan Peele

Photo Courtesy / YouTube Rotten Tomatoes Trailers

Get Out is part of a series of Jordan Peele horror films starring Black actors and actresses. Peele has also created Us,” “Antebellumand more recently Nope.” These movies explore relationships with history and culture in a fantastical, but paradoxically in a very real and tangible way. Peele became the first Black filmmaker to win the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Get Out.” Many fans and consumers of the horror genre note the blatant racism the films show towards people of color, as explained by the Rolling Stone. Peele offers a response to these tropes in his movies by drawing in horror fans that can feel comfortable with diversity and inclusivity along with an entirely new take on the genre that could only be facilitated by Black creatives.

Belovedby Toni Morrison 

Photo Courtesy / YouTube PBS News Hour

Beloved is a tragic and moving tale that portrays a woman named Sethe living freely in Ohio but continues to be haunted by her past as an enslaved person. In the story, Sethe and her daughter are haunted in their home by an apparition named Beloved, who reveals themself early in the novel to be Sethe’s daughter who she killed rather than forcing her into a life of slavery. Both Sethe and her daughter, Denver, are imprisoned by the house, the ghost and essentially the past.  Author Toni Morrison based Sethe on Margaret Garner, who killed her daughter in 1856 to save her from a life of slavery. “Beloved won Morrison the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction in 1988, and became the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993.

Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers by Kendrick Lamar

Photo Courtesy / YouTube  Kendrick Lamar

Mr Morale & the Big Steppers” is Lamar’s fifth studio album, which details the artist’s journey with finding himself and his experiences in therapy. The album is split in half, Lamar contemplates his relationships with therapy, fatherhood, generational trauma, religion, infidelity as well as fame and gender identity in the first half. The second half of the album is about taking action against these concepts as he wrestles with his moral compass and conscience. Mr Morale & the Big Steppers  won a Grammy for Best Rap Album in 2023.

Becoming” by Michelle Obama

Photo Courtesy / YouTube Audiobooks_com

Becoming”  is a memoir written by former first lady Michelle Obama. It details her life growing up in Chicago as she tackled the American education system, race and class issues and gentrification. Obama attended Princeton University where she studied sociology and African American studies. In the book, Obama talks intimately about her relationship with former president Barack Obama and the political scene as a whole. “Becoming” won multiple awards, including the Grammy Award for Best Audio Book in 2020.

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