5 Must-Reads for Black Millennials

Next America compiled a few book recommendations that bring humor, irreverence and perspective to today’s young black experience.

Courtesy of Baratunde Thurston

How to Be Black

Baratunde Thurston

Harper Books, 2012

Part satire, guide and memoir, this first book by the comedian and newly-minted Daily Show staffer offers his hilarious experiences coming of age in urban Washington, D.C. while attending exclusive private schools to help readers navigate millennial black life. Topics range from becoming a better black friend or employee to handling micro-aggressive mispronunciation of names.

The Warmth of Other Suns

Isabel Wilkerson

Vintage, 2011

The former New York Times bureau chief and Pulitzer-Prize winner penned a seminal exploration of the Great Migration, the period from 1930 to the late 1960s when millions of Americans fled the racial caste system of the South. Wilkerson outlines this historic and demographic shift through three people who left Southern states for New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Courtesy of Isabel Wilkerson


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Anchor Books, 2014

This novel of love, race, identity, and geography is told through a young woman who leaves Nigeria under military rule for a university education in the United States, and for the first time must wrestle with what it means to be “black.”

Courtesy of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Some of My Best Friends Are Black

Tanner Colby

Penguin, 2013

Colby decided to write the book after Barack Obama was elected in 2008, when he realized that he didn’t know any black people. Through funny, autobiographical social commentary, the biographer weaves stories of race relations after the Civil Rights movement with insights into tough topics like busing and affirmative action.

Courtesy of Penguin

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl

Issa Rae

Simon & Schuster, 2015

In this laugh-out-loud collection of essays, the creator of the Web series of the same name takes a look at what she calls the two worst things you can be, “awkward and black.” The pairing, she says, left her very unable to dance and hardly “cool.” For introverts and others who hope to become comfortable in their own skin.

Issa Rae (Courtesy of Issa Rae)