Black History Month: a celebration of Black excellence
If you've been following along on Instagram, you may know that every week during Black History Month we've been sharing a small round-up of Black businesses, artists and activists that inspire us and bring us joy. Over here on the TANAKA journal though, we wanted to curate a list of art and projects made by Black womxn - something you can save, return to, and work your way through at your own pace.
This year has been heavy, and while the unprecedented spotlight on Black Lives Matter is both necessary and beautiful, it's also led to an overexposure of the violence that Black bodies endure. And in response there has been an outpouring of resources and educational materials for people to educate themselves further on racism, colonialism, the prison industrial complex and police brutality.
We think that this communal education and public support is amazing, but we wanted to use this space to share Black joy, self-love and self-care. The amount of vitally important political, historical and academic works from Black people could span a lifetime, but it's just as important to feed our souls as it is to feed our minds. We hope that this list can help feed your soul, and bring focus and clarity to your life so that we can continue to be loud in our fight for justice. And remember, we can - and should - continue to uplift Black excellence long after Black History Month is over.
1. Freshwater - Akwaeke Emezi
Freshwater is Emezi's debut novel, and is completely unique. It explores the fragmented selves of a Nigerian woman named Ada, and is narrated from multiple perspectives. The novel is an arresting encounter with the self, mental illness and the complexity of being.
2. All About Love: New Visions - bell hooks
All About Love will break you down and build you back up as you question your own understanding of, and boundaries around love.
Chimamanda Adichie discusses how she found her authentic voice — and cautions against hearing only a single story about another person or country. Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories, and we risk a critical misunderstanding when we simplify people and places down to one element.
4. Naked Beauty Podcast
Unfiltered discussions about beauty trends, selfcare journeys, skincare, wellness tips and the products that host Brooke DeVard Ozaydinli loves. This show is all about "real talk" with women who have an edge and a point of view.
5. Self Made
A chronicle of the incredible story of Madam C.J. Walker, who was the first African American self-made millionaire. Available on Netflix.
6. Redefining Realness - Janet Mock
A memoir and debut book by Janet Mock, American writer and transgender activist. It takes you through the journey of a young trans woman navigating society and grappling with issues of fragmented families, race, drug addiction, abuse, sex work, poverty, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
7. Little Black Book - Otegha Uwagba
The essential career handbook for creative working women. Uwagba takes you through everything you need to build a successful self-made career: from negotiating a payrise to building a personal brand.
I've wanted to started making playlists to share as an insight to the vibe and energy that goes into making TANAKA for the longest time. The first of hopefully many playlists features some of my favourite artists. It's a nice introduction to the music I listen to while I'm making soap, and they help inform the energy of the whole process.