Black Women and Non-Binary Artists to Read, Listen to, and Support

Posted by 
Jessica Johns
Image is a red background with the text: Black Women and Non-Binary Artists to Read, Listen to, and Support. Authors, Podcasts, Musicians, and Businesses.

Room has compiled a short list of Black women and non-binary authors, podcasters, musicians, and businesses who have had a huge impact on the magazine, our staff and collective members, and our readership. This list is by no means exhaustive, and there are many more women and genderqueer Black authors and artists without books and discographies doing amazing work.

The fight against white supremacy, Anti-Blackness, and police violence against our Black kin means working toward extensive systemic change. Continue to donate money to community bail funds, sign petitions, send letters, and work toward anti-racism in your life. For consistently updated resources on ways to help visit blacklivesmatter.carrd.co. So yes, support Black artists, but don't consume their brilliance without also committing to the work of the upheaval of colonial violence and white supremacy.

Nonfiction & Memoir: 

Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present by Robyn Maynard
Black Writers Matter by Whitney French
Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility by Eric A. Stanley, Johanna Burton, and Reina Gossett
Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Hill Collins
So You Want to Talk About Race? by Ijeoma Oluo
Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F Saad
Beauty in a Box: Detangling the Roots of Canada’s Black Beauty Culture by Cheryl Thompson
Dear Current Occupant by Chelene Knight (memoir)
Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward (memoir)
Redefining Realness by Janet Mock (memoir)

Poetry:

I have to live. by Aisha Sasha John 
Reacquainted With Life by Kokumo
The Gospel of Breaking by Jillian Christmas
I Am Still Your Negro: An Homage to James Baldwin by Valerie Mason-John
Everything is a Deathly Flower by Maneo Mohale
100 days by Otoniya Juliane Okot Bitek
Voodoo Hypothesis by Canisia Lubrin
How She Read by Chantal Gibson
A God Dance in Human Cloth by NASRA
Magical Negro by Morgan Parker

Fiction:

Shut Up You’re Pretty by Téa Mutonji 
Frying Plantain by Zalika Reid-Benta
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown
Daughters of Silence by Rebecca Fisseha
Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
Unraveling by Karen Lord
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K Jemisin
Have You Met Nora? by Nicole Blades
Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan

Musicians:

Chelsea D.E Johnson
DJ Denise
Haviah Mighty
Missy D
Shea Diamond
Tonye Aganaba
A'maal Nuux
Ruth B.
Ahmerasu

Podcasts:

SEEN Podcast with Nic and Lala
Good Ancestor Podcast with Layla F Saad
Small Doses with Amanda Seales
Black, Trans, & Beautiful
Intersectionality Matters with Kimberlé Crenshaw (Kimberlé Crewnshaw is the Black woman who developed the theory of intersectionality, a term we all use so freely today)
BlackChat the Podcast with Morgan and !Kona
Box No. 512 Podcast: Grown Black Trans Women Talk with Aeon and The Lioness
Stratagem: The Podcast about Equity, Inclusion, and Justice
Marsha's Plate: Black Trans Podcast

Black Organizers and Businesses:

Cicely Blain Consulting: a diversity and inclusion consulting firm founded by Cicely Belle Blain
Breathing Space Creative: artist and writer care consulting firm founded by Chelene Knight
The Content Witches: provide services in content strategy consulting and coaching, content writing, and inclusive content writing. Founded by Nailah King
Autonomy Personal Training: body positive personal training with Ruby Smith-Diaz
Activist work and writing by Raquel Willis: writer, activist, speaker, and organizer for the Transgender Law Center

Room magazine would not be the organization it is today without the love and labour of so many amazing Black women and non-binary community members. In particular, Chelene Knight was the managing editor of Room for three years and the festival director of Growing Room Literary Festival for two, building the foundation of a magazine and a literary festival centred on care. Nailah King and Christina Cooke who authored the original readling lists spotlighting Black authors and championed and edited Room's first ever Women of Colour issue with such care and brilliance back in 2016 (now sold out). Jillian Christmas has provided support, resources, and mentorship over the past year to Room's current managing editor and festival director, which have been monumentally important. Cicely Blain Consulting has worked with us with the Growing Room Literary festival for the past two years and has provided teachings on how to act with strategy, thought, and care to implement equity and inclusion in festival organizing and beyond. Black women and femmes forever.

Jessica Johns is a Nehiyaw aunty and managing editor of Room magazine. She is also a co-organizer of the Indigenous Brilliance reading series and a proud kombucha parent.

“It's Canadian, feminist, and one of my favourite things ever.”

—bucketofrhymes, "29 Amazing Literary Magazines You Need To Be Reading", Buzzfeed Books

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