Celebrating Black Artists

For Black History & Futures Month, we reached out to our WCH community and asked which Black authors, musicians, and filmmakers they’re celebrating this month.

Black History & Futures Month Book Club

Earlier this month, we asked our staff and physicians: What are your favourite books by Black authors, or who are your favourite Black authors? Their answers informed our Book Club reading list. We encourage everyone to take part by picking up a book from the list that might be new to them!

a cartoon drawing of a collection of books by black authors

Favourite books by Black authors:

  • The Book of Negroes – Lawrence Hill
  • The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison
  • Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi
  • The Water Dancer – Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Beloved – Toni Morrison
  • Queenie – Candice Carty-Williams
  • Black Buck – Mateo Askaripour
  • Transcendent Kingdom – Yaa Gyasi
  • Half of a Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Favourite Black authors:

  • James Baldwin
  • Colson Whitehead
  • Isabel WIlkerson
  • Malcolm X
  • Octavia Butler
  • Lawrence Hill
  • Toni Morrison
  • Esi Edugyan

Black History & Futures Month Mixtapes

Black musicians have influenced modern music for decades, with many current genres of music havign their roots in Black culture. Without Black musicians, the music we know and love today wouldn’t exist. Early Black music became the inspiration for rock n’ roll and pop; many of our favourite jazz tunes were influenced by or the product of Black musicians. From motown and reggae to rhynthm & blues and pop, take a look at some notable favourite Black musicians.

cartoon drawing of several black musicians playing instruments while surrounded by mixtapes
infographic of various black musicians in different genres

Black History & Futures Month Film Reels

cartoon drawing of black actors at a red carpet beside the movie posters of several black made films

While being widely underrepresented in formal film awards, Black actors, directors, producers, and film makers have been an integral part of the movie industry since the early 1900s, when Black directors were making silent films like The Flames of Wrath and The Railroad Porter. Despite the challenges faced by Black artists and film makers, moves about and by Black artists have continued to inspire movie goers and and introduce them to Black characters and tell Black stories. Here are some notable Black artists in the film industry.

Black directors

Despite the numerous Black directors in Hollywood, only six Black directors have ever been nominated for Best Director Oscars, and all of them are male:

Black Directors nominated for Best Director OscarsNotable Black woman directors
Barry Jenkins
Steve McQueen
Spike Lee
Lee Daniels
John Singleton
Jordan Peele
Ava DuVernay
Victoria Mahoney
Maria P. Williams
Julie Dash
Debbie Allen
Janicza Bravo
Nia DaCosta

WCH’s favourite movies about Black stories/made by Black film makers:

  • Malcolm X
  • Selma
  • Hidden Figures
  • Black Panther
  • The Hate U Give
  • Get Out
  • Hair Love
  • 42
  • Moonlight
  • 13th

Black actors/actresses

Only a handful of Black actors have actually won awards for their work in the film industry. Most notable among the group is Sidney Poitier, the first Black actor out of four to win an Oscar for Best Actor, and Halle Berry, the first and only Black woman to win a Best Actress Oscar. Only 14 other Black actors have won Oscars for their performances. Here are some of WCH’s favourite Black actors and actresses:

  • Denzel Washington
  • Taraji P. Henson
  • Idris Elba
  • Chadwick Boseman
  • Halle Berry
  • Viola Davis
  • Will Smith
  • Samuel L. Jackson
  • Jamie Foxx
  • Donald Glover
  • Michael Clarke Duncan
  • Zendaya
  • Ice Cube