Culture Lists

Black Women in Love: 4 Books for Valentine’s Day

Valentines is here! But don't worry, Sistem contributor Ibukun isn't going to start poking around and ask where your boyfriend is. In her debut piece for our platform, she is listing the romantic books that centre Black love and incite Black joy.

Often in mainstream media the image of Black women is reserved for hardship, and 2020 seemed no different, with the pandemic, acts of continued police brutality, and the Black Lives Matter protests. In trying to make a conscious effort to seek Black JOY from the entertainment I consumed, I found a number of books living up to this demand!

With Valentine’s Day here, I wanted to share four of those books that centre love, specifically Black women receiving all the love we deserve.

  1. The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory

Great for fans of that classic rom-com trope “enemies turned lovers”, The Wedding Party focuses on Maddie and Theo – two people who despite sharing the same best friend, hate each other. And what’s the opposite of hate?

Amazing sex, apparently. 

Jasmine Guillory gives us teasing glances, secret hook-ups and descriptive scenes. If you’ve never opened a romance novel before, this is a great introduction.

It’s also Book Three of The Wedding Date series, and though each book is connected you won’t be lost if you jump straight in with this one.

  1. Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Labelled ‘A Pride & Prejudice Remix’, Pride focuses on Zuri Benitez, an Afro-Latino Brooklyn-ite who fiercely loves her family and her neighbourhood, and will fight anyone and anything that threatens it.

Enter gentrification and her new neighbours – the Darcy brothers.

While the source material lets us know romance is in Zuri’s future, love surrounds her in many ways. Whether it comes from her family, or her neighbours, our protagonist is cared for just as much as she cares for those around her.

  1. Love In Colour by Bolu Babalola

Inspired by myths from across the globe, each short story in Love In Colour is named after its female protagonist, who themselves are inspired by goddesses, royalty and characters of the author’s own creation.  

As you move from story to story, you’ll find it hard to not fall in love multiple times. Each woman has the agency to go for what they desire and who they love.

Honestly, every story is a moment to be savoured. Enjoy them.

  1. If I Don’t Have You by Sareeta Domingo

If I Don’t Have You allows us to see the lives of two people in love. But it’s never that simple. 

Kayla is trying to achieve her dreams and is not about to let anything distract her. But as you probably guessed, sis gets distracted. By a fine man named Ren.

As a young twenty-something trying to figure my shit out, this book speaks to me on several levels. And with each illustrative sex scene, I cursed the pandemic more. 

These books can be found in most bookstores, but I’ve listed a few below which are either Black-owned or independent, enjoy:

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