In the world of literature and art, coffee table books hold a special place. However, these oversized, beautifully designed staples are more than decorative accents for your living room. They are compilations of creative ideas, collaborative works of art, and artistic mediums.

Coffee table books are anthologies. And offer a curated collection of artistic works that inspire, provoke thought, and open new avenues for self-expression. Many, such as those featured in this article, are the result of collaboration among multiple artists. These artists are skilled in vast disciplines: writing, photography, fashion, and design. Showcasing the power of collective creativity.

Let’s explore coffee table books by Black artists. These are not just about visual inspiration, but also testaments to the rich tapestry of Black creativity.

Photo Books for Your Coffee Table

“The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion” by Antwaun Sargent

“The New Black Vanguard” is a breathtaking visual journey celebrating the groundbreaking work of Black photographers in the fashion and art world. The visionary lens of photographers Addy Campbell and Arielle Bobb-Willis challenges conventional standards of beauty and identity. Sargent’s curation showcases the power and influence of these artists. And redefines what it means to be seen, beautiful, and Black. This book is not just a collection of stunning images. It’s a homage to the cultural shift happening in the world of fashion and art. Black creatives are taking the center stage.

“Black Food: Stories, Art and Recipes from Across the African Diaspora [A Cookbook]” by Bryant Terry

Coffee table books can also water your taste buds. Bryant Terry’s “Black Food” is a culinary vision that takes readers on a gastronomic journey across the African Diaspora. Through vibrant recipes, engaging stories, and masterful food photography, this cookbook celebrates the diverse and rich food traditions of Black communities. It’s a wonderful celebration of culture and identity through the universal language of food. 

“Unseen: Unpublished Black History from the New York Times Photo Archives” by Dana Canedy, Darcy Eveleigh, and Damien Cave

“Unseen” is a spiritual journey through history. It features a compilation of unpublished photographs from The New York Times archives. This book offers a unique perspective on the Black experience in America. The photos are accompanied by powerful narratives that unearth hidden stories and highlight unsung heroes. This book provides insight into the struggles and triumphs of Black individuals. It’s a history lesson and visual masterpiece belonging on every coffee table. It reminds us of the importance of remembering our past to shape our future.

“Kwame Brathwaite: Black Is Beautiful” by Kwame Brathwaite

“Black Is Beautiful” is a cultural manifesto. Kwame Brathwaite’s work as a photographer during the 1960s played a pivotal role in promoting the idea of Black beauty and self-empowerment. This book has contributions from Tanisha C. Ford and Deborah Willis. This book explores Brathwaite’s iconic photographs from an era that captured the essence of the Black is Beautiful movement. It’s a captivating blend of fashion, activism, and identity. 

“Supreme Models: Iconic Black Women Who Revolutionized Fashion” by Marcellas Reynold

The world of fashion is about clothing, art, and self-expression. “Supreme Models” pays tribute to iconic Black women who left an undeniable mark on the fashion industry. Marcellas Reynolds delves into the lives and careers of legendary models who broke barriers, defied stereotypes, and redefined the concept of beauty. This book features striking photography and engaging narratives.

Coffee table books are windows to creativity and celebration of the rich diversity within the Black artistic community. It is a reminder that art can transcend boundaries. These books serve as an invitation to explore, engage, and appreciate the multifaceted world of Black artistry and culture, making them essential additions to any coffee table, particularly those of Black women and women of color who are at the forefront of shaping the future of art and culture.

Aysia Morton, a culture and travel writer, wrote this story.