Magazines on coffee tables have served as conversation starters for as long as I can remember. I'm sure my beloved Granny wasn't the only one who had stacks of Ebony and JET on (and underneath) her coffee table. And other than JET serving as the source of my first crush (it was on former President Barack Obama back in his days as a Senator *swoons*), coffee table books are surely more than just decoration.
But now, the décor has evolved from magazines to oversized statement books. Don't get me wrong, I still keep quite a bit of magazines on my ottoman. They just aren't going away. But now, it's complemented with books that educate, spark conversation, and if nothing else, salute Black culture (and are great gift ideas).
Check out a few coffee table books that are bound to serve as inspiration and entertainment.
*This list is specially curated by the xoNecole team and some links are affiliate links. If you purchase an item from an affiliate link, xoNecole might earn a small commission.
Rihanna broke the Internet more than once when this one was announced. She released The Rihanna Book with more than 1,000 photos while fans wait with anticipation for her next album. The book spans across 504 pages and includes several "intimate" pictures of the Savage X Fenty creator, showing her "life as a musician, performer, designer, and entrepreneur," according to a press release. This book was five years in the making, and just like many of the other things Rihanna does, it's guaranteed to start some type of conversation with you and your guests. It has a price tag of $100 on Amazon, and the Rihanna: Fenty X Phaidon edition is $175. That one is also accompanied by a steel tabletop bookstand.
This book is the first to ever clap it up for Black models. It applauds veterans like Iman and Beverly Johnson and shows love to the ladies they paved the way for, including Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell. It also salutes the new ladies who are making their mark in the modeling industry like Jourdan Dunn and Joan Smalls. Celebrity stylist and journalist Marcellas Reynolds penned this book to close the gap in the lack of celebration for black models. According to a synopsis: "Black models have been influencing fashion and pop culture for decades, reshaping the standards and boundaries of beauty. Supreme Models is a celebration of their monumental impact." And it's only $26 on Amazon.
As the artistic director of Louis Vuitton's men's line, lots of people want to hear (or read) what Virgil Abloh has to say. This coffee table book is three different works of art in one. It has a catalog section with essays and interviews from fashion industry icons, an archives section with more than 1,800 images that hadn't yet seen the light of day, and the index, which displays Abloh's projects. It doesn't come without a few accolades as it was named New York Magazine's Most Giftable Coffee-Table Books of 2019. If you're ready to find out why a brand new one will cost about $150 at Barnes & Noble (you can also get a used one for roughly $92).
Brought to you by writer and curator Antwaun Sargent, The New Black Vanguard confronts the recent revolution we've witnessed in the fashion and art worlds. A synopsis reads, "In a richly illustrated essay, Sargent opens up the conversation around the role of the Black body in the marketplace; the cross-pollination between art, fashion, and culture in constructing an image; and the institutional barriers that have historically been an impediment to Black photographers participating more fully in the fashion (and art) industries."
Sargent highlights 15 artist portfolios like photographer Tyler Mitchell, who made history as the first Black photographer to shoot an American Vogue cover. Campbell Addy, who was the first Black photographer to work with Naomi Campbell in 33 years for a high-fashion shoot is also featured. Who doesn't want to talk about that? The book is currently $45 on Amazon.
There are few things better than therapeutic inspiration on your coffee table. Hoda Kotb's book, I Really Needed This Today, is a collection of the Today host's favorite and most inspirational quotes that have previously graced her Instagram account. The title of the book is a nod to the several times fans and followers commented on her posts with, "I Really Needed This Today." The piece includes 365 sayings to get you through the year and inspire your unassuming party guests.
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