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.
The Rihanna Book
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.
Supreme Models: Iconic Black Women Who Revolutionized Fashion
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.
Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech Special Edition
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).
The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion
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.
Hoda Kotb: I Really Needed This Today
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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Charmaine Patterson is a journalist, lifestyle blogger, and a lover of all things pop culture. While she has much experience in covering top entertainment news stories, she aims to share her everyday life experiences, old and new, with other women who can relate, laugh, and love along with her. Follow Char on Twitter @charjpatterson, Instagram @charpatterson, and keep up with her journey at CharJPatterson.com .
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Chief Mom Officer: 23 Quotes From Working Moms Finding Their Balance
The truth is, Black moms create magic every single day. Whether we're juggling motherhood with a busy 9-5, a thriving business, or staying at home to run a household, no day is short of amazing when you're managing life as a mommy. This Mother's Day, xoNecole is giving flowers to CMOs (Chief Mom Officers) in business who exemplify the strength it takes to balance work with motherhood. We've commissioned these ladies, who are pillars in their respective industries, for tidbits of advice to get you through the best and worst days of mothering. Here, they share their "secret sauce" and advice for other moms trying to find their rhythm.
Emmelie De La Cruz, Chief Strategist at One Day CMO
"My mom friends and I all laugh and agree: Motherhood is the ghettoest thing you will ever do. It's beautiful and hard all at the same time, but one day you will wake up and feel like 'I got this' and you will get the hang of it. After 4 months, I finally felt like I found my footing to keep my kid and myself alive, but it took vulnerability to take off the cape and be honest about the areas that I didn't have it all together. The healing (physically and emotionally) truly does happen in community - whatever and whoever that looks like for you."
Alizè V. Garcia, Director Of Social & Community Impact at Nike
"I would tell a new mom or a prospective mother that they must give themselves grace, understand and remember there is no right way to do this thing and have fun! When I had my daughter three and a half years ago, I was petrified! I truly had no clue about what to do and how I was going to do it. But with time, my confidence grew and I realized quickly that I have all the tools I need to be the mother I want to be."
Nikki Osei-Barrett, Publicist + Co-Founder of The Momference
"There's no balance. I'm dropping sh*t everywhere! However, my secret sauce is pursuing interests and hobbies outside of what's required of me and finding time to workout. Stronger body equals = stronger mind."
Lauren Grove, Chief Experience Architect, The Grant Access, LLC
"I try to give myself grace. That’s my mantra for this phase of motherhood…grace. I won’t be able to get everything done. To have a spotless house. To not lose my cool after an exhausting day. Those things can’t happen all of the time. But I can take a deep breath and know tomorrow is another day and my blessings are more plentiful than my pitfalls."
Rachel Nicks, Founder & CEO of Birth Queen
"You have the answers within you. Don’t compare yourself to others. Curate your life to work for you. Ask for help."
Tanisha Colon-Bibb, Founder + CEO Rebelle Agency + Rebelle Management
"I know love doesn't pay bills but when I am overwhelmed with work or client demands I take a moment to play with my baby and be reminded of the love, energy, science, and Godliness that went into his birth. I am brightened by his smile and laugh. I remember I am someone's parent and not just a work horse. That at the end of the day everything will work out for the good of my sanity and the love within my life."
Christina Brown, Founder of LoveBrownSugar & BabyBrownSugar
"Learning your rhythm as a mom takes time and can be uncomfortable when you’re in a season of overwhelm. Constantly check in with yourself and assess what’s working and what’s not. Get the help you need without feeling guilty or ashamed of needing it."
Mecca Tartt, Executive Director of Startup Runway Foundation
"I want to be the best for myself, my husband, children and company. However, the reality is you can have it all but not at the same time. My secret sauce is outsourcing and realizing that it’s okay to have help in order for me to perform at the highest level."
Jen Hayes Lee, Head Of Marketing at The Bump (The Knot Worldwide)
"My secret sauce is being direct and honest with everyone around me about what I need to be successful in all of my various "jobs". Setting boundaries is one thing, but if you're the only one who knows they exist, your partners at home and on the job can't help you maintain them. I also talk to my kids like adults and let them know why mommy needs to go to this conference or get this massage...they need to build an appreciation for my needs too!"
Whitney Gayle-Benta, Chief Music Officer JKBX
"What helps me push through each day is the motivation to continue by thinking about my son. All my efforts, though exhausting, are to create a wonderful life for him."
Ezinne Okoro, Global Chief Inclusion, Equity, & Diversity Officer at Wunderman Thompson,
"The advice I received that I’ll pass on is, you will continue to figure it out and find your rhythm as your child grows into new stages. Trust your nurturing intuition, parent on your terms, and listen to your child."
Jovian Zayne, CEO of The OnPurpose Movement
"I live by the personal mantra: 'You can’t be your best self by yourself.' My life feels more balanced when I offer the help I can give and ask for the help I need. This might mean outsourcing housecleaning for my home, or hiring additional project management support for my business."
Simona Noce Wright, Co-Founder of District Motherhued and The Momference
"Each season of motherhood (depending on age, grade, workload) requires a different rhythm. With that said, be open to learning, to change, and understand that what worked for one season may not work the other...and that's okay."
Janaye Ingram, Director of Community Partner Programs and Engagement at Airbnb
"My daughter's smile and sweet spirit help me to feel gratitude when I'm overwhelmed. I want her to see a woman who doesn't quit when things get hard."
Codie Elaine Oliver, CEO & Founder of Black Love
"I try to listen to my body and simply take a break. With 3 kids and a business with 10+ team members, I often feel overwhelmed. I remind myself that I deserve grace for everything I'm juggling, I take a walk or have a snack or even head home to see my kids, and then I get back to whatever I need to get done."
Jewel Burks Solomon, Managing Partner at Collab Capital
"Get comfortable with the word ‘no’. Be very clear about your non-negotiables and communicate them to those around you."
Bridget Bogee, Marketing Lead At Meta
"Ask for help and always prioritize making time for you."
Julee Wilson, Executive Director at BeautyUnited and Beauty Editor-at-Large at Cosmopolitan
"Understand you can’t do it alone — and that’s ok. Relinquish the need to control everything. Create a village and lean on them."
Salwa Benyaich, Director Of Pricing and Planning at Premion
"Most days I really try to shut my computer off by 6 pm; there are always exceptions of course when it comes to big deals or larger projects but having this as a baseline allows me to be much more present with my kids. I love the fact that I can either help with homework or be the designated driver to at least one afterschool activity. Work can be draining but there is nothing more emotionally draining than when you feel as though you are missing out on moments with your kids."
Brooke Ellis, Head of Global Marketing & Product Launches at Amazon Music
My calendar, prayer, pilates class at Forma, a good playlist, and oatmilk lattes all help get me through any day.
Courtney Beauzile, Global Director of Client and Business Development at Shearman & Sterling
My husband is a partner who steps in when I just can’t. My mom and my MIL come through whenever and however I need. My kids have many uncles and aunts and they will lend an ear, go over homework, teach life lessons, be a presence or a prayer warrior depending on the day.
Robin Snipes, Chief of Staff at Meta
"Enjoy the time you have to yourself because once kids come those times will be few and far between."
Monique Bivens, CEO & Founder at Brazilian Babes LLC.
"For new moms, it is very important that you get back into a habit or routine of something you use to do before you were pregnant. Consider the actives and things that give you the most joy and make the time to do them."
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