As PRSA Orlando continues work in diversity, equity, and inclusion, one of our newest initiatives is the PRSA Orlando Book of the Month!
In celebration of Black History Month, we chose The Black Friend by best-selling author Frederick Joseph. In The Black Friend, Joseph speaks to the reader as he wishes he’d spoken to his friends, unpacking hurtful race-related anecdotes from his past and sharing how he might handle things differently now. We chose this book because of the author’s meaningful social justice efforts to remove barriers to bring movies and books to the lives of thousands and thousands of children. Read more about the book and its fascinating author below. For further Black History Month resources, please refer to the articles below.
About the book:
“We don’t see color.” “I didn’t know Black people liked Star Wars!” “What hood are you from?” As a student in a largely white high school, Frederick Joseph often simply let wince-worthy moments go. When he grew older, he saw them as missed opportunities to stand up for himself and bring awareness to those who didn’t see the hurt they caused. Here, Joseph speaks to the reader as he wishes he’d spoken to his friends, unpacking hurtful race-related anecdotes from his past and sharing how he might handle things differently now.
Each chapter also features the voice and experience of an artist or activist, including Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give; April Reign, creator of #OscarsSoWhite; and Jemele Hill, sports journalist, and podcast host. From cultural appropriation to power dynamics, “reverse racism” to white privilege, this book is a conversation starter, tool kit, and window into the life of a former “token Black kid.” Black matter includes an encyclopedia of racism, including details on historical events and terminology.
About the author:
Frederick is a two-time New York Times bestselling author of The Black Friend (2020) and Patriarchy Blues (2022) and the author of Better Than We Found It (2022). Frederick also writes about marketing, culture, and politics for the Huffington Post, USA Today, NowThisNews, The Independent, and Cosmopolitan, amongst others.
Frederick is the sole creator of the largest GoFundMe campaign in history, the #BlackPantherChallenge, which ultimately generated over $43 million dollars in earned advertising and media for Disney and raised over $950K, and allowed more than 75,000 children worldwide to see ‘Black Panther’ for free.
Resources and reviews on The Black Friend:
- Author website and other books by Frederick Joseph
- Let’s Get LITerary podcast: We Chat: The Black Friend with Frederick Joseph, Part 1
- Let’s Get LITerary podcast: We Chat: The Black Friend, Part 2
- New York Times: Want to Talk About Racism? Sit Next to Frederick Joseph
- Candlewick Press Teachers’ Guide on The Black Friend
- Read “Orlando Celebrates African American History in February and All Year Long” on VisitOrlando.com to learn of ways you can support the Black community in Central Florida.
- Check out this extensive guide from Google’s Arts & Culture project, “Black Histories, Black Futures: The past, present, and future of the Black experience in the United States.”