Use the capitalized term as an adjective in a racial, ethnic, or cultural sense: Black people, Black culture, Black literature, Black studies, Black colleges.
African American is not necessarily interchangeable. Americans of Caribbean heritage, for example, generally refer to themselves as Caribbean American. Follow an individual’s preference if known, and be specific when possible and relevant. Minneapolis has a large Somali American population because of refugee resettlement. The author is Senegalese American.
Use of the capitalized Black recognizes that language has evolved, along with the common understanding that especially in the United States, the term reflects a shared identity and culture rather than a skin color alone.
(Source: AP Stylebook)