As Black History Month comes to a close, can we take a moment to acknowledge and applaud the efforts of this generation? For as long as I’ve remembered, Black History Month was a time to remember all the great things Civil Rights pioneers like Martin Luther King Jr., Malcom X, and Rosa Parks to name a few did. How they fearlessly fought for the rights of blacks to be seen as equals. To be given enough respect to sit anywhere they pleased on a bus, to vote, to drink from the same water fountains and use the same bathrooms as their white peers.
But this month, we made history ourselves. Instead of just learning from the greatness of the past, we made some incredibly powerful noise this month. I think we can agree that February 2016 was the best Black History Month ever. So good, we got an extra day!
Urban pop culture gets a bad rap for perpetuating stereotypes and putting value in the wrong things, but I think it was used for good this February 2016.
Though there were a few moments that did it for me from the black love inspiration the Obamas gave us to the new black American Girl Doll that will come with a series of stories that chronicles her life during the 1960s Civil Rights era, there were three pop culture moments I’ll always remember.
Like the time Beyonce got us all in Formation at the Super Bowl. At one of the country’s major events, where the whole world is watching, Beyonce took to the field dressed in all black. She primed us with the release of the video before her performance, but were we expecting the world’s biggest entertainer to go all Black Panther on us? These girls were shaking it in sync with afros under black berets. And while people criticized how Beyoncé was dressed, I got it. I understood that to get people to listen, you’ve got to do something to get them to pay attention. Check and check.
And speaking of the Black Panthers, their documentary that aired on PBS a week later was EVERYTHING. I knew about the Black Panthers such as their breakfast program and how they protected black communities from police officers up to no good (said in my Foxy Brown voice), but I learned how they were a community. How they were united with a purpose.
Before that, Kendrick Lamar hit the stage at the Grammys (THE GRAMMYs!!) to give a theatrical and moving black pride performance while unveiling the chained similarities of slavery and incarceration. And when the lights dimmed, all that was seen was the glowing shape of Africa with the words Compton scrolled across it. *insert clapping emoji here*
This Black History Month was incredible. It was incredible because we were reminded of the change the people before us made while making changes of our own. We used social media to spread awareness and kick knowledge to those who are still asleep. We learned to be proud and comfortable proclaiming black pride.
And let me say this before I wrap this up. Being proud to be black doesn’t mean being anti-white. Black pride is a reminder to love being black and to be proud to be born with all that melanin, even when outside influencers are telling you not to.
Image credit: Beyoncé’s Instagram