Today is not only a leap day, but it is also the final day of Black History Month 2016. It has been very eventful in so many great ways. It has been filled with moments that have made it my favorite Black History Month in memory.
It started off exciting with Cam Newton leading the Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, they did not win, but I respect that Cam continued to be himself in spite of people calling him a “thug” and abusing him of being inappropriate. Really he’s just a confident, talented Black man who expresses his culture. Around the same time Beyoncé randomly dropped the Formation video which was a tribute to Black culture and took it up a notch bringing it to the Super Bowl and paying tribute to the Black Panthers on one of the biggest events of the year. Kendrick Lamar blew through the Grammys with another major moment representing Black culture in a major way. It was incredible to see unapologetic Blackness on display for the world to see. It was a true celebration of the culture that did not pretty it up or water it down for the masses. I was so proud.
We were treated to the best dunk contest in many years this NBA All-Star weekend. People are still debating that one. Aaron Gordon’s dunk was one of the best I’ve ever seen. It was also Kobe’s last All-Star game which made it feel a bit surreal that he is retiring and taking his victory lap. He and great Black athletes like Charles Woodson, after many years of electrifying sports and changing the game are leaving. It’s bittersweet.
Beyoncé also helped spark renewed interest in the Black Panthers which helped to dispell many myths about them. Watching the documentary on PBS and getting to see them as protectors looking out for Black neighborhoods and providing healthcare and free food to children. It changes the light that’s shown on them, which is important in context of the current movement. Nate Parker’s Birth Of A Nation lit up Sundance and will be lighting up screens in October. It is the story of Nat Turner, which many have said is incredible. I can’t wait to see it. Channing Dungey was announced as the first Black woman to be President of ABC.
Ultra Light Beam happened, which is a moment in itself. 106 year old Virginia McLaurin got to meet President Obama & the First Lady which was a powerful moment that showed how far we’ve come. Blackish aired an incredibly important episode on Black Lives Matter that was beautifully done and powerful. Tiffany “New York” Pollard returned to TV like only she can which is important.
Steph Curry has been being Steph Curry, continuing to prove himself one of the best shooters to ever do it. It was just a beautiful time in celebrating not only distant past achievements, but also the history being made right now.
Sadly this is the last year that we will have a Black First Family for a while. It’s been quite a journey and while I know there will be another Black man or woman as President in the future, it’s still emotional going through this last year. I’ve been truly appreciating what it has meant to have President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in the White House. The other night I watched the Ray Charles tribute at the White House, closed by President Obama joining in on the singing and couldn’t help, but think, “What a time to be alive!” There are still so many problems and so much work ahead, but it has been a truly wonderful experience having them in the White House.
The Oscars took place and after all of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy leading up to it, there was a lot surrounding it. Chris Rock managed to use his talents as a comedy to speak on serious issues such as diversity within Hollywood as a whole. Just looking at it & seeing the impact of #OscarsSoWhite on the show let’s us know how important raising these issues are. Hopefully in the future we’ll begin to see change.
Many people decided not to support it at all & instead tuned in to Ava Duvernay and Ryan Coogler’s Justice For Flint concert and fundraiser. There were great moments such as performances by Jazmine Sullivan, Musiq SoulChild, Janelle Monae & even Stevie Wonder. It was also a great opportunity to look into the lives of local people & what the water crisis has done to their lives. Much money was raised as well. Overall, it was just another great moment in Black culture. This year was even more special because we got an extra day. For me it was all a reminder that there are great moments in Black history happening now & we can all make an impact. There are still alot of issues facing the Black community, but through achievement and pride in ourselves and our culture, we can keep pushing forward. This is an election year & it’s important that we vote and make sure no one who will send us backward makes it to the White House. We must vote so that President Obama’s work is not undone. Happy extra day of Black History Month & remember to celebrate the culture and achievements all year round.
What has been some highlight moments this Black History Month for you? #Talkish