Black History Month is a wonderful time of year, my favorite, of course, is sharing this clip from an old movie. However, this year things were a bit different for me. I wanted to see what I could do about making Black History and celebration a 365-type deal. As I perused in Harvard’s bookstore screaming at 60-dollar sweatshirts saying “Veri Tas” I realized that I'm a writer. So why don’t I write about being black beyond February? In this written collage of celebrating being Black allow me to show you how I keep it 365 and how you can take a month of celebration into your life.
28 Days of Melanin Bliss:
Damn, I am one fine melanin-rich anxious cucumber, hold the vinaigrette. I love how February is a time to see how amazing we as a people come together and celebrate being us. If you didn’t get jiggy alongside us, here is something to look out for beyond black history facts re-shared over and over. Keep an eye out for black businesses hosting sales, or sharing products during the month. Re-share, repost, and follow those shops. Even if you don’t buy anything in the month of February, guess what? There are eleven more months of opportunity to support black-owned businesses and shops.
Secondly, my favorite part of Black History Month is all the present-day artists that circulate into my social media feeds. This year I was introduced to “28 days of black J fashion” and was highly blessed and favored to be in a few of these shares. Let me tell you, I was hype as hell to see Black people in alternative styles and j-fashion. It meant I had more inspirations and people to look to when I’m feeling the fashion blues. In general, it’s just exciting to see people who break the molds and get creative with style. Outside of these style icons, there is “28 days of Black Cosplayers” and “28 days of Black Artists”. If you didn’t click that follow button immediately what are you doing with your life? These tags help create an opportunity to engage with more diversity and talents. I like to think adding these artists and cosplays makes my world populated with more people who look like me in these social media spaces.
Finally, the last big moment of February that was also introduced to me this year was “28 days of black writers”. I am astonished it took this long for literary spaces to acknowledge Black writers outside of the works they teach in a class by Fredrick Douglas and Maya Angelou. No shade, but why did it take so long for me to learn about other black writers in academic spaces? Why did it feel like Slave narratives were the only thing black people could write on to receive any accolade in literary spaces. Well, at age 23 I cursed academic spaces and sought more on my own. It’s actually really helpful that local libraries do displays of Black writers, besides Urban romances. In the 28 days of black writers, I found new writers to look up to and engage with. On top of that, I felt more motivated to seek out black journalism and black fiction writers in the genres of my choice. Black writers set the literary lens, and I am proud to count myself among them.
Month versus a Lifetime:
Unpacking generational curses, self-hatred mentality, and learning just to love myself as a black femme is not an easy journey for my 20’s. However, it's extremely necessary for me to experience these things. I enjoy February for all its wonders and Black Joy, but I really need to start understanding that I am Black all 365 days of the year and every leap year. While February is a great starter pack to exploring what being Black means to me, I do have eleven more months to explore these concepts and ideas. Which is why I want to write more on topics like “Afro-Kawaii” and “Black 365” because one month is nothing compared to the lifetime of Black I have yet to experience.