Black Excellence Month
It’s Black History Month. And you know what that means. School reports on your favorite Black somebody, or if you’re White, Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. This is the month where we get to celebrate the entire centuries-long legacy and history of our race via specials from McDonald’s and Very Special “Soul Food” cafeteria lunch days. It’s a beautiful thing, really. For one month out of the year we get to really be ourselves and kick back as America lovingly celebrates our people and the contributions we made to society. Happily.
But that’s all bullshit, isn’t it. Aside from our minor sense of pride in being able to quote the most arcane tidbits of Black History trivia possible, the month either passes by fairly innocuously or worse, with a bunch of resistance from the majority culture, which sees this and any other celebration of “Black” things (as well as MLK Day) to be some sort of reverse-racism. I often find that instead of having a relaxed celebration and reflection on what it really means to be me; to share in my race’s successes and failures and struggles; I usually just end up tired from having to defend the month while receiving almost nothing from our hollow celebrations of it.
Well we’re trying to do our part to change that. This year, the fancy gubment folks saw fit to add a second to our clocks. That, added to the extra day we get from the leap year, mean’s that this is OFFICIALLY the longest Black History Month ever. So let’s celebrate! Let’s pop some bubbly and let’s make this one special, huh?
But really, what we’re planning to do here is something called Black Excellence Month. All credit to the name can be directed to @JayBake on twitter. In concurrence with the minor site changes (hope you like them), it’s a similar concept to last year’s 28 Black People Who Make White People Uncomfortable (which also will be making a comeback as part of BEM), mixed in with the great ideas from Thickwitness’s Black Future Month concept last year, with some new wrinkles added in. What I’m trying to do is have at least a post a day of one thing or person that really makes me glad to be Black, whether that be something or someone past or present. I want to do profiles on other bloggers and people like me and also historical things. I just really want to portray why it rocks to be Black. Not as a reactionary thing bashing Whites, but as an organic effort to make us feel good about being us…and not needing to be anything more.
It’s a loose concept, I know. And feel free to hit me up on twitter or email us to give ideas or writing submissions. We love them. We need them. I have a few more posts coming today….it’ll be great. But to open Black Excellence Month, I give you the first something that inspires me, Michelle Obama’s appearance on Leno last night:
Aside from how absolutely gorgeous the First Lady looked and how I kinda salivated by the TV the entire time (sorry Barack), I just had a moment last night where I think it finally hit me that this was a Black First Lady…an honest-to-goodness cocoa butter-loving, humidity hating, curvy, outspoken, Black Woman from the Southside….along with an actual Black family (a husband who plays basketball and loves Al Green…daughters who had to wear the little patent leather shoes and stockings….a grandmother who passes out peppermints in church) in the White House. I had an overwhelming sense of kinship with them. I have no idea where it came from, and why it’s so strong today and not in 2008. But last night I felt so much pride in just being able to be me. It was special.
And so we kick off Black Excellence Month. Live it up.
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