Black History Month also known as African-American History, is that time of the year in October in the UK and Europe, where we as black people celebrate ourselves through creativity that is art, dance, music, film, food, academic, political, sport, culture, hair and all our other achievements and contribution to society, which make us great at who we are and what we do.
What I know as Black History Month was Originally created in America and is celebrated in the US and Canada in February. For as long as I can remember, Black History Month has been celebrated in October in UK schools, theatres and libraries. I remember it being covered in my school which felt like a very brief moment and which was taught to us by white teachers. I don’t remember much from those teachings but do know now, although it was Black History Month it was not covered much in the month of October let alone any other month of the year.
I have noticed in this year of 2020, and what a year it has been so far! With the movement of Black Lives Matter, it seems that Black History Month in the UK has been made more aware of on our TVs. A coincidence maybe, maybe not. Either way it is great to have a month where we can celebrate our history and impart onto our younger generation black or other.
So in light of Black History Month, I would like to share a few awe inspiring black academics, creatives and artist.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH | PUBLIC INSPIRATIONAL SPEAKERS
Where are you in the world if you have not heard of Oprah or Michelle Obama? Both women are very strong pillars in the black community. Often giving speeches to large academic crowds of the younger generation. Offering sound advice on life, the importance of not taking our given opportunities for granted and so forth. As black people we know if a great opportunity has been given to us, it is not to be wasted, it is to be taken with both hands as we are most often the last in the chain of races, to be offered anything.
Oprah Winfrey is more popularly known as a talk show host on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”, running her show for the better part of two decades. It was the highest rated television program of the time and made Oprah into a rich African-American multi-billionaire. Oprah is also known for being an actress and featured in Steven Spielberg’s heart wrenching film “The Colour Purple”, If you haven’t seen it then please do, I promise it has a happy ending. As well as an inspirational speaker, Oprah is also a very successful writer and has co-authored five books.
Michelle Obama is not just known as “The First Lady” of The United States Of America and the wife of Barack Obama, the first black President of The United States of America! But is also an inspirational speaker and talks to the next generation of academics and entrepreneurs. A woman who has gained a J.D Juris Doctor degree in law and studied at Harvard is charismatic, elegant and intelligent. And an author of her first book, a memoir “Becoming”.
Lupita Nyong’O a Kenyan-Mexican Actress, Autor and daughter of a Kenyan Politician started her film career as a production assistant and later found herself winning an Academy Award for, Best Supporting Actress in the biographical period drama “12 Years A Slave”, and also stared as the sister of the late Chadwick Boseman in “Black Panther”. Lupita can converse in multiple languages in Swahili, Spanish, Luo and English. I did also mention Lupita being an Author, which she has written a beautiful book “Salwe” a New York Times best seller about colourism, self esteem and learning that true beauty comes from within… A little girl who skin is as dark as midnight.
Maya Angelou is an American writer, Poet and civil rights activist. An Autor of seven autobiographies, 3 books of essays and several books of poetry! Maya biographies focus on her early childhood and adult experiences. Probably one of her most popular books is “I Know Why The Mocking Bird Sings” A coming of age story on strength of character battling racism and trauma. Maya Angelou died at the grand age of 86 in 2014.
Roberta Flack a female musician with the most heavenly voice, to soothe away your troubled day. The only solo artist to win a Grammy Award for two consecutive years for The original vocals for “Killing Me Softly”, I know shock horror, Lauryn Hill was not the first vocals for this master piece of a soundtrack but did a marvellous cover version, for what was at the time a modern day version and now a classic of its own. You can hear the original soundtrack here! The second award went to the beautiful haunting sound of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” also covered by another one of my favourite strong female artist “Celine Dion”
Black History Month is a great way to share everything to do with the black history of ethnics. Not having a Black History Month to me, means not celebrating Christmas, I think it is that important.
What Black creative will you explore more this month and beyond?
As always let me know in the comments below : )