Thursday, March 01, 2012

I fully endorse #NewBlackHistoryMonth


Let's face it, this Black History Month sucked. It was not uplifting, rejoicing or affirming. In fact it was depressing, disheartening and disappointing. Our people went missing, died too soon, cut a fool on nationwide tv, got suspended, slandered and dissed, lost awards, and oh yes... this happened:


For those of you clueless (as was I), this is singer Jaheim at Whitney's funeral looking like an extra from The Wiz and apparently begging Jesus to either 1) let him in the church since we're sure he wasn't invited or 2) bring back Whitney who would slap that royal blue monstrosity right off of him. If we can't count on folks to act right at a black funeral, all hope is lost. 

Lookie here, let's not pretend that we don't get short changed on Black History Month anyway. It's the shortest month, there are two holidays in it and it usually takes us a week to figure out where all of our "special programming" has been banished to on the seven channels that care enough to express a damn. (Thanks BIO and PBS!) Companies roll out a commercial two generally featuring MLK and a flickering candle (Coca-Cola, it's time for a new commercial celebrating blackness... please!) and call it a wrap.

I mean it's not like we're expecting reparations in February or anything but could we get more than a documentary or two? I don't know, how about a discount or rebate for persons of African descent who file their taxes in February? Maybe Oprah could sponsor more chicken coupons... (yes, I'm pursing my lips and rolling my eyes hard) Maybe Hollywood could greenlight some films and TV shows created by folks whose last names don't rhyme with airy? These are just a few suggestions.

Anywho... this year, there's a grassroots movement afoot to reboot the Black History Month franchise and snag us a redo for the year 2012. Months proposed are July and August. Why? So that we can make it an official BBQ holiday of course. You know it's not really a celebration until coals get lit.

We could use this reset to do more than talk about Martin Luther the King and slavery, don't you think? Who's with me on exploring more "every day man" experiences from the richness of the diaspora? BougieLand, who thought Black History Month was a wash this year? Who generally ignores it every year? What is something you'd like to see celebrated and/or highlighted as part of #NewBlackHistoryMonth? Do share...

30 comments:

Giggles1128 said...

My church did a focus specifically on Black women this year, and I was so glad they didn't go with the Tubman-Parks-Truth trifecta. I actually learned something new this year.

Jasmin said...

Bleh, I hate posting on an iPad--my handle is Jasmin.

Sol_dier said...

BHM is in Oct over here. So I feel like I get a toofer cos I celebrate in US BHM in feb.

But overall, Everyday is black history month for me. I stay connected and interested in the diaspora.  Gave up in mainstream long time ago and I'm better for it.

Let's make our own ish.

GrownAzzMan said...

Count me in. August needs a holiday too...

taut_7 said...

i don't know chele. regardless of what month BHM is it will continue to be widely ignored by the masses (black or non-black). changing it to summer won't change anything in my opinion. also, showtime had a couple documentaries on demand. don't know how many people caught them but they were pretty good.

as far as BHM being in february i'm pretty sure carter g. woodson (father of achievement week which became black history week then ultimately BHM) chose february because its the birth month of lincoln and fredrick douglass (12th and 14th). 

i'm cool with it being right where it is. those who chose to celebrate it will and those who don't will continue not to.

blackprofessor said...

 Thanks for saying this and reminding us of the history of BHM.

blackprofessor said...

I am fine with BHM being in February.   I would like to see the Black community commit to a collective action during the month that would empower our community so we are doing rather than celebrating.

lessie brown said...

Sometimes I wish our history books were written in compare and contrast fashion. So it would have a section called, "Here's what the old, white dudes were doing." Then another section with a similar time line entitled "MEANWHILE other people who weren't white  were also doing important stuff but the old white dudes had their heads too far up their a88es and didn't bother to notice." and then another section saying "OMG Women were doing sh*t too!" And then while teaching our children history, they could get a better, more inclusive view of how marginalized groups were also actively involved in American (not to mention world) history from the get go. They would also have to start grappling a little earlier on with the less glorious parts of history (racism in the women's movement, post-slavery laws keeping black people constructively enslaved, etc.). In the meantime, I guess things like BHM and Women's History Month are the consolation prizes. /end rant

thinklikeRiley said...

I'll take a do over. February sucked.

lessie brown said...

 Also, I realize this wasn't exactly on point. Sorry.

Mo said...

*real tears* at Jaheim suit. Ol boy can sing though.

As new wave of immigrants to the U.S, I wish  schools  especially grade school, covered black history extensively. I took history for 4 years in H.S.(Kenya), we covered Europe and Africa extensively. We  learned a little a bit  about U.S history. In college I took black history classes, and delved into history books. The sole reason I started supporting PBS  was because the history related topics they cover .  I say this to say that we should not relegate BH history to one month, but I understand the history behind it.

Earthangel172 said...

Black History Month sucked royally this year. I'm in favor of Black History being celebrated year-round and included in all public school curriculum. I believe all children should be educated about the major contributions blacks (and other minorities) have made in American society.  ::steps off my soapbox::

I would also like to add that Viola got robbed at the Oscars this year. Evening BougieLand.

CaliGirlED said...

Yeah it did seem like an overall wash. My church did acknowledge Black History month and had some current achievers speak. I think a good direction would be to reflect on the memories of our great ancestors' struggles and achievements; reflect on current achievements; and set future goals. Reflection, acknowledgment and projection.

Leon X said...

Carter G. Woodson had the right idea. Heck at one point Black History Month was Black History Week. We just need to quit dragging out The Usual Suspects (Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Martin Luther King, and now President Obama).

BklynBajan said...

Jaheim's obituary will include a picture or reference to this unfortunate fit out.

I wish more people would do as my mom did and make every lesson more inclusive of Black Talking points even when the school books didn't. If we had to do a report we couldn't just copy out of the text book or Encylcopedia at home - we had to *gasp* go to the library, dig through those dang card catalogues and get whatever information we needed to complete the assignment with someone other than what the book talked about. As a child of West Indians I think I ended up educating  my teacher a lot about the islands. It doesn't matter what month is designated as BHM - those that want to teach their children will - those that are waiting for others to tell them or depend on Wikipedia will keep passing the buck.

GuessImJay said...

I'm sorry, my brain stalled at the suit.

Jamie Wesley said...

My birthday is in February, so I've always liked that Black History Month was the same month. It's just a little extra that makes me happy. Because of that and because of the reasons February was chosen for BHM, I'm all for leaving it alone.

With that said, it really sucked that Whitney went and died on my birthday. From major high to major low...

rozb said...

I hate that the lasting view of BHM is Jaheim in his blue raspberry Jolly Rancher villain suit. I wanna kick him.

I had to tell somebody who asked why there was no White History Month. I asked him to name a month where a White person or historic event was not celebrated. He looked at me kinda stupid, and said, well - they spread our accomplishments around. You cannot make this shiggity up. I told him they haven't told our story enough.

rozb said...

Twitter killed the suit. It was too much!

DB said...

Even Harold Pener thinks that is an ugly suit.

GammasWorld said...

And this is still my favorite LOL 

GammasWorld said...

Forgot the pic LOL 

GammasWorld said...

Count me in for the #NewBlackHistoryMonth.  Since our history is still not integrated into American History  what you gon' do?    Instead of everybody with any influence trying to get on cable news and what not, I wish ... well never mind.    Anyway, count me in.  

GammasWorld said...

Roz, I was trying to share that pic of Jaheim ala the Lion King.  Girl that thing is funny as heck. 

M Dot said...

Jaheim, the Willy Wonka look-a-like party is THAT WAY *points to Antarctica*  

Note the reaction of my man in the white jeff cap.

Ace of Rambles said...

I thought Jaheim photoshopped that pic.

Helese Itheopiah Chiamaka said...

I stopped reading when you said "marginalized groups." No group that is actually considered "marginalized" feels that they are, so it's insulting. That term is either non profit jargon or some other mindF*** to get "us" to believe that we are some how the "minority." And it's not that "old white dudes" didn't notice what was going on, they were busy raping and pillaging, and hiding the truth. Wash, rinse, repeat. Or should I say "Ethnic cleanse, brainwash, and repeat?" 
www.helesetalks.wordpress.com and I also write for www.blackstarnews.com

lessie brown said...

 I'm really sorry about that. I truly didn't mean to offend anyone here. I certainly can't speak to anyone's experience here but my own. In my religious background I, as a woman, felt marginalized. But it's wrong of me to assume that others would feel that way. I had also never thought of that word as non-profit jargon. Thanks for the links to your blog. I'm still learning. Are you on twitter?

PatriciaW said...

Definitely down with #NewBlackHistoryMonth.  Except problem with July or August is that while we're BBQ'ing, folks who we might want to pay attention and learn something about Black history are either on summer recess from educational institutions or in the midst of their summer vacations.  Not great months for getting  folks' attention.  I'll vote for August, since at least in the South, many schools are back in session, as early as the first week.  No 3-day holiday weekends, which could impact the BBQ objective, but otherwise, a solid 31-day month.

Nate_Wesley said...

I think I can solve #NewBlackHistoryMonth while technically saving #OldBlackHistoryMonth;  Start BHM during the MLK holiday, and when it starts late, carry it through March just enough for it to encompasses no less than forty days: "40 Days of Black History".   (If  we're gonna celebrate greatness, we truly need more than a month.)

The King holiday is probably when the rest of the country pays most attention to African-American achievement, even if mostly for good public relations reasons.    I'd guess that most of us are more personally mindful of our great stories during the same time, even as we're fairly interested in what we're doing/what we've done throughout the year. 

If we're gonna study and celebrate greatness, we truly need more than a month. 

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