It’s officially February and that means many things to many people. The holidays are really over. The pressure to start a new life for the new year kind of stays in January. By February we’ve kind of figured out exactly how this year is going to go. But to so many other people February serves as the month black (or African American) people celebrate our history and it also serves as the month or love, and for me those two things go hand-in-hand.
For most of my childhood I learned all the ugly parts black history had to offer, but not without a mention of a black hero. We spent a lot of time learning about slavery, but there was no way to mention slavery in America without mentioning Harriet Tubman. What that says to me is every adversity we’ve faced as a people has created heroes from ordinary people. We’ve always seemed to make chocolate cake with the lemons we’re dealt. Had Emmett Till not been murdered, Rosa Parks would not have been angry enough to refuse to give up her seat. Adversity has a way of fueling leaders. Oppression brings out the fight in some, and for most of the black community this is proof positive. We haven’t been given much choice. Because of that reason alone, I love everything about us. Our resilient spirits has commanded the attention of the world time and time again. Our inventive culture has always been celebrated. From the way we sing and dance to the way we wear our hair, black culture has always influenced many others.
Although our country is in turmoil and we are fighting for our freedom, I have never been more proud to be black. From the accomplishments of my ancestors to the accomplishments of my family and friends, I am proud of us. We are the epitome of strength and even when we didn’t sign up for the job we have served as the glue that keep so many facets of this country together. Even when people are offended by our command that “Black Lives Matter”, we will stand hand-in-hand with those same people when their livelihood is as stake, as we do right now. We are standing with our Muslim brothers and sisters. We are standing with the women of this country. We stand with the lesbian and gay community. Because we understand that what affects one of us affects all of us.
This is an important time to celebrate our culture, our spirit, our influence, our tenacity, our unique features, our hair, our banging bodies, our resilience, our genius…our blackness. So, when I listen to Solange Knowles belt “Don’t Touch My Hair”, it’s a reminder that I am SO proud to be 39 years black. And I will not only find a reason to celebrate this month, but I will find a reason to celebrate my black every day of my life.