Hello everyone, and welcome to any newbies who have never read ‘The Nubian Times’ before today.
Most of you may already know what October represents in the UK. For the uninitiated or rather uncultured, it is Black History Month (BHM). Word on the street, well from the youngsters at least, is that BHM is a piece of our culture that is somewhat redundant.
So, I asked six youngsters who the following people were; I did not use the usual suspects such as Dr Martin Luther King, Malcom X, Rosa Parks or Nelson Mandela. Now when BHM is a repeated reel of the aforementioned figures, year after year, it does feel a little outdated and of little use. Not because the people mentioned did not serve to the collective black narrative, but because they are used as the go-to names and stand-alone heroes without further education on how we have all progressed and why representation and inclusion matters.
Anyway, the people I actually named to the youngsters are relatively modern inspirational figures such as Colin Kaepernick, Baroness Amos, Peter Herbert, LeBron James, Kofi Annan, David Lammy, Tarana Burke and Ryan Coogler. You know, these youths did not have a clue who these people were, not even the director of Black Panther. The only one they knew and could say something about was LeBron James and most recognised Colin Kaepernick for the new Nike advert but not for why he was chosen and what he stands for – his very identity as it is now known. This is both astonishing yet unsurprising. The digital age has meant that fewer youngsters choose to read than swipe across filtered-selfies of their friends and crushes. Adventure and quest for knowledge and culture is eroding at an alarming rate. No wonder then the notion of redundancy tinges the whole BHM atmosphere now. This is truly sad.
Regardless of whether you are black or white, you have a responsibility to know those significant game-changers and humanitarians amongst us who are rewriting the history books. Colin Kaepernick (Kap) lost his job, career, livelihood and reputation amongst would-be employers, all because he refused to stay quiet in the face of injustice towards a minority group within America. His disapproval of the brutality towards black people especially from the police (those whose primary duty is to protect and serve us all) has cost him greatly yet also endeared him to many. Since Nike cashed in on his movement, (yes, they consciously did because they understand their clients as being those who are more with Kap) he has gained many more supporters in the public eye. Kap is just one of the many black people worth honouring every day and surely to be saluted this BHM.
He stands on the shoulders of giants such as Nelson Mandela, Malcolm X, Dr King, Rosa Parks and so many more that ought to be recognised or saluted for standing with truth, justice for the empowerment of black people. Shame on you if you do not take the time to at the very least ‘Google’ five modern inspirational and instrumental black contributors to the movement to find out their sacrifices for yours and my freedom. Do educate yourself; there is even YouTube biographies of these people. I guarantee at least one if not all will make you proud to be black!
It would be great to hear your suggestions on how to make BHM appeal to those who still find it does not yet resonate with them.
Representation does matter, and this month’s edition does just that for black people. Not only do we need to remember the heroes and game-changers, we also need to teach other non-people-of-colour that being black is not a deficiency or abnormal. The purpose for BHM, far outweighs your intolerance of its cyclical return. Have an educational and inspired BHM 2018, everyone.