Believe it or not, in 2022 some people still view Black History Month as an unnecessary acknowledgment created simply to placate Black people. I think back to an interlude on Solange Knowles Grammy winning album, A Seat at the Table called Tina Taught Me. In the clip, Tina Knowles (Beyonce and Solange’s mother) says something that really resonated with me:
“It's such beauty in black people, and it really saddens me when we're not allowed to express that pride in being black, and that if you do, then it's considered anti-white. No! You just pro-black. And that's okay. The two don't go together.
Because you celebrate black culture does not mean that you don't like white culture or that you putting it down. It's just taking pride in it, but what's irritating is when somebody says, you know, "They're racist!", "That's reverse racism!" or, "They have a Black History Month, but we don't have a White History Month!"
It’s true. There is no White History Month. Why? Because White history permeates American culture. So why do we need a Black History Month? Black history month is a vital month that allows us to highlight the outstanding achievements of Black Americans, pay tribute to the exceptional men and women who paved the way for our current liberties, and celebrate our Black heritage. So, no, Black History Month is not reverse racism or a way of excluding people who are not Black. It’s a time to acknowledge those who are underrepresented year-round.
We must never forget or take for granted the incredible role Black leaders have played so we can enjoy the opportunities available to us today. This includes the freedom to vote, attend any college, purchase a home, run for political office, open a business, and partake in the American dream. Granted, there are still improvements to be made, but we can acknowledge the progress already achieved. When we pay homage to the past, we inspire and empower those of us in the present to keep progressing forward to be the change we want to see in this country and globally.
As a young Nigerian girl who moved to the United States at age 6, I was taught American history in the American school system, which conveniently neglected Black Americans. Aside from the “honorable” mention of Black people during slavery, American history did not include the contributions of Black Americans who helped shape the America we all know today. If it were not for Black History Month, the achievements of Black leaders, writers, artists, and inventors would be overlooked. We may not have known of the gifted literary writer Langston Hughes, the great educator Booker T Washington, the brave humanitarian Harriet Tubman, the brilliant orator and statesman Frederick Douglass, the self-made millionaire entrepreneur Madam C.J Walker, the first traffic light inventor, Garrett Morgan, and many others.
Reconnecting to our African roots and celebrating our heritage is another important aspect of Black History Month. By making time to learn more about our roots and culture, we gain a stronger sense of identity. That’s truly the foundation of the D’IYANU brand. Through style, we can express ourselves and connect to our heritage without even saying a word. Our sense of pride and the beauty in being Black is evident in the clothes. D’IYANU was born out of the desire to create modern African inspired fashion that could be worn daily for those seeking to express themselves in a unique way. We’re honored to support and empower our customers in their expression.
Despite those in this world who believe Black History Month needs to be canceled because it’s somehow racist or no longer needed in this “post-racial” era, I wholeheartedly disagree. We will continue celebrating and acknowledging our amazing leaders that paved the way for us. To these men and women and many more whose name may never get public applause, we say thank you!
What are your thoughts? Leave your comment below and share this on Facebook and Twitter if you agree that Black History Month is still important in 2022!