Whew Chile! It’s been a hell of a 28 days in the community. Black History Month was all over the place and then some, with a fair share of up-and-downs, but did we win this Black History Month? Let’s see how we fared.
On Feb 1, Senator Cory Booker announced his candidacy for president entering the 2020 race. Senator Kamala Harris also announced her candidacy a few weeks prior, on January 21, 2019. Regardless of who you plan to vote for, the sheer representation of both Black men and women in this race is a major win.
Feb 13, we got an Octavia Spencer thriller movie we didn’t know we needed. The release of the first trailer of “Ma,” a Universal Pictures and Blum House Production, was a glimpse of a black woman, let alone Spencer in a role like never before; a lonely woman with obsessive-turned-lethal-and-also-very-creepy tendencies. This sort of role, normally reserved for the single-white-female types, turns the bias on its head that only white actors can occupy the thriller space. Along with the Dec. 25, 2018 announcement of “Us,” Jordan Peele’s Lupita N’yongo and Winston Duke-led horror film, this shift in our narrative is truly exciting. Win!
Feb 18, Jussie Smollett dupes us into thinking he was the victim of a hate crime, allegedly. The exact motives still aren’t clear. The staged encounter was reported as an attempt at earning more money from 20th Century Fox TV for Smollett’ role on “Empire,” though Fox reports no knowledge of Smollett ever having a gripe with his current salary of $125,000 per episode. Regardless, we stepped out on faith along with the LGBTQ community to uplift our so-called fallen brother. It was not his finest hour this act takes advantage and the attention away from our community and the LGBTQ who suffer these real atrocities on the regular. However fam, the silver lining I see in this instance is regardless of our differences, we decided an attack against our own was an attack against all of us. He may have taken advantage of our us, but our support was unwavering when we thought he needed it most. Even with that being said, this is an L.
Feb 22, R. Kelly turns himself in to the police after the #MuteRKelly movement aided by Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly documentary recalls attention to his heinous acts against underage girls – specifically Black girls. The harsh realization is that we as a community overlooked our own girls for the sake of Kelly’s music, but not any more. Win!
Feb 24, The Oscars along almost single-handedly won Black History Month. Our sisters Ruth E. Carter and Hannah Beachler took home Oscars as the first Black women to do so in their respective categories; Carter being Costume Design and Beachler being Production Design, both for Black Panther. *raises fist* Win!
Just to top that off, their wins along with Black Panther’s sweeps for Best Original Music Score, Best Picture, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing, they’ve contributed to the first ever Oscar wins for Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. Monumental!
Then there’s also the fact that Regina King took home her first ever Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in If Beale Street Could Talk. I know, prior to this we may have assumed she already had one, since she’s a 3x decorated Emmy-winner and has been all over our television screens for decades. We’re so proud sis. Win!
And then, Spike Lee received his first ever Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for BlackKklansman and it was bestowed upon him by his Morehouse brother Samuel L. Jackson. Truly memorable. Mahershala Ali also took home Best Supporting Actor for his role in Green Book which later received Best Picture and a side-eye from majority of the Black audience for it’s white-savior retelling of Black history. This almost took us back out, but Black Twitter didn’t sit quietly. We let the press know we deserve better.
Overall, so many wins!
At this point it looks like Black History Month was just barely pulling a winning game (the weight of Jussie Smollett and Green Book was just too much), but our soul sister Solange Knowles made sure we finished strong.
Her revival of Black Planet (one of our first premiere online hubs) came on February 26, just days before the wrap of Black History Month. She gave us alluring visuals and smooth vocals erupting the innanets into a frenzy. The lyrical genius, hair provocateur, and all-around goddess swept us into the next month in all of our Black magic glory at the very last second of Black History Month.
“When I Get Home” literally ushers our excellence into March and so forth. This power move, in and of itself, is a win and reminder that our excellence can not, will not, and is not limited to a mere month — and despite the faults, we still won Black History Month and will continue to leave our mark every month thereafter.