I think it was Dr. Cornel West who I heard say that February is ‘rent a negro month.’ He was referring to the number of invitations to speak he, and others like him, receive in February to recognize Black History Month. He definitely wasn’t complaining because he mentioned his lecture price is inflated in February because of the great demand. To that I say, go get your money Dr. West.
The first thing I think of every first of the month is paying my mortgage. As I was driving into work this morning, it took the Steve Harvey Morning Show to remind me today is not only the first day of the month, and the first day of the week, but it’s the first day of Black History Month.
I really don’t have anything planned for this Black History Month. I usually don’t have anything planned for any Black History Month. Unlike the folks who repeatedly watch Gone with the Wind, the Wizard of Oz, The 10 Commandments, or Charlie Brown’s Christmas when they pop up each year, I don’t look forward to seeing Eyes on the Prize or Roots again.
The common complaint among a lot of black folks is how the same dozen or so historic black people get recognized during Black History Month year after year. As I was driving home from work today, that thought entered my mind when an electronic billboard was shuffling a few of the big 12’s faces on the big screen with a single line describing what they’re famous for.
I almost slammed my breaks on the snow covered Conchester Highway when Booker T. Washington appeared on the billboard. It was no surprise to see him recognized for another year, but the single line they recognized him for was unbelievable.
BOOKER T. WASHINGTON. THE FIRST BLACK MAN ON A U.S. POSTAGE STAMP.
That was as bizarre as me asking you to look up the meaning of a common word in the dictionary and you give me the 7th definition.
I have to come clean. I’ve adopted a couple old black guys as my go-to Black History Month icons that I study and read about every February. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. and Paul Robeson never cease to amaze me. So much of American Black history is wrapped up in those two guys that I feel I get bonus coverage whenever I delve into their story. I suggest you find a black history person or two to call your own. Don’t let the billboards influence you.
Didn’t we just have Black History Month(s)?
The summer of 2020 was rife with black awareness as the mainstream did anything they could do to quell those riots. They got rid of Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben; discovered Juneteenth; Walmart unlocked black hair grease on their shelves; confederate statues came tumbling down and NASCAR banned the confederate flag; HBO got rid of Gone with the Wind; the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association and American College of Physicians declared racism a public health crisis; the NFL commissioner admitted Colin Kaepernick may have had a point; NETFLIX created a whole new category called Black Stuff – or something like that – and on and on.
It would take the whole month of February to cover all the Black history that was created, disrupted, cancelled, and promised during the summer of 2020. That’s the show I’d like to see this month.