BLACK VOICES

29 Moments That Made This February A Black History Month To Remember

What a time to be alive.

February 2016 should go down in history as one of the blackest Black History Months of the millennium. 

This month was filled with moments that empowered, inspired and ignited us to embrace our heritage, unabashedly. Celebrities like Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar lit up audiences with their unapologetically black performances, tv shows like "Black-ish" spoke out against injustices and organizations like United Blackout hosted one of the most powerful events of the year, so far, with #JusticeForFlint. 

While embracing our history, culture and continued resiliency certainly is something we all do year-long, this February, in particular, has certainly been unforgettable. Plus, it's President Barack Obama's last term in the White House -- so this Black History Month will always be one to remember.

With that in mind, here are 29 moments from this month that remind us to continue to celebrate and advocate for everything that makes our experience so damn magical. 

  • 1 Kendrick Lamar gave an electrifying Grammy performance.
    Kendrick Lamar got everyone talking with one of the most unapologetically black performances in the history of the Grammy awa
    Kendrick Lamar got everyone talking with one of the most unapologetically black performances in the history of the Grammy awards. His chain gang entrance turned into a Fela Kuti-inspired performance that brought Compton to the heart of Africa and back. The rapper put on for the diaspora and showed just how interconnected we all actually are. Relive his riveting performance here.
  • 2 Beyoncé was unapologetically black in her "Formation" video.
    Beyoncé's surprise single, "Formation," reaffirmed that black culture matters. Plus, Bey's lyrics highlighte
    Beyoncé's surprise single, "Formation," reaffirmed that black culture matters. Plus, Bey's lyrics highlighted that our afros, baby hairs, Jackson 5 nostrils and affinity for hot sauce matters, too. Even more powerful than the actual lyrics were the song's accompanying visuals in the music video. From the black boy in a black hoodie dancing in front of a lineup of cops to a wall painted with the words "Stop Shooting Us" to Blue Ivy Carter stunting in her afro on all the haters who had something to say about her hair two years ago. "Formation" resonates with us because it's OUR experience.
  • 3 The Carolina Panthers made a statement despite the team's Super Bowl loss.
    Cam Newton and the Panthers didn't win the Super Bowl but they won our hearts. <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/panthe
    Cam Newton and the Panthers didn't win the Super Bowl but they won our hearts. They made a statement the entire 2015-2016 NFL season about how fun and expressive black male athletes can be without worrying about what critics had to say. Black men should be able to show emotion, even if it means walking out of a press conference after a night of disappointment, without ridicule. Especially since no one batted an eye after Peyton Manning was a bad sport. Dab on, Cam. 
  • 4 Beyoncé's empowering halftime Super Bowl performance.
    Let's be honest, Beyonc&eacute; was the true winner of the Super Bowl. She "Milly Rocked" with her dancers dressed in Black P
    Let's be honest, Beyoncé was the true winner of the Super Bowl. She "Milly Rocked" with her dancers dressed in Black Panther-inspired attire while performing "Formation" -- and that was so damn important. It may have sparked controversy for those who totally missed Bey's actual message behind the performance, but it was empowering to see black fists in the air during the most-watch sporting event in the nation.
  • 5 Rihanna FINALLY dropped ANTI.
    And it was really good! The album was a different sound for Rihanna. The bad "gyal" let her carefree black girl flag swing wi
    And it was really good! The album was a different sound for Rihanna. The bad "gyal" let her carefree black girl flag swing with more introspective and emotional ballads and, surprisingly, with very few upbeat radio singles. We're so here for this different side of Ri Ri's black girl magic.
  • 6 Michelle Obama hosted a master dance class at the White House with Debbie Allen.
    Peak black girl magic is iconic choreographer Debbie Allen teaching young black girls an African dance in the White House so they can perform for the first black First Lady of the United States during Black History Month. Need we say more?
  • 7 Virginia McLaurin had a touching moment at the White House.
    Virginia McLaurin, 106, gave us all the feels when she started her own little dance party with President Obama and the First Lady at the White House. But she really moved us to tears when she said she never thought that she would live to see a black president. “I am so happy… A black president; a black wife; and I’m here to celebrate black history,” she said.
  • 8 A powerful Black Panther's documentary aired on PBS.
    Though "The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution" debuted in 2015, it aired on PBS this month. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party's founding, yet there are still many misconceptions about who the Black Panthers really were and what the party stood for. Director Stanley Nelson educated viewers through this well-researched and necessary documentary. If you didn't catch the documentary, here are 27 facts about the Black Panthers that everyone should know.
  • 9 Kanye West's epic performance on "Saturday Night Live."
    Kanye West invited Kelly Price, The-Dream, Kirk Franklin, Chance the Rapper, Young Thug, El DeBarge and a church choir to perform, "Ultralight Beams" with him for what may have been one of the blackest "SNL" performances in recent history.
  • 10 Rihanna's bashment in the "Work" video was everything.
    Rihanna's bashment, or&nbsp;raggae/dancehall&nbsp;party, for her latest video was too lit. From the dutty wining to the jerk
    Rihanna's bashment, or raggae/dancehall party, for her latest video was too lit. From the dutty wining to the jerk chicken being served in the back, the video treatment for "Work" was a perfect ode to Rihanna's West Indian roots. 
  • 11 Saul Williams powerfully-recited his poem, "Look How They Treat Us."
    Saul Williams Recites 'Look How They Treat Us'

    This Saul Williams poem recital will give. you. CHILLS.

    Posted by HuffPost Black Voices on Friday, February 12, 2016
    Poet Saul Williams gave us chills when he came to HuffPost to recite his haunting poem "Look How They Treat Us" for Black Voices. 
  • 12 Prince's passport photo couldn't have been more perfect.
    Prince slayed the game when he tweeted his flawless passport photo this month. We've never seen a photo on a government-issued ID so perfect. Now everyone is thinking about getting a hair and makeup stylist for the next time they have to go to the DMV. Thanks, Purple Majesty.
  • 13 President Barack Obama joked about Black History Month.
    During an event at the White House, President Obama had a hilarious response to the way one attendee flavorfully greeted the First Lady. "We know it is Black History Month when you hear somebody say 'Heyyyy Michelle,'" Obama jokingly said. "Gurllllll."
  • 14 #BeingABlackGirlIsLit trended on Twitter and celebrated black women everywhere.
    This celebratory hashtag asked Twitter users to share uplifting videos, photos and GIFs of black women. #BeingABlackGirlIsLit highlighted just how diverse and magical black women are, despite the limiting titles and roles others try to place on us.
  • 15 American Girl black doll debuted a new historic black doll.
    Meet Melody Ellison, <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/meet-american-girls-new-historic-doll-from-the-civil-rights-era_
    American Girl
    Meet Melody Ellison, American Girl’s new black doll from the civil rights era. The company released the new historic character in honor of Black History Month and its 30-year anniversary, and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate. Hey, Melody!
  • 16 Eleven-year-old Marley donated #1000BlackGirlBooks to girls in need.
    Marley Dias is an 11-year-old girl who grew frustrated with the small number of books she read that featured characters who l
    Marley Dias
    Marley Dias is an 11-year-old girl who grew frustrated with the small number of books she read that featured characters who looked like her. In response, she created #1000BlackGirlBooks -- a book drive with a mission to collect books that had black girls in the center of the narrative. Dias accomplished her goal and earlier this month and she and her mother traveled to Jamaica to donate them to a school with children who have limited access to books. Kudos, to them for spreading so much #BlackGirlMagic.
  • 17 Alice Walker’s Facebook page delivered all the black history we needed.
    <i>The Color Purple</i> author&nbsp;<a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/alice-walkers-facebook-page-will-give-you-all-the
    Getty
    The Color Purple author joined Facebook in February and her first few posts provided some of the best lessons on black history. Walker paid tribute to influential icons including Langston Hughes, Zora Neal Hurston and W.E.B. DuBois. And she even shared excerpts from key books by black authors she deemed utmost important for everyone to know of and read.
  • 18 Pyer Moss and Erykah Badu addressed mental illness in the black community through their powerful fashion show.
    Fashion can always be used to make a powerful statement and clothing label Pyer Moss did just that during its fashion show ea
    Getty images
    Fashion can always be used to make a powerful statement and clothing label Pyer Moss did just that during its fashion show earlier this month. The label presented its fall 2016 collection with looks created by talented designer Kerby Jean-Raymond and the legendary Erykah Badu -- who used the show, and styling, as a way to address the serious issue of mental illness in the black community.
  • 19 "We Are Black History" campaign united the past with the present.
    In honor of black history month, <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/this-striking-campaign-is-honoring-black-history-her
    Style Influencer's Group/ Jerome A. Shaw
    In honor of black history month, the Style Influencer’s Group selected a few current-day digital media influencers and styled them to portray those whom they said inspired them. The powerful portraits included images of activists like DeRay as MLK and Essence.com Digital Content Director Anslem as Jackie Robinson, among others. Last year, the campaign highlighted a roster of all black women who paid tribute to heroines throughout history.
  • 20 #JusticeForFlint event brought together celebrities to help raise awareness around the city's water crisis.
    Director Ryan Coogler and his human rights organization, United Blackout, hosted one of the most impactful events of the mont
    Getty
    Director Ryan Coogler and his human rights organization, United Blackout, hosted one of the most impactful events of the month on Feb. 28, which was also the same day as the Oscars. The organization rallied together celebrities and influencers to discuss the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, and provided residents with a night of fun and entertainment. The event, which was livestreamed on Revolt TV, was a huge success that raised tens of thousands of dollars. It brought people of color together in a beautiful showcase of activism.
  • 21 #BlackFutureMonth campaign highlighted artwork and blog pieces that examined the future state of black America.
    This February, HuffPost Black Voices teamed up with the Black Lives Matter Network to release a month-long series exploring t
    4oremost
    This February, HuffPost Black Voices teamed up with the Black Lives Matter Network to release a month-long series exploring the future of black America. Each day, throughout the month, we released a personal blog piece accompanied by powerful, original artwork that spoke to varying issues within our community. The pieces explored everything from education to employment to black excellence.
  • 22 The NAACP Image Awards showed the Oscars what it’s missing.
    The <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/this-years-naacp-image-awards-is-what-diversity-is-supposed-to-look-like_n_56b601
    image awards
    The NAACP Image Awards aired on Feb. 5, and it was a celebration filled with beautiful black stars. The award show recognized the best of black excellence, and it was an evening filled with powerful statements and stunning celebrities of color.
  • 23 4 inspiring couples talked about the beauty of black love.
    The beauty of black love is boundless and HuffPost Black Voices wanted to highlight that by <a href="https://www.huffpost.com
    The Huffington Post
    The beauty of black love is boundless and HuffPost Black Voices wanted to highlight that by inviting four inspiring couples to talk about their love for each other and what makes their relationships strong. Rappers Remy Ma and Papoose, Grammy award winner Chrisette Michele and her fiancé Doug Ellison, Reggie Ossé and Akim Vann aka Combat Jack and Combat Jill and LGBTQ advocates and media makers Tiq and Kim Katrin Milan got real -- and raw -- in a candid and honest conversation.
  • 24 One powerful "Black-ish" episode explored how black families discuss the reality of police brutality.
    The most powerful episode of ABC&rsquo;s &ldquo;Black-ish&rdquo; aired on Feb. 24, and <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entr
    Getty
    The most powerful episode of ABC’s “Black-ish” aired on Feb. 24, and centered around the serious issue of police brutality. In the episode, Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson who play the mom and dad to three young children were forced to face the reality of how to discuss the difficult topic with their kids. The episode was groundbreaking in many ways and received praise across the web.
  • 25 Chaka Khan released a new song all about the importance of self-love.
    Chaka Khan is officially back and she&rsquo;s<a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/chaka-khan-is-spreading-positive-self-es
    Getty
    Chaka Khan is officially back and she’s spreading an important message on self-acceptance in her new song, "I Love Myself." Plus, she’s paying it forward by donating money from the song’s sales to help victims of domestic violence and discrimination. Way to go, Chaka -- and welcome back!
  • 26 Brittany Howard delivered a powerful performance at the White House and paid tribute to the legendary Ray Charles.
    Singer Brittany Howard, otherwise known as the first lady of rock&rsquo;n soul, <a href="http://www.al.com/entertainment/inde
    Getty
    Singer Brittany Howard, otherwise known as the first lady of rock’n soul, delivered a powerful performance at the White House on Feb. 24. Howard, lead singer for the Grammy award-winning blues rock band Alabama Shakes, paid tribute to the late Ray Charles in a stellar performance before the president and first lady. Rock on, sista!
  • 27 President Obama nominated the first black Librarian of Congress.
    Dr. Carla Hayden was appointed by President Barack Obama this month as the 14th Librarian of Congress -- a moment that made h
    White House
    Dr. Carla Hayden was appointed by President Barack Obama this month as the 14th Librarian of Congress -- a moment that made history as Hayden became not only the first woman but also the first African American to hold the position in the library’s 214-year history. What an honor!
  • 28 La'Porsha Renae slayed her "American Idol" performance.
    "American Idol" contestant La'Porsha Renae <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/american-idol-contestant-laporsha-renae-ri
    Fox
    "American Idol" contestant La'Porsha Renae shut down the competition during her performance when she sang a cover of Rihanna's "Diamonds" -- and boy, did she shine bright!
  • 29 Chris Rock hosted the Oscars and nailed the #OscarsSoWhite controversy.
    Chris Rock <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/chris-rock-black-people-movies-oscars_n_56d3b58ce4b03260bf7749b6?ir=Black+
    Getty
    Chris Rock hosted this year’s 88th annual Academy Awards and highlighted the #OscarsSoWhite diversity issue in his opening monologue and in several creative skits and speeches throughout the show. Rock, who is never one to hold his tongue, called out Hollywood for being racist, brought out Stacey Dash and didn’t let a moment go by where he wasn't addressing the film industry’s lack of inclusion of stars of color. Needless to say, there was never a dull moment.

What were some moments that stood out to you this Black History Month?

 

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BEFORE YOU GO

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35 Queens Of Black History Who Deserve Much More Glory
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