There’s something uniquely glorious about blackness.
It’s in our walk, our talk, the way we celebrate, the way we set trends. We were born this way.
I’ve always known this, especially growing up with parents who emphasized this by reading Maya Angelou poems at bedtime and sent me to an elementary school where we learned black history year round. What I didn’t know was the lengths the rest of the world would go to turn a blind eye to our magnificence.
I realized this when I left the comforts of my mini-HBCU and attended a predominately white middle school where black history lessons were limited to a focus on slavery, Jim Crow laws and the Civil Rights movement. Much of this we learned during February ― Black History Month. Those were the moments I sat at my desk feeling a mix of anger and discomfort at the class’ white gaze, as the few black kids in the room were expected to lead the discussion.
Often times, society tries to focus on our battle scars, and its glare isn’t with the intention to heal. Navigating through a world that only halfway celebrates you for what you’ve endured ― and then tells you a watered-down version of that ― is taxing.
Which is why we must celebrate ourselves and do it loudly.
No matter the shape, size, hue or ability, all of our stories matter and they deserve to be told through our lens.
That’s why the theme for this Black History Month at HuffPost Black Voices is #BlackGlory. We are reclaiming the narrative of what it means to celebrate Black History Month.
This February is dedicated to showcasing, exploring and exalting the beauty in blackness. In addition to op-eds about the impact of blackness on American culture, Black Voices will be featuring essays throughout the month that highlight four key areas of our glory: the impact of representation, the expansiveness of black love, the power of black women and the necessity of black kids’ joy.
All black lives are special, not because of the historical and cultural battles we’ve overcome and are still fighting today, but because we just simply are. Our story didn’t begin with trauma, and though it is a very real and important part of our history, it shouldn’t be the only thing we’re celebrated for. We should be celebrated for our skills, our dreams, our skin, our hair, our rhythm, our traditions, our love. We should be celebrated because there would be no American history without black history.
Yes, our resilience is special, but it is not the sole source of our glory. To be black is glorious, period. And it’s about time the world acknowledges that.
With black athletes in the spotlight at the Winter Olympics, the epic release of Marvel’s “Black Panther,” the usual stream of viral moments for the culture and, of course, inspirational reflections on black history makers, we have a lot to look forward to this February.
As Black Voices Editor, I am dedicated not only to making sure that we tell compelling and real stories that matter to the diaspora, but also to empowering us with frequent reminders of how dope we truly are ― February and beyond. Join us in this conversation either in the comment section, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Use the hashtag to tell us, what does #BlackGlory mean to you?