February, 2018 is Black History Month with a difference! This year we get to celebrate by flocking to our favourite multiplex to take in Black Panther, the first blockbuster to feature a black superhero!
Not only does Black Panther feature a black superhero but also a largely black cast and has won praise for its portrayal of Africa. The film, which marks a huge step in bringing diversity to the multiplexes, has been a hit with critics and audiences alike. Check out the official trailer below!
But this doesn’t mean that the struggle for racial equality is over. Certain groups of individuals have tried to deliberately sabotage the rating for Black Panther on Rotten Tomatoes. Facebook has removed a group that deliberately intended to tank viewer ratings. The group had scheduled an event titled: “Give Black Panther a Rotten Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes”. The folks behind Rotten Tomatoes have had to remove such malicious reviews from their site. Meanwhile the group’s leader told Inverse that “minorities … should stay that way.”
While incidents like this serve to highlight how the fight for equality continues, we should celebrate the release of Black Panther and Black History Month. But how exactly do we celebrate Black History Month? Do we need to bury our heads in the history books to learn of the struggle black Americans faced? Do we need to binge watch documentaries on Dr King and Malcolm X? Sure, we need to know the history but are there some fun things that we can do to show our support?
In short, the answer is: yes! Try out these suggestions:
Seek out some black art this February and give your support. Art and other expressions of creativity are vital for preserving black culture. Not only does modern black American art preserve black history and culture but it also adds to it to make any exhibition a rich cultural experience.
Type “black female artist” into a search engine and you’ll be presented with articles about black singers. It’s almost as if there has never existed any black female painters or sculptors. Our modern divas such as Beyoncé and Rihanna are great but we need to celebrate the entire spectrum of black art.
Take Edmonia Lewis, for example. Ever heard of her? In her lifetime slavery was still legal in the US and she died in 1907. Lewis carved marble sculptures of influential abolitionists and mythological figures by hand.
Loïs Mailou Jones was born in Boston in the US and worked as a painter in North America, Europe and Africa. Her styles were equally broad as she took inspiration from sources as diverse as African masks and French impressionist landscapes.
Check out some of the great black writers that have contributed so much great literature to bookshelves, and now ereaders, around the world. Black writers have given the world novels, poetry and essays. Why stick to the usual Fitzgeralds and Hemingways when you can get into some Maya Angelou or Toni Morrison.
Pat Ward Williams is a photographer who is still active and has always worked to move photography beyond its focus upon the mere surface details of a subject. She does this by incorporating other types of media within a piece. So, as well as photographs, Williams combines text and found materials to create unique pieces.
Around the World
Why not look beyond your usual vacation spots and book a vacation to one of those beautiful countries that certain public figures seem to dislike.
Countries such as Haiti and Jamaica have offered us some beloved celebrities such as Wyclef Jean and Usain Bolt who have contributed much to our cultural landscape. But countries such as these also offer stunning sights, sounds and food.
Immersing oneself in other black cultures is always a rewarding experience. It’s great to lay on a beach but it doesn’t compare to meeting the people and discovering the way they live.
We’re visiting Haiti on our Wealth-Building Conference at Sea cruise. Why not come along, visit some countries and rub shoulders with some awesome speakers!
Happy Black History Month!