So as all of you should know, it’s Black History Month. As a black chick, this month has always been especially important to me since it was pretty rare to get an in-depth history of black people in school.
I was pretty lucky to take a few classes in high school that required us to read some awesome books by black authors, and I went to a historically black college, but if I didn’t? Um, I’d have to go and learn almost everything about black contributions to history, the arts, entertainment, science, etc on my own. Like, so many schools just use Black History Month as a chance to touch on Rosa Parks for a minute, MLK and maybe if your teacher is edgy you’ll learn a little about Malcolm X. But otherwise? Not much. Yep, you pretty much learn about slavery, a bit on the Civil Rights Movement and that’s it. Uh, there’s a lot more history for black folks than that.
Receiving a sterile approach to Black History Month just blows, okay? So if you want to take advantage of what’s left of it to actually learn a lil’ something in a way that’s actually fun and engaging, check out these seven activities that aren’t way boring. Oh, and of course you should continue doing these things when February is over, too!
Celebrate Black FilmIf you're into old films, check out movies staring Sidney Poitier. If you're on a '90s kick and love indie movies, check out Just Another Girl On The IRT. If you want to watch something newer, check out Dear White People! Or even Girlhood, an indie, coming of age movie about a group of black French girls which is in theaters right now.
Watch TV Shows With Primarily Black CastsBasically, go back to the '90s. Okay, just kidding (sort of). I know, shows with black casts are so hard to find these days but hey, make an excuse to marathon some great TV! For example, A Different World which is about students attending an all black college. Fresh Prince, Living Single...but if you want something newer there's definitely Blackish.
Learn More About The History Of Black Folks In MusicYou might know that black people made jazz, R&B, hip hop and rock 'n roll. Er, at least, I hope you know that. But did you know that black folks were part of the punk scene? Skeptical? Well, they were, okay, and they shouldn't be erased! Learn about awesome chicks like Poly Styrene, the mixed race lead singer of an awesome '70s band called X Ray Spex to start with! Then move on to Bad Braids and Death. Black people have had awesome contributions to so much more than you thought.
Learn How To Make Some Soul FoodAKA learn how to make some of the best food on the planet. Collard greens, mac and cheese, sweet potato pie...all of these foods and more are as much of a part of black history as figures and important historical moments. Some soul food dishes have origins in cooking practices that were developed during slavery, so there is absolutely some historical precedence in this. Learn a little, eat a little, what's better than that?
Read A Book By A Black AuthorWhether it's Zadie Smith or Maya Angelou, pay tribute to awesome black writers by actually reading a book by a black author. James Baldwin, Toni Morrison...the list goes on! Into sci-fi? Read some Octavia Butler. Yeah, we're up in all of your fave genres. Time to stop sleeping on us!
VolunteerI'm going to keep it real: there are so many majority black communities out there that suffer from a lack of resources. This has a lot to do with class, racist housing practices, etc. Some neighborhoods don't even have proper grocery stores (these are called food deserts and they're awful). If you're into charity and community service, see what you can do in these communities. Food drives, after school activites, whatever! Don't go in there with a savior complex, just a desire to be selfless.
Get Yer Hair DidOkay, if you're a black chick get your other black girlfriends over to your place for a kickback and participate in an ultimate black girl bonding activity: Hair. Yeah, everyone is into hair, but for black women our hair is a huge part of our identity and getting in touch with our culture. If you and your crew have natural, spend time swapping products, giving each other bantu knots, shaping up fros, etc. Um, I'm already getting jealous of whoever is going to actually do this.
Which of these products do you think is the most ridiculous? Any remind you of today’s weird weight loss products? Tell us in the comments!