Tomorrow marks the end of Black History Month and it has been asked, if in this post racial, Obama world, there is even a need for Black History Month. I mean we finally got us a Black President, therefore us coloreds are no longer marginalized.
If you’re a frequent reader of the 5 Spot, then you can probably guess where I stand on this issue. I’m all for Black History Month. Like totally all for it. And while I know that we should teach our kids, shit all kids, Black History, 365, I like the notion that for a moment, (even if it’s forced or required or seems like a chore), that the country has to stop and recognize and honor and reflect on the contributions of black people not just to this country, but to the world.
But maybe we need a different kind of Black History Month. I have gotten hooked on HBO’s The Black List. And at the beginning of the series, they said they wanted to take something seemingly negative - being black listed and turn it into something positive. And they have indeed done so.
Volume One aired last year and Volume Two aired last night. The Black List is a compilation of interviews featuring famous, well known, and under the radar but still doin the damned thing, “Black folk” sharing their stories. Featured are: actresses, writers, activists, nurses, preachers. People you’ve heard of. And people you probably never knew, but who are impacting the community in a positive way. Some of those interviewed include: Toni Morrison, Susan Lori Parks, Chris Rock, T.D. Jakes, Bill T. Jones, Richard Parsons, Maya Rudolph, the list is endless.
In some interviews the issue of race is prominently discussed. In other interviews the person provides his/her personal story of struggle or triumph - how they made it over. In other interviews the person discusses an aspect of their job or career and what they have done for th communit. Every story is different. Unique. Its own.
But collectively, you get a sense of what it might mean to be Black in America. And that it’s different for everybody. And yet there are recurring themes. The importance church played in so many people (especially the older folks) lives and that maybe that’s a crucial thing that’s missing in this generation. The importance of perseverance and endurance when trying to reach a goal. How tight the Black community used to be and what that meant to people growing up in that era - the notion that you could do anything, be anybody. How to stay true to yourself and live the best life for you.
I love watching these stories, because it makes me think that everyone has a story. And that Black History Month can be more than Rosa Parks and Dr. King, it can be stories about: an older Black man, native Washingtonian who started walking tours of famous U Street, or a mama down the block who was also a Freedom Rider, or a grandmomma who went against convention and defined her own destiny, or an uncle who was at the March on Washington, or the first cousin in the family to graduate from college setting a standard and hopefully sparking a trend.
And so as Black History Month comes to a close, I leave you with some clips of the program! Catch it on HBO On Demand if you can and enjoy!
That’s my time y’all! Happy Rum Punch Friday!
SO LONG, FAREWELL...
The View From Here will conclude on Friday, October 1, our third year anniversary. We would like to spend this month thanking all of our readers, followers, haters, visitors, family, friends, and fans for your continued support, encouragement, and comments over these past few years. Thanks y'all!
-The Five Spot