Black History Month!

By Destinee Johnson

On January 31st EVERY SINGLE YEAR, I go to bed super excited knowing that when I open my eyes in the morning it’ll be the beginning of my favorite month: BLACK HISTORY MONTH!

I have somewhat of a ritual every year; I lay out my favorite graphic tee from one of my favorite ‘black owned businesses’ and twist my hair and secure my scarf and bonnet tightly so my crown can sit tall the next morning and lay out my African American Flag.

On February 1st, when the sun hits my window, I feel energized. The vibranium is running through my veins, my crown is sitting high and I feel the strength of my ancestors guiding me throughout the day.

On February 1st, I blast some of my favorite classics: The Black National Anthem, ‘Lift Every Voice & Sing’; ‘To Be Young Gifted & Black’ by Nina Simone, ‘Respect’ by Aretha Franklin’, among other timeless classics that uplift and celebrate me, myself, & my culture.

I think all day long about all the great African American heroes and sheroes who have paved the way for myself and my legacy as I walk in the path of the road that they’ve paved. A strong role model & mentor in my life constantly reminds me that a lot of ancestors fought to survive so that I could thrive. And for that I am eternally grateful.

On February 1st, it is evident that my heartbeat is the heartbeat of the culture. And my heart -beat syncs with that of my fellow brothers and sisters as we relate to the ebbs and flows of our Black experiences.

On February 1st, we begin the shortest month of the year but I celebrate it like it’s the longest! I love my people, I love my culture & there is no obstacle, no hatred, no bigotry, no barriers, no systemic narratives that will make me feel otherwise.

It’s hard for me to quantify how deeply I feel about this month. & if you know me well, you know it’s always Black History Month for me. BUT when February comes around, just like Kendrick Lamar I celebrate it like it’s my B-Day!

Black History month is not a monolithic experience but here’s how it makes me feel.

Black History Month is like a big hug from your favorite person after 1 year of quarantine.
Black History Month is that feeling of laughing until your stomach hurts at a well crafted joke.
Black History Month is feeling the impact of those who have come before you.
Black History Month is acknowledging that not much has changed, but still like dust we rise.
Black History Month is hitting that one hard dance move when the beat drops and letting out a collective “ayyyye”.
Black History Month is investing in our young kings and queens to show them how powerful and innovative they are.
Black History Month is taking the time to learn about OUR HISTORY, from family, from friends and not limiting ourselves to what the media says about us.
Black History Month is doing those little things to take care of your mind, body and soul.
Black History Month feels like a safe space- like Solange in the song FUBU.
Black History Month is a celebration of joy, creativity & resilience.

So when you think about this month– don’t just let it pass you by. Learn about an African American hero or shero; watch a documentary; be an advocate for your community; support a Black owned business; talk to your kids about injustice; normalize narratives of Black joy and innovation in your homes; challenge your ideologies & truly take time to celebrate Black Lives!

I hope you enjoy the remainder of this 28 days as much as I will!

Written by: Destinee Johnson