It was Hella Onyx: The Blackest Black History Month Ever
The Blackest and best Black History Month ever ended yesterday and I am just reveling in it’s abundant noirness. Still. It was utterly lit. Like Olympic Torch lit. Like Christmas Lights when you do too much so you keep the neighbors up all night because your house is one giant flashlight lit.
There were so many amazing moments too. Let’s talk about it!
Frederick Douglass’ Google Doodle Blowout
On February 1, Google dropped their Doodle to commemorate Black History Month. We did not know what was to come in these 29 days, but we shoulda known it was a special one. An animated Frederick Douglass was featured on Google’s homepage, welcoming us into February with a blowout that was so legit, I was almost jealous I no longer had an afro. My man Frederick rocked the most righteous coiffure and we had to start the month by paying homage to that.
Antebellum fierceness. This is how this month kicked off.
Beyonce’s Blackness on ten
And then on the 6th day of the month, Beyonce Knowles the GOAT dropped her best video yet in the middle of a Saturday, like we ain’t had shit to do. But we didn’t. Because the moment Formation came out as the IDGAF anthem, everyone’s original plans went out the window. The Creole Bamma made the loudest statement she ever has about state-sanctioned racism in the video. A Black boy getting white cops to surrender to him as he danced in front of them, the phrase “stop shooting us” and her drowning a cop car to end it all. I WAS HYPE. GEEKED.
As if that wasn’t enough. The next night, she performed during the Super Bowl, wearing a black and gold onesie that was a hat tip to Michael Jackson. She was flanked by a bunch of fierce Black women as her dance squad, rocking afros and dressed as tributes to the Black Panthers.
MANNNNN, LISTEN. I got my entire life, because our Bey don growed up and got loud about the bullshit. She did it on a grandest stage too, and I even asked a couple of my friends who are members of the BeyHive to invite me to the next meeting. But after 3 days and 5,401 thinkpieces about Bey and people being mad, I wanted out. Because I wasn’t dedicated to the cause of defending her for hours every day. I love her, doe.
Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy performance
On February 15, the GRAMMY Awards happened and Kendrick Lamar performed one of the best sets on that stage ever. He came out with some bruhs, as a chain gang. Because you know what you do to up the Blackness quotient of an already Black ass month? By making a statement on the Prison Industrial Complex and it’s demonization of Black men as you entertain folks on music’s most important night. The dude ended his set standing in front of a map of Africa with “Compton” on it, for Haysoos Kristi’s sake.
I wondered if the auditorium smelled like patchouli oil and incense after he was done because I wanted to know the after-effects of all that Blackdom. I thought I was gon pass out from Over-Black.
The Black White House
I was invited to attend the Black History Month reception happening at the White House on February 18th. I was at the same event last year and I couldn’t miss this one because it is the last one of our first Black President. I insisted on being as Black as I could possibly be, not knowing that this administration had also committed to doing the same at the reception. I wore a kaftan that I got made when I went to Nigeria two years ago.
How Black was the event? Let me break it down.
* Morgan State University’s marching band drummed us in. Not just any university but an HBCU. You could hear them the moment you walked into the White House gate, as you went through security. They were like 500 feet away and the drumbeats welcomed us before we could even see them. Then as you walked through the doors, you were basically in a soul train line, passing through a line of Marching Band folks.
* There was a Black orchestra playing in the foyer. Because we love classical music too and we diversify our bonds because we can play it too.
* There was a Step Team. StepAfrica proceeded to give us our entire life wth a 30 minute performance. They started by the doors and announced myself and proceeded to step it ALL THE WAY out in the White House. The floors shook and everyone was yelling YYYAAAAASSSSSS and “YALL BETTER WORK” and it was just a Black moment. Watch the video.
* They performed was “wade in the water.” Of all songs, y’all. StepAfrika then did a set with Wade in the water and I LIVED. I remembered that episode of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air when Aunt Viv 1.0 sang it to Will’s history class when she subbed for them. Seeing that song being performed in the White House. CHILE! HOW BLACK CAN WE BE? HOW MUCH DO I LOVE US? WHY WAS IT EVERYTHING?
* HEYYYY Michelle! – President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama came out to speak, and standing next to me was Tracy Braxton. She hit one good “HEY MICHELLE” and everyone cackled, including POTUS as FLOTUS waved.
* There was buttermilk friend chicken. Yes, they made sure fried chicken was in the delicious platter of food served endlessly throughout the 4 hour event. It never ran out. It was like if Heaven was run by Tupac.
* Open bar had Hennessey. Seriously. Peak Blackness. I Instagrammed a pic as proof.
I’m really wondering if someone was in the corner playing Spades. That’s the only way we coulda had a Blacker time. All that Black excellence under one roof. I was in my feelings from pride. That day, we turned the White House Black. Unapologetically, loudly Black.
Black Panther documentary
PBS premiered Black Panthers: Vanguards of a Revolution to keep the Trill Blackness going.
The misunderstood, oft-demonized group of revolutionaries deserved to have their story told. Especially to a generation that is removed from the injustices they faced for daring to fight for justice.
They ran a free Breakfast program for children, and some say it was their most radical move. Their leaders got assassinated by the FBI, after being subjected to COINTELPRO surveillance. They were deemed a terrorist group, in a world where the KKK is allowed to flourish. This story needed to be told in this super Black month.
Black-Ish’s Police Brutality Episode
Entertainment does not have to be mutually exclusive from education and the folks behind Black-Ish decided to face the subject of police brutality against Black folks head on in what I think is their best episode yet. That show is better than even IT knows sometimes. And because it was slotted against Empire, it also misses out on a massive audience who can’t get enough of Cookie. BUT Black-ish showed that it needs to be here to stay for a long while with this episode, titled Hope. It will probably be the one they submit for Emmy Consideration. It should be, if not.
The way they address the systemic racism that works against our skinfolk was brilliant. The acting was superb and it was just more Black excellence. It spoke to us, for us and about us.
#TrapCovers on Twitter
Because the month was getting so Black, white folks went on and did wack acoustic covers of Beyonce’s “Formation” and Rihanna’s “Work.” Twitter responded with one of the best hashtags ever: #TrapCovers. Folks did trap versions of pop songs and further showed how the world would be boring without Black folks. Some of them are so good that I wish they’d be produced in a studio and we could make them into a Spotify playlist. BuzzFeed has rounded up some of the best ones.
Anthony Hamilton and Fantasia going on tour
On the last day of this Black ass Black history month, it was announced that Anthony Hamilton and Fantasia Barrino will be going on a 10-city tour!
— Anthony Hamilton (@HamiltonAnthony) February 29, 2016
It’s like the ancestors got together and collaborated to make this happen because who can sing some souls down from Heaven better than Anthony “Frederick’s Great Great Grand-Nephew” Hamilton and Fantasia “Sojourner’s Truth in Song” Barrino. Every concert gon need to start with libations to keep the spirits at bay because they might all be tempted to show up and show out. All that damb soul. Might be TOO MUCH. All that Black. You know Tasia Mae gon take off her shoes the moment she steps upon that stage. And Anthony? Well, one good struggle wail from him and I’ma be rocking #bagginfoaf.
Will I be in the building? YES MA’AM! I love bofadem so hard. They’re gonna be in Chicago on April 23. My body is READY.
Whew. Just Black. Noir. Sable. Onyx. February 2016 is gonna go down in history as the month of Turnt. We even had an extra day of it in this Leap Year. We showed OUT with every single hour.
We gotta keep it going, though. I ask for Melanin March. Afro April. Mahogany May. Jet June. Sable September. Onyx October. Nubian November. Dark December. I need something for July and August. Because: alliteration is hard sometimes. Edit: Y’all have suggested Jubilant July and Ancestral August. DONE!
We need to have a Black ass year and a Black ass life. Because this February has shown me that once you go UBER BLACK, you can’t go back. You gotta keep it going and make folks uncomfortable with your Blackness. Make em mad. MAKE EM MAD.
I’m committed to keeping this going. Can’t stop, won’t stop!
What other really Black moments were there? These were my favorites.
Oh and HAPPY MELANIN MARCH!!!