Why I: Love Being Black

Say it loud – I’M BLACK and I’M PROUD!!

Other than the phrases, “God is good,”

or

“Pizza is from Heaven”

or

“I have the best family and friends ever,” no truer words have ever been spoken.

Today, is the last day of Black History Month. Today marks the culmination of a push across America to squeeze in as much information into the minds of those who will listen about the contributions of black people in America. While today signifies the end of the collective focus, spanning various races, it does not signify the end of the cycle to educate, highlight and uncover facts that need not be ignored.

But that’s not why I’m here.

I could go on and on about the lack of teaching when it comes to black history.

But that’s not why I’m here.

I’m here to talk about why. we. are. so. dope.

Ya’ll know that’s my word! We. Are. Dope. Oh and we’re fly.

I can easily run off a list of names: President Barack Obama. Forever First Lady Michelle Obama. Dr. Mae Jemison. Eric Holder. Rona Lockhart. LM Lockhart. Margaret Lockhart. Sherraine Lockhart McLean. Ken Griffey, Jr. Serena Williams. Venus Williams. Wardell Stephen Curry. Johnnetta B. Cole. Arnetta Beverly. Victor Hugo Green. Viola Davis. Denzel Washington. Misty Copeland. Dr. Monica Leach. Philip Freelon. Julian Bond. Ruby Bridges. Audrey Nelson. Elizabeth Hill. Dewey Hill. Willie Hardin. Nellie Holt. Antionette Kerr. Leroy Pearson. Alice Henderson. Harvey Henderson. Thad Dickerson. Rev. J. L. Stowe. Rev. Dr. Robert C. Scott. Julia England. Charles England.

Some names you’ll recognize and some you won’t but they all possess some of the most common character traits you will find residing inside black people: faith, perseverance, resilience, kindness, determination, leadership, boldness and courage. They’ve laid foundations for many to stand upon, including myself, and for that I’m thankful.

But let me tell you about the other ways we exude dopeness and flyness.

It’s that trailblazing blood that lies within us that manifested itself in the form of the Montford Point Marines, the Tuskegee Airmen, the Buffalo Soldiers, Bill Russell, Jackie Robinson, Colin Kapernick, C. Vivian Stringer, Fritz Pollard, Bobby Marshall, Nat “Sweetwater Clifton, Earl Lloyd, Muhammad Ali, Gabrielle Douglas, Althea Gibson, Arthur Ashe, Florence Griffith-Joyner.

It’s our leaders that withstood the pressure to retreat, refused to be silent and pressed forward to to get us closer to the dream we see advertised, daily. Their names should be etched in all of our minds – Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Congressman John Lewis, The Greensboro Four, Shirley Chislom, Tarana Burke, Dorothy Height, A. Philip Randolph, Fannie Lou Hammer, Harriett Tubman, Sojurner Truth.

It’s the way we talk. We can make two words have 10 different meanings – think about how many interpretations there are of the phrases you good and you straight.

It’s the way we dance. We done gave yall the two-step, The Dougie, The Prep, The Running Man aka The Hammer, the Kid N Play, the Butterfly (Uh Uh, That’s Old!), The Wop, the Milly Rock, Krumpin. Need I go on? We been sliding since the 90s – The Electric Slide, the Cha Cha Slide, The Cupid Shuffle, The Biker Shuffle and the wedding favorite, The Wobble.

It’s the music we make. Listen we all know that 20 years from now as soon as that first ‘dunt dunna dunt dunna nunna nunt dunt’ drum cadence from Poison hit the speakers or you hear Juvenile say ‘Cash Money Records taking over the 99 and 2000,’ black people will be rushing(at whatever speed we can muster up) to still get to the dance floor to show folks we still got it.

It’s the timeless classics. Coming to America. Sanford and Son. What’s Happenin’. The Cosby Show. A Different World. Boyz N The Hood. Hardball. Martin. The Jacksons: An American Dream. The Original Kings of Comedy. Harlem Nights. Brown Sugar. The Best Man. Black Panther. I’m Gonna Get You Sucka. Black-ish.

It’s our musicianship and entertainment artistry. Michael Joseph Jackson. James Brown. Janet Damita Jo Jackson. New Edition. Boyz II Men. LL Cool J. Outkast. Kirk Franklin. Lecrae. Biggie. Kool and the Gang. Etta James. Smokey Robinson. Kanye West(old ‘Ye). Shirley Caesar. Herbie Hancock. Quincy Jones. 9th Wonder. Colandra McDowell. CJ McBath. Prince, who carved out his own place in history while wearing heels.

We’re magnificent man.

I could literally sit here all day and name names. I could run off our list of endless accomplishments.

Pause.

I left out something. And if you know me, you know this is important!

Can we talk about food for a moment?

Maaaaan, don’t nobody and I mean nobooooooooooody cook like us.

Macaroni and cheese. Collard Greens. Fried chicken(don’t front ya’ll – ya’ll know we love fried chicken). Candied yams. Creamed corn. Ham. Chitlins(yes, I eat them on occasion). Fried fish!! Cornbread. Pound cakes! Sweet potato pies. Peach cobbler. Nanner pudding(banana for those who don’t know the terminology).

We’re so multitalented. We take care of our families, fight injustices, excel on and off the court/sporting fields, rescue this country, craft our own lingo, constantly create ideas. We press forward. We encourage. We uplift. We fight when we have no more fight left. We love. We challenge. We shine.

And we shine bright.

Ain’t no denying this vibranium that runs through our veins.

I LOVE BEING BLACK.

We’re dope.

We’re fly.

We’re magnificent man.

And we can’t be contained to one month.

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