Black History Month 2016 has been one for the books and has been referred to as the blackest one yet. We experienced excellence at epic proportions with a whole lot of unapologetic blackness…so much so that we’ve been saying “YAAAS” all month long. I’ve recapped with a few highlights but before we jump in, I’m going to set the tone with this video below:
Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy Performance
I’m bestowing the Politically Aware Artist of the Year Award to Kendrick Lamar, who consistently writes powerful lyrics in every single line of every single song. True poetry is what he performed at this year’s Grammy’s starting with “The Blacker the Berry” and leading into “Alright” from his album, “To Pimp a Butterfly.”
His powerful lyrics, matched with equally powerful visuals, were more than I was prepared for on the other side of the screen. He stepped out in shackles y’all! From a prison stage set, to an indoor bonfire, to a backdrop of Africa, Kendrick’s imagery alone shocked the audience (literally).
Even though he didn’t win “Album of the Year” (don’t get me started on that) Kendrick Lamar showcased, that as usual, he is a reliable source of meaningful music that empowers change.
President Barack Obama
President Obama has also been enjoying an extra blackity Black History Month in the White House, probably since it’s his last. Not sure what I’m referring to? Check out the timeline below.
It started with 106-year-old Virginia McLaurin dancing with President Obama and the first lady (super cute!)….
To then be followed by a “Heyyyy Michelle!” from a White House guest who felt right at home….
Leading up to this past week, where President Obama led the singalong at a Ray Charles Tribute.
And for kicks and gigs, let’s revisit to when President Obama sang Amazing Grace last summer. #NeverForget
The Release of Formation
It’s always a big deal when Beyonce drops new music–especially when it descends from the heavens and finds its way to our ears without any notice. Yet the real shocker came when we watched the video for a song like Formation that celebrated her–well, our–baby hair, afros and Jackson 5 nostrils. We were shocked! A black conscious single? Is that you, Bey?
With this release, Beyonce positioned herself as not only an entertainer, but an activist as well. Naturally the video and Super Bowl performance created controversy and discomfort, which revealed the disturbing truth that many of us already knew. No, not that Red Lobster has great cheddar “Bey” biscuits. But that as a society, people become more enraged about black folks addressing the issue of police brutality than police brutality itself.
Whether you like the song or not (I personally can’t stand 96% of the lyrics), this is Beyonce’s way of telling the world that she’s paying attention to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Sophina DeJesus Twirling through her Meet
If you haven’t seen this performance, stop what you’re doing and check this girl out NOW. If you have seen her epic floor routine, you know where I’m going.
Sophina girl, where have you been all my life?! The world watched this floor routine and all said a collective, “YAAAAAAAS!” She did that! Effortlessly! Sophina is Puerto Rican and I’m not sure if she identifies as black, but I’m adding her to our team. Cool? Cool.
Sophina blessed UCLA’s women’s gymnastics team with a 9.925 (which is downright amazing, but where was the deduction?) floor routine and a whole lot of energy. Y’all she brought back the Harlem Shake! And not that rhythmless Harlem Shake mess that took over in 2013. I mean the real Harlem Shake that a cornrowed Lil Bow Wow did in all his music videos circa 2002.
When I competed in gymnastics the blackest song I could find on the National Gymnastics League’s list was I Want You Back by the Jackson 5 (lol). But when I saw Sophina perform her floor routine I was so proud that she had broken an unwritten barrier—a barrier that previously prevented complete creative freedom, instead insisting that hip hop is not graceful or elite. I wish I had seen this routine when I was still competing. Go Sophina!
Prince’s Passport Photo
This is perfect and I don’t really know what more I can say. I can only express my thoughts through hashtags: #NoShame #Unapologetic #Flawless #HatersGonHate #GetLikeMe #InternationalBish #WerkWerkWerkWerkWerk
Black Twitter Logo
I don’t know who created this logo but it caught wind on Twitter and I think it’s safe to say that it’s (unofficially) official now! #MamaWeMadeIt
Other notable stories that you may have missed: