Posted in Conversations with Beloved & Kindred, On The Radar

New Summer Series!!

Birds flying high, you know how I feel
Sun in the sky, you know how I feel
Breeze driftin’ on by, you know how I feel

It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life for me, ooh
And I’m feeling good

‘Feelin’ Good’ ~Nina Simone

Hello!! Hello!! How are you feeling my friends?! Like Nina Simone, I’m feelin’ good and can’t wait for summer to get here!!

Summertime is definitely one of my favorite seasons, partly due to my Birthday [Leo in the House!!], the weather is amazing, and the fact that there is so much happening on a day-to-day basis! Well I got something for you to add to your summertime fun! Dr. Kaniqua Robinson and I are linking back up for some summertime conversations. If you have tuned into our video podcast, Conversations with Beloved and Kindred then you already have a sneak peek into what is to come!!

For the month of June, Auburn Avenue Research Library will host the limited series Summertime Conversations on “Feelin’ Good”: Exploring the Lived Experience of Black Joy!! Inspired by Nina Simone’s 1965 classic song “Feelin’ Good”, Summertime Conversations on “Feelin’ Good” is a freeform dialogue that foregrounds how people of African descent create communal agency and collective resilience via the cultivation of joy. Check out what is in store below:

  • June 16th-Juneteenth Why Our Day of Jubilation Matters: In recognition of Juneteenth (2021), this discussion will examine the history and contemporary relevance of the Juneteenth holiday as a curated expression of Black joy and agency. Juneteenth is an annual holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, which has been celebrated by African Americans since the late 1800s.
  • June 23rd-Sonic Curation of Happiness via Black Music: In recognition of Black Music Month (June), this discussion will explore the songs and singers/musicians that contribute to the communal expression of collective Black joy and happiness soundtrack.

Both episodes will take place at 5 pm via Auburn Avenue Research Library Facebook Live and YouTube Channel (for Live and later viewing).

Look forward to you all tuning in!!

Posted in A Professor's Thoughts...

A Professor’s Thoughts…

2021 Black History Month Reflections…*

“Taking steps that lead to action, that result in change.” ~Dr. G

This year’s celebration of Black History Month hit me a little different this time around. Not that I do not think about and enjoy the fact that we highlight the achievements and success of Black and African diasporic people; I think I now ponder more about what Black History Month has become. Keep in mind, every February I prepare my mind for the year’s celebration, I become on high alert to see who is temporarily stepping up their efforts to celebrate Black History. Every year we see this rise in celebrating and acknowledging the Black/African American experience from various companies, organizations, schools/universities, businesses, etc. 2021 becomes even more on high alert with how the aforementioned are responding/reacting and celebrating this month due to last year’s protests and the many deaths that happened due to racially motivated violence, police brutality, and systemic oppression.

These days as an Assistant Professor in African American Studies, Black History Month is a day-to-day routine. As a matter of fact, I recently recall having a conversation with a couple of my colleagues about celebrating Black History Month. One asked, what should AFAM/AAS departments do to celebrate Black History Month? And I quickly responded with “we celebrate Black History Month 365, every semester, every academic year…we’re and AFAM department that’s what we do naturally.” As a kid, Black History Month was all about coloring pictures of historical figures (i.e. Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglass, Malcolm X, Matthew Henson), watching an assortment of documentaries, listening to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech”, and participating in my church’s “Black History Month” presentation. In high school and college, the celebration shifted to getting deeper into the history and achievements of Black people. It also became an opportunity to have more discussions and conversations about the above with not just other Black people, but ALL people. I will say each phase of my life, up to this current moment has and always been about not just celebrating but staying informed, embracing a deeper sense of pride, continuous acknowledgement, and making sure other people realize this is not just a 28-day effort.

Starting out as “Negro History Week” in 1926 by historian and scholar Carter G. Woodson, his intentions were very clear…educate young African Americans about their own heritage, and the achievements of their ancestors. Woodson dedicated much of his life to ensure that history would be re-written and that the Black/African American population would not be ignored. He believed, “the achievements of the Negro properly set forth will crown him as a factor in early human progress and a maker of modern civilization.” This challenge of inserting Black Americans into history was no easy task for Woodson as he and his colleagues struggled to meet the demand for course materials and other resources (sound familiar…). But this would not stop Woodson from doing the work (Officially the celebration became a month-long in 1976)! According to Woodson, making this effort a reality was essential to ensure the physical and intellectual survival of the [Black] race.

Many often ask why February, but Woodson selected this month due to the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two prominent figures whose historic achievements played a role in the African Americans population. Ultimately, what Woodson hoped is that the public celebrations moved beyond just simply being one week. For him Black History was never meant to be confined into one week, he actually sought for it to be eliminated and see that Black History became fundamental to American History.

Now what becomes interesting over the years is the critiques and naysayers of Black History Month. Some have argued that “Black History Month could reduce complex historical figures to overly simplified objects of ‘hero worship,’” and others have even described it as racist (this becomes very interesting how the celebration of achievements and triumphs is seen as racist…but that is for another time). Then you have specific critics like actors Morgan Freeman and Stacey Dash who criticized the concept of declaring one month as Black History Month. Freeman would note, “there is no White History Month and there should be no Black History Month…Black History is American History. While I find some slender truths to the above thought, unfortunately Freeman is not fully informed. Freeman also noted (and co-signed by Dash) that the only way to get rid of racism is to “stop talking about it” and this is where you completely lose me…It is not that easy. His critique is very much surface-level. It is actually quite the opposite. And even if we agree with pieces of Freeman’s argument, unfortunately not everyone feels the same way about Black History as American History. This is evident considering we still have to constantly remind people that Black Lives Matters! It would be amazing if Blackness and Black life was normalized, sadly we still have work to do when it comes to this endeavor.

As a federally recognized and global celebration (Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom celebrate Black History Month in October) in 2021, I realize more and more why Black History Month must exist. The celebration has moved beyond the classroom, textbooks are no longer the only source of information, Black History Month is in real time. Instagram in 2018 created its first ever Black History Month program, which featured various initiatives such as a #BlackGirlMagic partnership with Spotify and launching their #CelebrateBlackCreatives program. Various streaming platforms like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime highlight content that centers Black Voices; and in 2020 Target Corporation created a marketing campaign “Black Beyond measure” that features Black creators and entrepreneurs. Additionally, this year Apple launched a variety of ways to celebrate Black History Month through the App Store Black History Month Hub along with introducing the Black Unity Collection. Many of the abovementioned initiatives not only celebrate, acknowledge, and highlight Black culture but are also financially donating to numerous organizations as a part of “promoting and achieving” equality and civil rights nationally and globally. Although I am sometimes weary of these collaborations, my hope like Woodson, is that it becomes a part of the normal regular conversation and not just during a certain when you can say you satisfied your diversity requirement.

There is a never-ending well of knowledge as it relates to Black History and culture, and we are far beyond just simply only talking about enslavement and civil rights. We must continue to shine a light on the whole entire picture of African Americans. A wealth of knowledge awaits us, not just Black people but everyone!! We are not a monolith, but we are worthy to be celebrated!!

—-

As we reflect and close out another Black History Month celebration, be reminded that it will never be wrong to celebrate each year in February, but know that the fun can and does continue year-round!!

Image result for things to do

28 Things You Can Do For Black History Month And Even After…

  1. Educate yourself by digging through the archives of an African American-centered library and/or resource center…Make an active, regular effort to learn about the many facets of Black experiences and culture…Visit a museum/cultural center dedicated to Black History and culture
  2. Trace your family history (Ancestry.com, 23andMe.com)
  3. Support a Black-owned business
  4. Visit/Donate to an Historically Black College or University HBCU
  5. Host a Family & Friends Black film marathon
  6. Create a Book Club that highlights Black authors
  7. Tune into a podcast that discusses Black life and culture
  8. Create a soundtrack/playlist that explores the history of Black musicians and artists
  9. Call out systemic racism, stereotypes, prejudices, implicit bias and injustices
  10. Review the timeline of how Black History came to be
  11. In honor of the Harlem Renaissance and Black Arts Movement, host a themed open mic night
  12. In the workplace, have regular, healthy dialogues and conversations about Black life and history [Be thoughtful about inclusion, diversity, and collaborations.]
  13. Support Black radio stations, Black press, and Black newspapers
  14. Follow and support Black artists (i.e. comic book, manga, anime, illustrator, painter)
  15. Incorporate a regular inclusive curriculum (i.e. create lesson plans) in your classroom that inspires and educates (K-12 and College)
  16. Follow a Black historian, scholar, activist organization, foundation on social media (this provides exposure for them and you get to learn something new on daily/weekly/monthly basis)
  17. Have a game night with family and friends using one of these games (Black Card Revoked and CultureTags)
  18. Host a Virtual Wine Tasting with a Black-owned wine and or support/highlight Black sommeliers, winemakers, and businesses
  19. Host a dinner party, try a new recipe and/or create a weekly menu inspired by Black/African Diasporic cuisines
  20. Organize/create a Black History Internet Scavenger Hunt that uses questions that pertain to African American people and moments
  21. Participate in a Story Time reading Black authored children books via your local library/Tune into a “StoryCorps” story that centers Black voices in conversations about Black history, identity, struggles, and joy”!
  22. Volunteer your time with an organization, non-profit or charity (i.e. Happy Mama Happy Mini, Black Girls CODE, National Society of Black Engineers, United Negro College Fund, Color of Change, National Council of Black Studies, Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Trans Women of Color Collective, Audre Lorde Project, Million Hoodies, Black Women’s Blueprint, and many more) that empowers and uplifts Black diasporic communities.
  23. Find ways to celebrate Black Joy!! (going to the park, streaming a concert, attending a sports event, etc.)
  24. Talk about the importance of journalism as well as its limitations with regards to Black social and cultural movements
  25. Create a monthly mural project that celebrates/honors Black artistic movements (past and present)
  26. Create a YouTube video diary that documents Black experiences
  27. Learn about Black history and culture through the lens of Black photographers
  28. Understand that Black Lives Matter!!

~Dr. G.

*Jointly published on “Happy Mama Happy Mini

Posted in Feature Spotlight

Feature Spotlight-Article Repost

In the spirit of Black History Month, I wanted to make sure I shared with my BFF family a great article in the “Washington Post” from a colleague/mentor Dr. Keisha Blain on the “Five Myths about Black History.”

Each February since 1976, Americans have celebrated Black History Month. Established by historian Carter G. Woodson as Negro History Week in 1926, the commemoration developed over 50 years until it became Black History Month to mark the contributions of Black people. Despite the significance of Black history, far too many Americans don’t grasp its centrality to U.S. history. This lack of knowledge helps spread myths about the Black past.

~Dr. Keisha N. Blain 2/19/21

Read the full article here!

Dr. Keisha N. Blain is an associate professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh, is a co-editor of Made by History, The Washington Post’s daily section for historical analysis. She is a co-editor of “Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019.

Posted in Feature Spotlight

Event Reminders

Friends, just a couple reminders of Dr. G’s upcoming events:

  • [WILL BE RESCHEDULED] February 24th, 2021 (6:00pm/ET)-“Black History Month Discussion: The Black Family and its Representations, Identity, and Complexities” (Panelist)…Richmond Public Library System (Richmond, VA) [Register Here]
"The Black family and its representation, identity, and diversity": A discussion with Michael Dickinson, Kimberly Wallace-Sanders, and Grace Gipson
  • February 24th, 2021-“What’s Your RPG Fantasy?: Let’s Talk Blackness, Politics, and Gaming” (Virtual Lecture)… The New Commons Project-University of Maine Farmington (Farmington, ME)…[Watch Here]
Posted in On The Radar

On The Radar

Dr. G’s Upcoming Events

Wow!! February is truly flying by, but it is definitely one for the books.

As we get ready to close out Black History Month, I wanted to make sure I shared with you all some upcoming events in which you can see me in action”!!

February 23rd, 2021

  • VCU Unlocking Health Equity Panel-Are Cultural Images Fueling our Bias?” [Watch the Event Here!] Event begins at 12 pm/ET!
  • Chesterfield Public Library-Black History Month Program, “Black Women in American Pop Culture:” A discussion on the various portrayals of  Black women in American pop culture. [Register for the event here!] Event begins at 7 pm/ET!

February 24th, 2021

  • The New Commons Project-University of Maine Farmington-“What’s Your RPG Fantasy?: Let’s Talk Blackness, Politics, and Gaming” (Virtual Lecture)…(Farmington, ME)…[Watch Here]
  • Richmond Public Library System Black History Month Discussion- “The Black Family and its Representations, Identity, and Complexities” (Panelist)…(Richmond, VA)…[Register for the event here] Event begins at 6 pm/ET
"The Black family and its representation, identity, and diversity": A discussion with Michael Dickinson, Kimberly Wallace-Sanders, and Grace Gipson

February 25th, 2021

  • VCU Activities Programming Board- “Education, Covid-19, and Classroom Learning”: A open dialogue on the current state of education, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the impact on today’s learning, (Panelist)…(Richmond, VA)…Event begins at 6 pm/ET!
  • Conversations with Beloved and KindredEpisode 4: “Harlem Nights”…Auburn Avenue Research Library…[Live Streaming Here]… Event begins at 7 pm/ET!
  • Berkeley Center for New Media- “Fandom+Piracy Keynote w/Rebecca Wanzo: “How Should We Theorize Injury in Fan Studies?” (Panelist/Interlocuter)…(Berkeley, CA)…[Register Here]…Event begins at 8 pm/ET!
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Posted in On The Radar

On the Radar

Peep Game Comix and The Comic Book Shopping Experience present the 2021 ‘Black Comix Universe’ Virtual Comic Con

Two of my favorite things Black History and comics…And what better way to close out Black History Month than with a virtual comic con!! So as part of Black History Month, Peep Game Comix and The Comic Book Shopping Experience will be closing out with a 2-day virtual comic con, Black Comix Universe; the virtual comic con event will take place on Saturday, February 27 and Sunday, February 28!

The purpose of the event is to educate comic book fans about the amazing work and impact Black creators are having in the comic book industry. The 16 hour event will stream live on several platforms including: Youtube, Facebook, Twitch and others. ~Peep Game Comix

During these two eventful days there will be a host of panel presentations along with featured guests like Afua Richardson (Illustrator, Indie Publisher,Musician), John Jennings (Illustrator, Publisher), Tim Fielder (Illustrator, Author), Joseph Illidge (Editor, Writer), and more!!

This is a con you do not want to miss…I know I won’t!!

For more information about the Virtual Con and Peep Game Comix see here!!

~Dr. G

Posted in Feature Spotlight

‘Just Talk/Talk Just’ Panel Discussion Recap

Just in case you were not able to tune into the “Just Talk/Talk Just” panel discussion How Long Till Black Future Month: Honoring Black History, Cultivating Black Futures you can check it out below:

This was a great discussion and dialogue!! It was like good ol’ school conversation amongst colleagues and friends.

Ultimately a true pleasure to share the ‘digital stage’ with some great scholars (Rev. Melanie C. Jones, Rev. Dr. Sakena Young-Scaggs, De’Angelo Dia, and Sommer Jordan)!

Posted in On the Desk...

2021 Black History Month Features

Are you looking for an engaging documentary to watch with the family? Do you need a special report to share with you students? Or a digital platform that taps into your musical and/or intellectual interests? Well I have a few things that are airing this month in honor of Black History Month:

Television

  • Tuskegee Airmen: Legacy of Courage (History Channel)- Wednesday, February 10th at 8pm/ET…”In this one hour special, Robin Roberts explores the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, the legendary group of African American pilots including her father that served in WWII, revealing how these warriors for change helped end segregation in the military and pave the way for the civil rights movement.”
  • The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song (PBS)- February 16 & 17th at 9pm ET/8pm CT…An intimate four-hour series from Henry Louis Gates, Jr., The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song will explore the 400-year-old story of the black church in America, the changing nature of worship spaces, and the men and women who shepherded them from the pulpit, the choir loft, and church pews.
  • American Masters: How It Feels To Be Free (PBS)…“The inspiring story of how six iconic African American female entertainers – Lena Horne, Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone, Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson and Pam Grier – challenged an entertainment industry deeply complicit in perpetuating racist stereotypes, and transformed themselves and their audiences in the process.

YouTube, Website & Streaming Services

  • Your Attention Please (Hulu)-February 18th 8pm/ET…Your Attention Please is a TV series “that introduces audiences to Black innovators and creators who are working to leave the world better than they found it.”
  • Ailey Experience Atlanta-February 19th-21st…Ailey Experience Atlanta celebrates over forty years of a rich partnership with the city’s most prominent arts and civic organizations. This year, AEA teams up with AREA Atlanta to bring Ailey Experience online to the greater Atlanta area and across the country.
  • iHeartRadio’s Living Black! (iHeartRadio)-February 20th 6pm/ET…A first ever special event that features conversations that educate, inspire and celebrate the Black experience through a mix of custom tributes from artists and listeners across the nation. 
  • Black Renaissance (YouTube)- Friday, February 26th…A YouTube Originals special that will showcase the Black creators, artists, writers, storytellers, and history makers who have shaped our nation’s history; and the next generation of Black voices who are reimagining our future. The special will also feature dance, music, fashion, photography, literature, Afrofuturism, and art from Black Women and LGBTQ+ artists.
  • All Hands: Race Toward Inclusion (Cheddar.com)…”All Hands is a show about the minority stories that go untold. Each week, we peel back the layers of business stories that expose racial inequalities and are exacerbated by global phenomena like climate change and health crises. We also discuss the successes of minority businesses and communities, and examine how to talk about, and take action on, race-related topics. It’s an inclusive living room in which to have meaningful, difficult, and provocative discussions… *for* everyone.
  • A Most Beautiful Thing (Peacock)…Narrated by the Academy Award/Grammy-winning artist, Common; executive produced by NBA Stars Grant Hill and Dwyane Wade along with Grammy Award-winning producer 9th Wonder; and directed by award-winning filmmaker (and Olympic rower) Mary Mazzio, the film chronicles the first African American high school rowing team in this country (made up of young men, many of whom were in rival gangs from the West Side of Chicago), all coming together to row in the same boat. Based on the memoir by Arshay Cooper.
  • Freedia Got a Gun (Peacock)…“Devastated after learning that her brother was murdered, New Orleans bounce legend Big Freedia raises awareness about gun violence, an epidemic that continues to disproportionally harm Black communities.”
  • The Sit-in: Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show (Peacock)…“In 1968, entertainer and activist Harry Belafonte took over “The Tonight Show” for one historic week, introducing a fractured, changing country to itself alongside legendary guests like Aretha Franklin and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

Get your popcorn ready!!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
Posted in On The Radar

On The Radar

“How Long Till Black Futures Month:

Honoring Black History, Cultivating Black Futures

Just Talk/Talk Just Webinar Series

Mark You Calendars and Save the Date!!

February 9th, 2021 at 7 pm/ET

What do you get when you put Afrofuturism, Social Activism, and Black History together…you get a panel on “How Long Till Black Futures Month: Honoring Black History, Cultivating Black Futures” as part of the Just Talk/Talk Just series! This series is hosted by Union Presbyterian Seminary and co-sponsored by The Center for Social Justice and Reconciliation & The Katie Geneva Cannon Center for Womanist Leadership.

Now for folks that know me, they know I love geeking out about Black Futures and even more about its relationship with Black History (hence the name of this site ‘Black Future Feminist’). So it is without question that I am very excited to virtually sit with some forward thinking minds and participate in this soul-stirring, out of this world panel!!

You can stream and get more information about the event here!!

And remember although February is the month (here in the US) that we formally celebrate Black History (major thanks to Carter G. Woodson) just know that Black History is 365 day effort!!