Today is February 1st, which means it is officially, Black History Month! Black History Month is one of my favorite times of year to be on social media. Many people on my friends list share awesome facts and information about important Black historical figures and events throughout the month. It’s so nice to get on Facebook and/or Instagram to read educational posts about my own culture and heritage.Read More
Today is February 1st, 2016, which means it is officially the first day of Black History Month. As a Black woman who has gone through life being taught to celebrate every aspect of what makes me different from everyone else, it’s a month long celebration I both enjoy and will always believe is much needed. If you’ve been paying attention to anything regarding the media in the last year or so, you have without a doubt seen much talk about race, and specifically what it means to be Black in this country. We don’t even need to go in detail of how critical this years presidential race has been in proving racism being an issue. As nasty as some people can be hiding behind their keyboards, talking about race and what makes us different, and causes us to lead different lifestyles, with different opportunities, is a LONG overdue discussion. There will always be people who immediately go on the defense when discussing racism. Then there are those who have expanded their minds enough to want to talk about it, and learn as much as they can to make the people around them feel comfortable.
However, to those of you who get uncomfortable when talking about anything racially related, I challenge you to learn how to be comfortable talking about race starting this month. You would be amazed how enlightening it will be for you and your friends when you sit down and have intelligent but passionate conversation about uncomfortable topics. The biggest lesson I hope all non-people of color (and people of color) take from Black History Month this year is the understanding that celebration does not equal exclusion. I have plenty of friends, who are not Black, who enjoy and celebrate Black culture the same way they celebrate their culture(s). You don’t have to be Black, or a person of color, to pick up a book or research: Black activists, actors/actresses, doctors, inventors, musicians, politicians, teachers etc. and learn what contributions they made to this country that directly effect you every single day. Your eyes will also be opened to learning there are more to Black people, and we have contributed so much more than slavery, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to America as our history books have taught us since elementary school.
My challenge to people of color this Black History Month is to take the time to teach your children about the thousands of amazing Black people who have done amazing things in this country. We can no longer use the excuse of school not teaching our children when the information plus more is available at our finger tips to teach them ourselves. As parents and guardians, we are our children’s first teachers, and we should be teaching them to celebrate and understand the bravery and sacrifice those before us endured to get us where we are, today. Have your children read a book, or go to a museum, to teach them about people such as Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, and W.E.B. Du Bois. How else will the children learn about their history if we don’t teach them what isn’t taught at school? Which is almost everything about Black History -_-.
To those of you who know me, you know I am a person who has family members and friends every shade of the rainbow. I love the people in my life, and to love them I celebrate the important aspects of their lives which makes them who they are. I expect the same in return, and one of the largest parts of being, Brienne Jamieson, is being a Black woman. Don’t tell me you’re “colorblind” or “you don’t see race“, because you are denying a large part of ME. If you move to, or visit, another country you want people to know you’re an American, right? Or on the flip side, if someone from another country moves to America we don’t expect them to reject their heritage, and all of a sudden call them selves an American do we? No. So think about these examples next time you tell someone you’re colorblind. Don’t let my Blackness, or anyone else’s Blackness, make you uncomfortable. Instead, see us for who we are and join in the beauty, celebration, and struggle, of being close to someone who loves her heritage. In turn we get to celebrate one another through our differences and similarities year round.
Happy Black History Month everybody.
Always remember Black History is Our History.
Today is my Grandmother’s 70th birthday, and oh man, what a blessing she is to this family. Not only has she been blessed to see another day, but she’s here to see the start of a new decade.
If you know me, you know I am for sure a “grandma’s girl” and it’s a title I wear with pride. I have always been extremely close to my grandmother. We have an unexplainable bond that I thank God for every time I get the chance. I had the privilege of growing up either living in the same house or down the street from my Grandma, and for that I am thankful.
In conjunction with a post on the Humans of New York Facebook page (click here to read it) last month, and FLOTUS, Michelle Obama’s, Let Girls Learn initiative, I began to think of my Grandma and how much she has influenced me, but particularly my education. I don’t know if I ever told anyone before, but a huge part of getting my degree was for my Grandmother. Although I always knew I wanted to go to college and receive a degree in a subject I love; my love grew out of my love for my Grandma. When my Grandma got married and had children it was a much different time for women and the life options they were presented to chose from. I remember the first time my Grandma said if she was given the opportunity back then she would have gone to law school to become a lawyer. It never really hit me until I was in high school how privileged I was, as a young Black woman, to be able to go to college and pursue my own dreams. I still remember how proud she was of me at my college graduation, and how she was wiping tears away when I walking up to them after the ceremony to take pictures. In all of the hard work and personal pride I felt in receiving my degree, I was even more happy to have made my Grandmother proud. For me, walking across the stage was my personal way of saying I have listened to everything you have taught me in life and this is my way of saying thank you.
As my grandmother celebrates her 70th birthday, the beginning of a new decade, I want her to go into it knowing how loved she is and how thankful I am for God blessing her to see another year, and how much she has already taught me and continues to teach me about life. On her birthday I want to say a million thank yous and they still wouldn’t be enough.
Happy birthday Grandma/GG! We love you so much and pray you have a wonderful day. You make 70 look GOOD! 🙂
Today, the entire series of the show “A Different World” was released on Netflix. Anyone who knows me knows this is one of my favorite, if not my absolute favorite, television show. If you have never seen “A Different World” I highly suggest watching it on Netflix and enjoy being reminded of what great television used to look like. (Also, I’ll go ahead and give you the heads up and let you know season 1 of the show when Lisa Bonet was the star, is not that great. It’s pretty boring, with random funny moments. So just push through season one and you’ll get to the good stuff.) The reason I love this show so much is because of how it portrayed young Black people, and more importantly, the very crucial and valuable messages plenty of the episodes taught me and everyone else who watched it. Although this show was originally a spin-off of the Cosby Show, following Denise’s college career, I believe “A Different World” was the more important show between the two. Not saying the “The Cosby Show” wasn’t a game changer for Black people on network television, but “A Different World” was a life changer for anyone who encountered it.
I say this show STILL matters because it has almost been 30 years since this show first aired, and it’s still just as important now as it was then. I remember watching this show with my Mom when I was younger, and although I didn’t completely understand what college was, I knew I wanted to go because of this show. (However, I would quickly learn, college wasn’t an option in my household anyway, but thanks for making it look interesting, cast of the show lol.) It was so awesome to see this group of people who looked like me, being amazingly flawed people, preparing to do great things. I wasn’t until I started watching the show again in high school and college that I then realized how important this show was to the television industry and life in general.
If you have watched this show, then you remember the “date-rape” episode of the basketball jock attempting to rape Freddie on their date, because “when girls say stop, don’t tell me you actually stop?” Do I even have to elaborate on how relevant this way of thinking is in today’s society of teaching women how to not get raped vs. teaching men to simply not rape? I didn’t think so. There was the HIV/AIDS episode where we learned the basics of always practicing safe sex in addition to how ignorant many people were to how HIV/AIDS works and what it does to the body. With today’s high STD/STI rates, I would say there is still a lot many of us could learn about practicing safe sex. There was the big game day episode which targeted racial discrimination and tension in this country. It was in this episode Dwayne Wayne delivered one of the best speeches while in the jail cell with the perpetrators. Then there was the two-part episode about the Rodney King trial and the “not-guilty” verdict that sent Los Angeles into riots all over the city (which ultimately ended up getting the show cancelled). I don’t think I have to explain how relevant both of those episodes are regarding racial tensions and police brutality with everything taking place in this country within the last few months. However, the one episode that always makes me realize how relevant this show is today, is the time capsule episode. They made a video time capsule where they shared important topics they wished to be better and for people to be better educated on in 20 years, and sadly not much has changed since that video.
I feel this show being added to Netflix, today, couldn’t have been added at a better time. With all of the trash, so-called, television taking up air time and clouding people’s minds, we need to be reminded of what great television shows look like. I’m specifically referring to the Black community too. With all of the “Love & Hip Hop” or “Real Housewives” shows portraying Black people in ways that only adds to the stereotypes of who we AREN’T, shows such as “A Different World” are missed. Thankfully, we have shows such as “Blackish” trying it’s hardest to make up for the lack of positive Black culture television, but unfortunately, “Blackish” can’t do it on its own. We need more writers, producers, actors and actresses who want to eliminate and denounce the stereotypes of the Black community instead of doing the opposite. We need more Black people who want to watch quality television instead of trashy television. We simply need more “A Different World” and “The Cosby Show” in our lives.
I’m thankful I was raised to watch and appreciate such quality television. I’m thankful shows like “A Different World” showed me what I could look forward to growing up. I’m thankful I learned at an early age through this show that the world is not just Black and White. I’m thankful I grew up in the 90’s before reality television was popular. More importantly I’m thankful “A Different World” existed and I’m thankful Netflix has brought such greatness to it’s streaming line-up.
Thank you writers and creators of “A Different World.” Your show will always matter and be the reason many young people, like myself, looked forward to receiving a college education. Thanks for creating one of my favorite shows ever! 🙂
Today would have been Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s 86th birthday. I don’t believe I have to say much in regards to how influential and important this man’s accomplishments and dreams were, and still are to this day. Because despite what people may think, most of us know there is still a lot of work to be done. We often times hear people make comments about the Civil Rights Movement being “so long ago,” but the sad reality is, most people my age have grandparents who are 86 years old. (My Mother was already born when he was assassinated just to give a little more perspective) The even more harsh reality of the situation is these same people probably don’t even have a clue what side their grandparents stood on during this movement, which should make them question if what they have been taught is what they should believe. But that’s another blog post for another day.
The official “MLK day” won’t be celebrated until January 19th, but I wanted to write this post for his actual birthday. On this day I want to say happy birthday to Dr. King, and acknowledge the fact there will never be a day when what he sacrificed doesn’t mean the world to me and SO many others.
I will leave you with his iconic “I Have A Dream Speech” to watch. All of these years later, and this speech is just as important and needed now as it was then.
Happy Birthday Dr. King!