The importance of Black History Month is to celebrate the Black and African-American people who weren’t recognized for their contributions. No matter what race you are, people should be celebrated or at least be acknowledged for the work they’ve done, but that hasn’t be the case for many black people throughout history.
Our work has been pushed aside or the credit taken by the majority. Our names weren’t put in history books. Black History Month pays tribute to our ancestors who have not only paved a way for us to have better lives, but have enhanced the world with their work. For me, Black history is all year long. Thankfully, we have a month dedicated to my history that is celebrated by the whole country. Personally, Black History Month is a time where I’m able to see African-American people like me being recognized by many. It's a time where I can be myself and represent my heritage unapologetically. I love to share where I come from and reflect on the African-American people that have inspired me; this is one of the best parts of Black History Month.
Here are some of the people who inspire me.
Janelle Monáe is a singer, songwriter, actress, and producer. Her most recent album is Dirty Computers, speaks about being a black queer American woman through many songs. She calls out the racism, homophobia and sexism displayed in America. My favorite quote from her is, “Until women get equal pay for equal work. This is not my America. Until same gender loving people can be who they are. This is not my America. Until Black people can come home from a police stop. Without being shot. This is not my America.”
James Baldwin is an American writer and playwright who also challenged America. He called out racial and social issues that he and others faced in America. One of my favorite quotes from him is, “Children have never been good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”
Amandla Stenberg is another idol of mine. She is an actress and activist for many causes like Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ+ rights, and feminist thought. My favorite quote of hers is, "Black features are beautiful. Black women are not. White women are paragons of virtue and desire. Black women are objects of fetishism and brutality.”
All of these African-American people inspire and remind me to be proud of who I am as a black woman.