Is Black History Month Active?

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“If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.” Dr. Carter G. Woodson

This is the second year in a row where I have sat back, put my feet up (figuratively speaking) and waited for a Black History Month moment to come to me (literally speaking).

It’s true I go through my annual rituals of selecting my Black History Month readings, I talk to my family and others about some of my favorite African American historical icons, and I either visit or reminisce about the insightful and educational times I had at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American history.

This year was no exception. However, I recently confessed to my dad that I don’t feel very “Black History Month-ish” this time around. I was shocked to hear that he felt the same.

We spent time trying to determine the answer to the burning question ‘why?’ ‘Why do we feel this way?’ Is it because the political climate of the country makes it challenging to want to celebrate achievements of Black Americans since an African American family no longer occupies the White House?  Could it be because the leader of the free world speaks of a certain black, male abolitionist and historical figure in the present tense and as a Detroit Free Press columnist wrote  “we can only laugh when a young white boy grows up to be president in 2017 and thinks he can invite Frederick Douglass to the White House for Dinner?” (And in addition, the White House press secretary believes that the “contributions of Frederick Douglass will become more and more.”) Is it because of the tired complaint of many African Americans  that February is the shortest month of the year, and therefore doesn’t give us much time to plan events/activities to celebrate? Is it because my dad and I are just being lazy this year?

We never answered the ‘why,’ and I’m happy we didn’t dwell on finding the answer because if we had done so, we may not have discovered what steps we can take to change these un-celebratory feelings.

Interestingly,  my dad said “if we forget to celebrate this year and let this year pass by, then it’ll be easy to do it next year and the year after, until soon, we won’t see the need to recognize this month anymore.”

That statement worried me. No way can this happen. Not to me. I’m the same girl who worked at the Charles H. Wright Museum writing stories and educating people of various ages and backgrounds about the African American experience. I’m the same girl who looked forward to the the Black Student Union events on campus at my alma mater during February. I’m the same girl who made it mandatory to print a Black History Month series in the campus newspaper which was 40-plus years old and had never been led by an African American until I came along.  I’m the same girl who discussed the Negro National Anthem, the Reconstruction time period, and many other African American topics with fellow students. I’m the same girl who believes as does my dad, that Black History is American history.

Although I’m that same girl and I did all these things, February 2017 forced me to realize that I need to do more. I’ve realized what made Black History Month so special to me the past few years is that it’s not passive, it’s active.

As the month comes to a close, I’m more alert to ways to become more active; perhaps it’s writing or reading an article, creating a Black History Curriculum to be taught in the community stretching beyond the month of february, or attending special events.

I can no longer expect Black History month to be a feeling. It is a month of purposeful action that can and should easily translate into daily living.

More Money, More Management

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During the final month of 2016, I forced myself to pay more attention to my finances. I created and managed a strict budget, and I can honestly say it felt SOOOOO good to save money!!!

My desire to manage my money came only after an interview with Aja Williams of Aja’s Real Life Finances. The final story appears here on my magazine’s webpage.

I’m positive that Aja’s story will encourage you to make any adjustments in your attitude toward money.

Golden Globes 2017 Fashion

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Red Carpet season is here and as always I begin with the Golden Globe Awards!!

Here are a few of my fashion picks from the red carpet

Tracee Ellis Ross: Chic-Glam 

I had to see this dress more than once during the night, because at first glance I didn’t caretracee for it. But, after I saw the full H to T (head to toe) look I approved. Her hair pulled back into a boofy low ponytail paid homage to her mom, and when does she NOT look good in red lipstick?? To add to her great look, she won her first Golden Globe for her work as Dr. Rainbow Johnson on the tv show Blackish.

 

Janelle Monae: Regal-Risk 

She was dressed in custom Armani, black and white polka dot skirt and her hair was pulled janelleinto a beautiful high bun. This was Monae’s first time attending the Golden Globe Awards.

 

As with the Fashion Police on E!, I had a few disappointments of the night…

 

Natalie Portman: Uninspiring

I’ve been a fan of Portman’s since her Star Wars days, and I’ve enjoyed seeing her style natalieevolve at the Globes and Oscars. But, the Canary yellow dress she wore to this year’s awards show wasn’t much to see. True, she is expecting, and she is nominated for her role in the film “Jackie,” but her appearance was plain.

Viola Davis: “Prommy”

Another actress whom I love, but tonight’s fashion choice fell flat. She too chose to wear yellow, but the one-stap aline gown made her look violaas if she was going to prom instead of a fancy awards show. But she too won a Golden Globe and was the first person this year to receive a Star of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Kerry Washington: Strange 

I’ve admitted on my blog before that I’ve never watched Scandal, but from the photos I’ve seen, Washington’s style is impeccable on the show. That’s why I often question why that doesn’t translate into her day-to-day style. kerry

I like that her dress was gold, in honor of the show, but the random embellishments did not compliment the gown. However, I did approve of her sleek hair though and her makeup.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hidden Figures- Lessons Learned

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Black History Month and Women’s History Month came early this year.
It was completely unexpected. I was ill-prepared, and launched into space via the new film Hidden Figures.  This movie gave me an early present in the form of a history lesson i didn’t know I needed, as I watched the story of three African American women who worked for NASA. at the Langley campus in Virginia and helped launch America into space.

Admittedly, I’d become a little irritated with the films about Africans/African Americans Hollywood has created and pushed into mainstream for the past few years. Of course, it’s great for the seasoned black actors and the rising stars. but I wondered ‘how many times does the story of the fight for civil rights need to be told? How many ways does it need to be presented in film to prove that black history is American history? Is all this hoopla surrounding black films really necessarily? Enough is enough already.

In addition to those feelings, I’m still frightened of the movie Apollo 13- a movie I saw when I was way too young. I remember my heart pounding through the entire film as it was too suspenseful for my nerves. I’d since turned a cold shoulder to movies about outer space.

Hidden Figures, however, removed my growing dismay toward black films, and I settled comfortably into the film’s setting at NASA. This movie is about much more than hidden-figures-feature-imageastronauts and rocket ships. It’s about Education. Hidden Figures makes being educated extremely appealing and noteworthy. It makes having a brilliant mind- and not being afraid to use it- attractive. In a selfie-obsessed world where young people run to take the perfect picture in the bathroom mirror, Hidden Figures shows the opposite. For those women running (sometimes literally) to the Colored bathrooms at NASA to relieve themselves also meant putting brains over boys, and it was their brains that made them truly beautiful. Even in bathroom stalls they calculated numbers, looked beyond the obvious math problems, and vied for positions and pay they knew they deserved. These women were the first of their kind as Mathematicians, Engineers, Supervisors, and Influencers on the operations and success of NASA. The film gives just enough details about their personal lives, including their husbands who loved them and were attracted to their wit, perseverance, and intelligence.

Considering that my alma mater unveiled its upgraded Science Building last year, It was perfect timing that the University offered pre-screening passes to Hidden Figures, and a special program highlighting the S.T.E.M. field. I brought my dad as my date, and I felt a sense of pride, and a deeper respect for education after seeing the movie. Having degrees and letters associated with one’s name is only the prestige of it. Rather, the goal is to never stop learning (which is something my dad has taught me) and to be unapologetically smart like Dorothy Vaughn, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson, whose names are no longer hidden.