• Hanifah Jones

Six Ways to Celebrate Black History Month

Happy Black History Month!

As a proud Black woman, I’ve always enjoyed BHM and viewed it as a time to actively reflect on how far we’ve come. The Civil Rights Movement only ended 52 years ago and we are still living in a society fueled by racial discrimination. Despite the challenges we face, we continue to break barriers and bask in the glory of Black excellence.

Here is a list of my favorite ways to celebrate BHM:

1) Read Black Authors

By celebrating Black authors we are honoring the representation of Black stories across genres. Read classics written by Toni Morrison and James Baldwin, memoirs by Michelle Obama and Maya Angelou, sci-fi by Tomi Adeyemi and romantic reads by Jasmine Guillory.

Bonus points if you buy a book from a black-owned bookstore.

I celebrated the first day of Black History Month by attending the grand-opening of Harriett’s Bookshop (black-owned AND woman-owned in Philly) and buying the critically acclaimed novel “Such a Fun Age” by Kiley Reid.

2) Stream Black Artists

Take this time to appreciate ALL Black Musicians, not just the artists who make “Black music” (whatever that means). Blast alternative Black artists/groups like LIONBABE, Rico Nasty, Raphael Saaddiq and Santigold. You can also pay homage to trailblazing legends like The Temptations, Ray Charles, The Supremes and Tina Turner.

I’ve also been tuning into music that represents our ongoing battle for social justice and equal rights. “Sue Me” by Wale, “Freedom” by Beyonce, “Strange Fruit'' by Billie Holiday and “Stay Woke” by Meek Mill + Miguel have all been on repeat.

Also, don’t forget to #StreamTheBox!

3) Support local Black-owned businesses

This is the perfect time to hit up your local black-owned businesses. This directory allows you to search for black-owned businesses based on geographic location. The Black dollar is more valuable than you think, and it’s only right to invest it in your own community.

4) Watch your favorite Black Movies

I recently rewatched Spike Lee’s Malcolm X on Netflix and it gave me chills. There’s something about being able to visualize the struggles and strides of icons that gives you a deeper appreciation for them. Biopics like Selma, Ali, Introducing Dorothy Dandrige, Hidden Figures and Ray can help you learn more about their journeys.

While I enjoy biopics, I also enjoy Black movies that are fun and creative. Flicks like The Photograph, The Last Black Man in San Franciso and everyone’s favorite comedy (Friday) prove that Black films are capable of being more than just slave movies!

Bonus points if the film was directed, produced, or written by a member of the Black community.

Honorable mention: Documentaries like 13, I Am Not Your Negro and The Life And Death Of Marsha P. Johnson

5) Learn about Black Excellence in your hometown

The best way to honor the heroes of the past is by uplifting the generation that was inspired by them. Do you know someone who is making a change and breaking down barriers? Let them know that you appreciate their work, it’ll mean a lot to them.

6) Spend Time With Family

It’s very likely that some of your older relatives witnessed the events of the Civil Rights Movement, talk to them about it. Ask your grandparents or great-grandparents what it was like living during the Jim Crow era. How did they personally feel about major events that we read in history books? Not only is this educational, but it is a great way to bond with the generations before you.