I am Black 365 days a year
Black History Month should last more than 28 days
I never liked Black History Month.
I always thought it was a consolation prize given to Black people to compensate us for the damages left by colonization. It made society feel better about itself. It took off the burden of guilt from their shoulders.
Why is my Blackness only acknowledged 28 days out of the year? I am not a trend or a hashtag, nor am I a decoration to be thrown away once the holiday is over. I won’t be less Black after March 1. I don’t want to be seen and heard during a short period of time and forgotten for the rest of the year. Black people exist all year long.
The saddest part of Black History Month is that the month is not fully dedicated to Black people. We have to share it with another major and commercial holiday. Many people associate February with Valentine’s Day. Roses, chocolates, and teddy bears are everywhere in stores. However, I don’t see the same excitement for Black History Month.
Some shops do acknowledge the event and set up a small section of products dedicated to the Black community which sadly, are not always made by Black-owned businesses. Marketing teams must stop with the traditional African art pattern on product packaging.Most of the time, it ends up being sketchy and offensive to us, but profitable for corporations who make their money off of white guilt.
Because Black History Month is not as heavily marketed as other holidays, I had to do a lot of research to know what events Montreal is organizing for this special occasion. The entertainment industry tries to present more events to uplift Black personalities to honour Black History Month but, as soon as the month ends, the efforts fade away.
For an 11th edition, the festival Fondu au Noir schedules online presentations with illustrious Black personalities. This year, the organization The Round Table on Black History Month offers multiple online activities to enjoy. Many local events can also be found in Lasalle and Montréal-nord.
The good part of this awareness month is that it brings more exposure to Black businesses, Black artists, Black movies, Black authors, and many more creatives. People are more aware of Black excellence. More information on Black history is shared around the internet. We are commemorating great Black figures who marked history and we remember those who fought for our freedom.
The purpose of celebrating Black History Month should exclusively be about recognizing and sharing Black people’s contribution to society. At least, that’s what The National Assembly believed when it proclaimed February as the Black History Month in Quebec on Nov. 23, 2006. Black History Month should be an incentive to learn more about Black history and increase diversity throughout the year.
I chose to educate myself on Black history, to speak about our difficulties, and to raise awareness on the Black Lives Matter movement. I celebrate my Blackness every day, advocating for the Black cause is a lifetime decision, not a month-long one.
I am Black, proud, and beautiful.