Last week I had a theme for my Black History Month post and the week before I just picked four people I thought would be cool for everyone to know, or at least learn about in a different capacity. Today I’m going to be a little less organized (if that’s even possible).
- Black Wallstreet: Many people are unaware of the fact that black people had their own Wallstreet in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but they did and it was actually doing pretty well until the Spring of 1921 when it was destroyed in what can only be accurately called a terrorist attack by a white mob. The link I’ve provided gives you much more information on the how and why, however I encourage you to find other sources as well. For the most part a lot stories about black communities success stem from the fact that they had to do everything themselves as a result of segregation. Tulsa was no exception.
- Documentaries: I’d encourage you to watch some non-fiction films to give you a better idea about the history of the this country and why the past matters. As well as zero in on individuals to help expand your ideas of who black people are. On Netflix I can personally recommend watching Ava DuVernay’s 13th and the follow up interview with Oprah, What Happened Miss Simone?, and A Ballerina’s Tale (about Misty Copeland). There are plenty other titles of interest those are just three that I’ve watched. Here’s a link to PBS’s must watch list: 10 Must Watch Black History Documentaries.
- TV and Film/ Entertainment: Black history is varied and while slavery has effected everything, not everything black people do is about slavery. Here’s a list of shows/movies that I think do a good job at portraying black people as more then just stereotypes (many of these also have black people behind the scenes as well):
- Blackish: Of course. It’s not always perfect but neither are we.
- The Get Down: This one’s on Netflix only I believe, but if you like music this might interest you. It also has Afro-Latinx representation as well.
- Luke Cage: Bullet Proof black man, enough said. Also Netflix only.
- Chewing Gum: It’s a British Tv show yes, but as I mentioned before Black people don’t just exist in America. If you like bizarre comedy then you’ll like Chewing Gum. It’s also on Netflix.
- Insecure: This one is on HBO but like Chewing Gum it fleshes black women out and gives them a voice. It’s based on the web series also by Issa Rae, AWKWARD Black Girl, which I’d also recommend, and it predates HBO’s Girls so don’t get it twisted. Insecure feels a lot more like Tracee Ellis Ross’s show Girlfriends (which my mom enjoyed).
- Atlanta: I gotta keep my feminism intersectional, so I personally like Insecure just a smidge better, but Atlanta is still a really good show and for the most part hits a lot of the right notes. Who knows when the next season will be out, but in the meantime it comes on FX.
- Queen Sugar: the last three suggestions were all comedies, but this one is more of a drama. Like 13th it’s also directed by Ava DuVernay and follows three siblings who inherit their fathers sugarcane farm. It comes on the Oprah Winfrey network.
- A Different World: Okay after the first season, which isn’t really necessary to watch, Bill Cosby’s involvement in the show is all but gone, and A Different World suffers a little bit less with respectability politics than the Cosby show. This is one of my older choices because it predates my existence, but once I started watching it I found the themes and characters to be timeless. The two part episode focusing on the LA riots really hits hard because it really shows you how little things have changed in some ways in terms of race relations. It’s currently all on Netflix.
- Moonlight: It’s a story that’s so specific that still manages to be one of the most relatable movies I’ve ever watched. How I connect with it will most likely be different than you, but that’s what makes it so good. It’s also one of the only options here that features LGBTQ characters in the lead (The Get Down does as well in the last episode from what I remember).
- The Wiz: The new NBC version is cool, but the original film is worth a watch as well. They’re both at their core the story of a young black girl gaining confidence and that’s something very important especially today. They’re a little cheesy, but if you can sit through the Wizard of Oz than this has better music so you can deal with it.
- Cinderella (1997): Much like the Wiz, the 1997 Cinderella is important because the titular character is black (played by Brandy) as is the fairy godmother. I could go on at length as to why this matters, but to reiterate an earlier sentiment it’s at heart a story of gaining confidence. For those of you who like romance it like all versions of this fairytale fills that niche too.
I think I’m going to stop here, but we have one more Monday left so who knows what I’ll throw together next. Maybe I’ll pull together some more art and possibly music I’d recommend. As well as shout out to more Afro-Latinx people and Afro Caribbean people because black people are everywhere!