I was reading a new article on HBCUBuzz, a historically black college and university news website. It was discussing South Carolina’s governor, Henry McMaster, signing a bill to create a “Historically Black Colleges and Universities Day.”1 This bill is said to be honoring “the contributions and efforts of historically Black colleges and universities,” and is officially designated for the third Tuesday of February every year.
First of all, I’m proud that my brothers and sisters can celebrate yet another glorious achievement on this long road of continuous cultural development and identity preservation, but I feel like we still need more. Only a few days out of the year celebrate our culture, Kwanzaa, Juneteenth, Black History Month, and Martin Luther King Day. Don’t get me wrong, these are great, but they don’t really connect to me or don’t excite me enough to feel progressive.
Outside of Kwanzaa, the current Black holidays are more of a remembrance of Black people and our achievements of the past. But, I want to celebrate our future. I want to peer into the minds of my people; the minds that the rest of this nation uses to further their economic and political goals. Our intelligence and strength are documented and acknowledged by everyone but ourselves.
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Enter “Black Future Month,” something that I first heard coined by the outspoken king himself Kanye West. As of recently, Kanye has been adamant about his issues with Black History Month. In an interview with Drink Champs Kanye says, “I need Black Future Month. I need Black Possibility Month.” he continues, “I’m tired of seeing us getting hosed-down. I’m tired of talking about slavery.”2 It’s all about who we are as a people. It’s about showing our children what we can become when we decide to write our own story. We declare Black Future Month to be about the future, not the past.”3
It’s best said that Kanye West is all over the place as a person. I’ve never been so conflicted about someone in my life, but I have to say on some occasions I find myself agreeing with Kanye…and this is another one of those times. We need to inspire and motivate the black youth. We need to tap into their potential and weave their vivid consciousness within the fabric of this reality. What better way to do that than a holiday that celebrates just that. Kanye West aside, the inner workings of a “Black Future Month” are still vague. The concept is relatively new, and a lot of its philosophy is mainly subjective.
The potential impact, however, is extraordinary.
Imagine this, “Black Future Month,” a holiday unlike no other. A month celebrating the brightest black innovators and achievers, highlighted by a week-long televised Expo. Black Entertainers, Scholars, Political Figures, Fashion Designers, Athletes, Professors, Influencers, and Money Makers, all gather for this celebration. The Expo opens its doors to the public starting on Monday, and each day showcases the innovations of different disciplines innovations. Black vendors and Black businesses alike would flood to this rich new market of revenue. Everything is capped off at the end of the week with a grand performance by our favorite black artists and performers, followed by an award show honoring the leading black achievers. This is just a glimpse of what I’m envisioning. I see this almost as the second coming of Tulsa’s Black Wall Street or a Black World’s Fair.
While conducting research for this article, I stumbled upon an event that’s similar to my vision. In New York, the prestigious Carnegie Hall hosts an annual festival called Afrofuturism.4 This event takes place annually from February until March, and it highlights the leading cultural organizations of New York. On a grand stage, they present “multidisciplinary programming that touches African and African diasporic philosophies, speculative fiction, mythology, comics, quantum physics, cosmology, technology, and more.” This is where, “music, visual arts, science fiction, and technology intersect to imagine alternate realities and a liberated future viewed through the lens of Black cultures.” This is an amazing event that I feel shares the sentiment of exposing the world to broader black ideas and innovations.
Overall, some new black holidays would inject some fresh energy into the game. Something that I think a lot of young black minds are waiting for, a platform where they can shine. The major key in all of this is to lead black children back to learning, the excitement of gaining an education and changing the negative narrative behind it. Malcolm X once said, “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” Let us take Malcolm’s words and use them as guidance to prepare ourselves for a brighter future.
By Doug Gardner [Staff Writer]
1 -, HBCU Editors, et al. “South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster Declares New ‘Hbcu Day’.” HBCU Buzz, 15 Feb. 2022, https://hbcubuzz.com/2022/02/south-carolina-governor-henry-mcmaster-declares-new-hbcu-day/.
2 Kanye West Reclaims BHM as Black Future Month | Hypebeast. https://hypebeast.com/2022/2/kanye-west-rebrand-black-history-month-black-future-month.
3 Carter, Corein. “Kanye West and Jason Lee Join Forces at ‘The Future Brunch’ to Help Black Media Reclaim Their Narratives.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 22 Feb. 2022, https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestheculture/2022/02/18/kanye-west-and-jason-lee-join-forces-at-the-future-brunch-to-help-black-media-reclaim-their-narratives/?sh=73d8499b6641
4 Afrofuturism, https://www.carnegiehall.org/Events/Highlights/Afrofuturism
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