Guest Contributor: Courtney Eiland
Back in February, I blogged about how as I scrolled through my social media timeline, the general consensus was, “This is blackest Black History Month ever!” I remember feeling such a boost of confidence, consciousness, and pride over those few weeks than I had felt in a long time. Let’s rewind for a brief moment:
February 6, 2016 – Beyoncé drops her new video “Formation” out of the blue. The lyrics are one thing but the video takes on a message of its own, depicting images from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina with its significance ringing loud and clear — #BlackLivesMatter. There is a scene where a young African-American boy is dancing and as a response, the police then put their hands in the air simulating the “hands up, don’t shoot” protest outcry following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The graffiti that read, “Stop Shooting Us” further implied what we were to take from the video.
February 7, 2016 – Beyoncé then performs her newest single during the Super Bowl halftime show where she also acknowledged the 50th year anniversary of the Black Panther Party, fittingly so, within an hour distance from the city where the Party was birthed. Her background dancers were donned in afros and the staple berets worn by members of the Party. They even raised the black power fist during the line, “I just might be a Black Bill Gates in the makin’.” Other lyrics include, “I like my baby heir with baby hair and afros. I like my negro nose with Jackson 5 nostrils.” These are clearly two jabs at those who mock characteristic traits of African-Americans. Beyoncé, on the flip side, encourages us to embrace it ourselves regardless of what others think. Although Beyoncé aimed that line primarily at those who talk negatively about how her 4-year-old daughter Blue Ivy wears her hair, it was still a boost of confidence to the rest of us (especially with natural hair).
February 15, 2016 – Kendrick Lamar performs “The Blacker the Berry”, “Alright” and an unreleased track at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards. He and his background performers entered the stage in chains as Kendrick makes his way to the mic and proceeds to give one of the most powerful performances I have ever witnessed in my life. Some snippets of the lyrics to “The Blacker the Berry” state:
“…I’m African-American, I’m African
I’m black as the moon, heritage of a small village
Pardon my residence
Came from the bottom of mankind
My hair is nappy, my **** is big, my nose is round and wide
You hate me don’t you?
You hate my people, your plan is to terminate my culture…”
Let’s just say, there wasn’t a lot of panning to the audience during his performance. Read more ›