Black Music Month – What’s Your Favorite Decade?

“Music is a world within itself in a language we all understand.” – Stevie Wonder

On June 7, 1979, the month of June was formally recognized as Black Music Month by then-President Jimmy Carter. As a self-proclaimed “music junkie,” of course I acknowledge Black Music Month every single day, all year long. I always joke that I was born in the wrong decade because the majority of the music I listen to stems from the 70’s or if I’m having a 90’s jam session, my iPod is always the “go-to.” I appreciate old school music because it was more subtle, “feel-good” and funky and actually used true musicianship. I might sound like somebody’s mom when I express my distaste towards the music that is out today. “There’s nothing left to the imagination anymore!” “Where are the live musicians?” “What’s with all this techno, fist pump soundin’ mess?” Ok, you get the picture. Continue reading

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“H-U…You Know!”

Howard UIn honor of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s newly launched “I Love My HBCU Month” campaign it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t express a few words about my esteemed alma mater, none other than the Mecca of all black colleges — Howard University.

I can reflect more than a decade ago, that hot August day where cars displaying license plates from all over the country were lined up along 4th Street NW in front of the Tubman Quadrangle. Lots of orange bins were aligned, being stuffed with as much as possible to avoid multiple trips between over-packed car trunks and the tight elevator ride to get to your assigned dorm room. I remember that day vividly. Moving into the second floor of Wheatley Hall aka “Heatley Hall,” the first thing that went through my mind was…NO AIR CONDITIONING? Yes, that was a rough day. Continue reading

How Well Does Our Youth Know Our History?

Black History icons

A few historical icons proudly displayed in my living room. Let’s celebrate 365 days a year.

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day this year, my oldest niece who is the tender age of 10, watched a documentary on Dr. King’s legacy and as my sister described, her face was filled with sadness and disgust at all the inequality and mistreatment and she became very emotional while watching.  My niece said the documentary she watched was “sad and little bit scary because I saw marchers falling down.” This had me think about whether the younger generation actually understands and embraces our history and if the school systems teach it a little more in depth nowadays.

I remember my curriculum while I was in grade school didn’t include much more than Dr. King, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver and the other significant, yet “safe”, pioneers rooted in our history. My niece pointed out that she has learned about Dr. King, Coretta Scott King and Rosa Parks in her classes, which is typical. For me, my moment of enlightenment came my sophomore year of high school in my American Studies class when I watched Roots for the first time. I knew of slavery, but I didn’t know the severity of it until that time. This sparked my interest in digging more into black history, both the good and the bad.

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