BHM, 2022- I canceled you, and I am glad I did.
For almost 40 years, I celebrated BHM the way I thought I should. I conducted acts of service, taught my students about the contributions of Black historical figures, and I created gratitude altars for my ancestors all month long. At the end of the month, I’d pack up my BHM kit and place it neatly and lovingly back into my closet. As I put the box into the closet, I’d also tuck a piece of my soul away. I’d then go back into the monotony of a white-centered reality where I’d try to center Black stories, Black figures, Black history, and Black brilliance. I was often met with resistance or silence. Eventually, I’d retreat, saving conversations about Black excellence and brilliance for my melanin crew. I spent hours and hours quietly cultivating and aggregating resources that centered me and centered Black brilliance. I spent 11 months daydreaming about the 28 days where I was free to name the names of Black creators and innovators that came before me without feeling ghosted or gaslit.
Over the years, I’ve grown tired of that relationship, BHM. I no longer want to be your “boo on the side.” Nope. I want a more permanent, official title. I want to move from the margins of the calendar to the mainstream. I want to see the love of Black lives, Black joy, and Black innovation – every. single. day.
Consider this my final goodbye, BHM. I am swiping left for a new relationship, one that centers Black brilliance and reclaims our narrative 365 days of the year. I am looking for a Black Brilliance Lifetime Commitment (BBLC).
In my new relationship with BBLC, it will all be different. I will no longer pack my box away in my closet. I’ll leave it out, I’ll add to it, and I will build a life around what’s inside—no matter the cost. I will expect real and consistent acknowledgment and amplification of Blackness.
Companies will woo us with stories about Black employees and staff members on a Tuesday afternoon in May because they recognize Black brilliance exists everywhere. Politicians and media outlets will highlight past AND present Black faces, working tirelessly to inject a new narrative into the public discourse. City governments will sit down with their Black constituents to actually hear and respond to their needs. Well-intended people working in allyship will give up stances of power and bolster the ideas and initiatives of Black people. People will engage in deep introspection and challenge what we allow our kids to consume in school, in books, and on TV. Black joy, Black love, and Black life will continue to be powerful storylines that are uplifted and respected. Yes, I can see it; this new life holds so many incredible Black and brilliant possibilities. This new life holds a new promise. I see you, BBLC, and I am swiping left.
And in return, I will commit to being a full-time BLLC Bae every day for the rest of my life. I will no longer accept scraps. I will honor and cherish Black brilliance by actively challenging the tired old narrative that Black brilliance is only a thing of the past and is only worth acknowledging one month of the year. I will embrace the stories of our ancestors and cultivate our present-day stories to build a new healthy, joyful life. I will walk into this new life with courage and allow myself to create a new, powerful legacy of Blackness. I will unapologetically amplify collective Black power for the rest of our days and will continue building a movement that makes our lives Black, brilliant, and beautiful. So, goodbye BHM, and hello BLLC.