BLACK HISTORY MONTH DECLARED OBSOLETE!
Good morn’ or evening, friends! Black History Month is forever defunct. The Well-Dressed Headphone Addict has declared that the government appointed 28 day period that highlights achievements by African-Americans is officially obsolete! Now, pay attention to this next sentence: THE TERM “BLACK HISTORY” IS REDUNDANT AND REPETITIVE. Black history is human history; Black Men are pieces of clay molded into the image of their Creator, the Creator of all. Spiritual beliefs aside, Black people were first on the Earth and all humans are derivative of them. The practice of vigorously celebrating the accomplishments of important men and women of color during the month of February only, is as futile as it is dismissive. It’s the same mentality that has ignorant folks believing and spouting that racism is no longer an issue now that America has its first Black President.
In the context of music, every single genre and sub-genre one can possibly try to muster up, whether it be neo-soul, trash-metal or contemporary Christian, originated in Africa. The late Michael Jackson once stated that the creation of music was spawned by the people of the Dark Continent trying to imitate nature; The rustling of the trees in the jungles, the howling wind during a cold night in the Sahara, the waving of the tall grass of the brush, the earth trembling stampede of packaderms, it can all be heard in the rapid tappings of a hi-hat and snare drum, the maliable sound of a pitch bending synthesizer, or the boom-bap of a MPC1200 sampler. Besides, the pioneering artist of every popular, mainstream genre can be traced back to a trailblazing Black musician, be it Blues (Robert Johnson), Soul (Ray Charles), Rock and Roll (Little Richard), Jazz (Charlie Parker), Reggae (Bob Marley), or Rap (Kurtis Blow). Along the way, the music has been lost in translation and history credited artists like Elvis Presley, Pat Boone and Buddy Holly as innovative forces. As a result, today, genres like Rock, Ska, Blues and Country, are dominated and/or prominently associated by white artists. If so-called Black History is confined to only one month, the possibility of expanding on one’s journey to find the truth is withheld. We have allowed social institutions and manipulators of historic scrolls and tomes to turn us into slaves all over again by keeping our intellectual curiosity in bondage.
So, let it be known that as of Tuesday, March 1, 2011, Black History Month in the United States is a memory; another example of the “powers-that-be” pacifying the Black community with deceptively small moral victories. Now if you decide to continue to celebrate it in February, The Well-Dressed Headphone Addict will neither condemn or judge you, for this is a forum that encourages individualism and open-mindedness. Having said that, Black History Month was nothing more than putting a band-aid on a malignant tumor. Its very presence is an implication of inferiority; admitting that Black culture is of no consequence during most of the year. If anything, the culture and experiences of the African-American is the most noteworthy and unique of any other, and music is reflection of that journey, serving as a window to pains, privileges and desires of the Black man through lyrics, melody and harmony. There was a time when we felt “I’m Black and I’m Proud” and you can “Lean On Me,” but then and still now, we face “Hard Times in this crazy town.” There’s been an “Insatiable” obsession to “Bump ‘N Grind,” and look up to those who are “Big Pimpin’, spending ‘G’s,” while others are still “Down and out in New York City,” more for less just to “Get By.” But thanks to some of our heroic entertainers who proved they could inspire change with just “One Mic,” we still dream “If I ruled the world,” it would be “All Black Everything.”
The time has come for us to incorporate the zeal spend in past February’s into energy used all year round, habitually learning from achievements and miracles of such men as W.E.B. Dubois, Benjamin Banneker, Paul Robeson, Alvin Ailey, Berry Gordy and so on. Even the strides that White Americans and Europeans have made to uplift this world have been made possible by the past innovation and sacrifices of the Negro. The next time you’re reading a story about the first Black man or woman to do something in this country, be it the first Supreme Court Justice, first PH.d, etc., don’t forget the one that really matters: First man on the planet.
Thank you for listening, and remember: Black Americans may only be 1/10th of the country, but that tenth is talented.