Have you been celebrating Black History this month? Black History Month is a way to honor Black people, their creations, and how far we have come. This month is a reminder that Black History is our history; it belongs to all of us. But the end of this month should not mark the end of support for Black people. It’s important to always keep learning how to support and honor Black History. If you’re looking for ways to celebrate but have no idea where to start, here a few things you could consider:
Support Black-Owned Businesses
Black-owned businesses (BOBs) are the cornerstones of our community; they create jobs and community wealth. BOBs have historically been overlooked and sadly, 41% of them have been forced to close their doors because of COVID-19. It’s important to support these businesses as we continue to work to close the racial wealth gap. Support can be given in many ways, and it makes a huge difference for the people that you’re supporting.
A few of my favorite Black-Owned (and women-owned) businesses are:
The Black Home: From candles to wallpaper, and even a book full of tips to make your house a home. The Black Home is your one-stop-shop for everything you need in your home.
The Lip Bar: The Lip Bar creates vegan and cruelty-free makeup products for everyone to feel beautiful. Listen here to see how the owner got her start in making the cosmetics industry more diverse!
The Honey Pot: The Honey Pot is an all-natural feminine care brand, they have products for all your wellness needs without harmful ingredients.
Shedavi: Shedavi is a vegan haircare and wellness brand, they take pride in helping their customers create a wellness lifestyle inside and out.
Matte Brand: Matte Brand is a fashion brand that creates clothes for all occasions. The latest collection “Matte Frame” is perfect for a comfortable and stylish WFH outfit.
Uplift, Celebrate & Credit Black Creators
Black people are the originators of many things we use today. Did you know that a Black person invented the ice cream scoop? Or the mailbox? Or even the clothes dryer? And culturally Black Americans have played an indisputable role in shaping culture and trends in the U.S. According to a recent Nielson report, black women’s “consumer preferences and brand loyalties influence mainstream taste.” It’s vital to take a moment to give credit where it's due and pay tribute to the many black inventors and creatives who have made the products, experiences, and art that we all love so much.
My favorite ways to support Black creators are:
Watching and engaging with Black creators content (film, music, art, plays, etc.)
Buying from their businesses
Sharing their work and ensuring they get credit
Amplify & Follow the Work of Black Leaders
A huge way to show support is by amplifying the voices who speak for and support Black communities. The best way to do this is by listening to the things they tell us, sharing their words, and helping them in any way possible. With our new normal consisting of virtual events, you could attend Instagram live sessions, Clubhouse events, and follow these leaders on social media.
A few young Black voices to follow:
Nupol Kiazolu is an activist, pageant queen, and president of the Greater New York chapter of the Black Live Matter movement. Nupol uses her voice to address racism, homelessness, and more. She plans on running for president in 2036. Keep an eye out for that!
Mari Copeny (Little Miss Flint) is a 13-year old activist, philanthropist, and aspiring president. Mari started her activism journey when the Flint water crisis began, using her voice to help the community. She also stands up for other communities across the nation that face contaminated water.
Kheris Rogers is a fashion designer, model, and anti-bully advocate. Kheris uses her voice to speak against bullying and colorism. She started her clothing line Flexin' in My Complexion with her sister to spread awareness that beauty is within.
Indya Moore is a non-binary actor, model, and activist. They use their voice to speak for trans and non-gender conforming communities. They raise awareness about race, trans rights, and more through their Instagram and role in the hit TV show, Pose.
Lonnie Chavis is a youth activist who recognized racial injustice in America when he was only 12-years old. From his personal experience with race, police violence, and bullying he uses his voice to speak out about these issues.
Donate to a good cause
When it comes to donating, you can give in three large ways by donating: your time, money, or resources. Volunteering is a way for you to get out into your community and make the changes you wish to see. People who volunteer not only get to see the benefits in their community but also within themselves. It is proven that volunteering can lead to better mental and physical health. If you don’t have the time or ability to volunteer, donating money or goods is another great way to give back. There are a number of organizations that serve Black people that may align with your own passions.
Here are a few organizations you can donate to:
If you’re passionate about tech/education: Black Girls Code, DevColor, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, Girls for Gender Equity, 100 Black Men of America
If mental health is a top priority: Black Girls Smile, Black Women for Wellness, The Loveland foundation, Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective
If you care about social justice issues: The Navajo Water Project, Fair Fight, Black Youth Project, Black Mamas Matter Alliance
If you want to support LGBTQ communities: For the Gworls Party, Youth Breakout, Brave Space Alliance
Learn about your Black history
Lastly, a huge way you can celebrate Black History Month is through education. It’s important to stay informed and educated when it comes to Black issues. A lot of information that could be beneficial is not readily taught in school, therefore it’s our collective responsibility to keep learning and growing together.
Here are a few well-known and critically acclaimed films, books, podcasts and historical sites to keep on your radar.
Judas and The Black Messiah
Miss Evers’ Boys’
“So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeouma Olo
“Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
“Citizen: An American Lyric” by Claudia Rankine
“The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison
“The Fire Next Time” by James Baldwin
Historical sites & Museums:
Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History (Detroit)
Martin Luther King Historic District (Atlanta)
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site (Washington, D.C.)
Museum of the African Diaspora (San Francisco)
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Cincinnati)
American Jazz Museum (Kansas City)
National Civil Rights Museum (Memphis)
There are many ways to actively participate and celebrate during Black History Month, this serves as a small guide. I hope that this inspires you to learn more while celebrating American history. Happy Black History Month!