As we all know, every year, the month of February is reserved as a celebration of black history. This year, rather than focusing on African-American history with commonplace themes such as the Civil Rights movement, Swat’s celebration of black history month will center around African history as well. “We feel that no new information is given to the masses. We want people to know that black history did not just begin with slavery,” adds Kendra McDow ’07, member of SASA.
Instead of a focus on just the global history of African-Americans, concern for the modern global representation of African-Americans also adds to the holistic theme this year. Dr. Tarshia L. Stanley will talk about “blacks selling black hatred” in Science Center 101 tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. Stanley is a professor of English at Spelman College, a historically black women’s college. The talk, entitled “Black Exportation: Black Popular Culture in the Global Market Place” contrasts the earlier positive flourishment of black culture with the black self-hatred that is prevalent in present-day society. As a result of rescinding self-hatred, this year’s celebration of black history month will tout black pride. “It’s time for us as a black community to love blackness as a form of resistance and to represent it in a positive light,” comments McDow.
African-Americans have been credited for their innovation of music such as jazz and the blues, but todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s perception of “black” music can often be seen as a source of degradation. Rap and hip-hop music in particular have faced disapproval for their representation of African-Americans, especially African-American women. “In hip-hop music videos, a black woman is always portrayed as being oversexualized. For many globally this is the only image of black people that exists” adds McDow.
As part of the theme of discovering ties to the motherland, various events will focus on the history of Africa. “500 years later” will focus on film and media images of blacks and will be aired in LPAC in a week at 7 p.m. Next Wednesday as another speaker from Spelman College, Dr. Cecil W. Cone will give a lecture entitled “Africa: The Mother of All Civilization” at 7:00 p.m. in Science Center 101.
Next week, students have opportunities for self-expression at “Speak Out” in Sharples on Monday and “Soul Elevation,” a spoken word event in Paces at 9:00 p.m. on Friday the 24th. After lectures, film screenings, and other campus events, organizers hope that all Swatties, regardless of race, will “have an understanding of the complexity of an African-American identity,” said McDow, in addition to learning about black history through a different perspective.