Time to say the words: Happy Black History Month!
Oh yeah, I can see it. Last year I did a comparison project of the old and the new. I did the comparison as an easy way for those who wanted to see the things we did then and now. Which is nothing new. But it is way to learn or to keep learning on the ongoing commentaries of African Americans. Or African decent related. There are often times today, most don’t care. Most want to do away with the occasion of out of jealousy or a way of saying “I know everything”. Mainly when history abounds, we tend to know, but there’s always something else. So with that, I have to say at 36 years old, part of the Generation X and still part of the era of making waves, I’m going in the comparison thing again this year and only this time, with upgrades. And by the way: It’s not racist.
From the Olympic Female sprints of Wilma Rudolph, Gail Devers, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and Florence Griffith-Joyner, to the new sprinters of Allyson Felix, Kellie Wells and Carmelita Jeter.
From the Olympic Male Sprints of Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis, and Michael Johnson, to the new sprinters of Tyson Gay and Usain Bolt.
From the first Olympic victories and wins of John Taylor to the latest winners like Maya Rudolph,
From the Magnificent 7 featuring Dominique Dawes, to the Fierce Five featuring Gabby Douglas.
From the first African-Americans like David J. Peck to graduate from Rush Medical College in 1847, to the first African-American females like Kyla McMullen to graduate with a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Michigan.
From the formation of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry to the formation and establishment of the Montiford Point Marines.
From the first African-American filmmaker of Oscar Micheaux, to the latest filmmakers like Tyler Perry, Spike Lee, John Singleton.
From the first black Fighter Pilots of the Tuskegee Airmen, to the now fighter pilots like Major Shawna Kimbrell.
From the Dance of the Motherland of Africa, to the Dance of the Dougie. (Yeah I said it)
From the first African American builders of White House and the U.S. Capitol, to the future builders of the soon-to-be National African-American Museum in Washington,DC.
From the first black DJ’s of Jack Cooper, Rufus Thomas, Petey Greene, and Dynna Williams, to the latest DJ’s like Wendy Williams, Tom Joyner, Michael Baisden, and MTV’s Sway.
From the first black VJ of JJ Jackson on MTV, to the latest VJ’s like Bow Wow, Miss Mykie, Shorty and Paigion on BET’s 106 & Park.
From the first African-American Video Game Creators like Gerald Lawson, to the latest creators like Karmisha Williams and Lisette Titre.
From “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to Melissa Harris-Perry, PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton, and NewsNation with Tamron Hall.
From the first black newscasters of Max Robinson and Carole Simpson, to Lester Holt, and Robin Roberts.
From the dance moves of James Brown, Janet Jackson, Jackie Wilson and Michael Jackson, to MC Hammer, Ne-Yo, Ciara, Beyonce.
From the The Supremes to SWV.
From the weathermen of Spencer Christian to Al Roker.
From the soul connection of Solomon Burke, Donny Hathaway and Marvin Gaye to Raphael Saadiq, and Anthony Hamilton.
From Warren Moon to Michael Vick. – Including: Doug Williams, who became the first black NFL Quarterback to be a Superbowl Champion. Plus Mike Carey who was the first Afircan-American Referee to officiate in a SuperBowl.
From the beatmakers like Frankie Knuckles, who started House Music in Chicago, to the current makers like Timbaland, Swizz Beats, DJ Kiss, DJ M.O.S. etc.
From the Female DJ’s like Spinderella of Salt N’ Pepa, to the Current Celebrity DJ’s like Beverly Bond, the founder of Black Girls Rock.
Here in Milwaukee, Black Radio was launched with with personalities of O.C. White, Dr. Bop, and Jim Fraizer, way before the names of Homer Blow, Reggie Brown, Andrea Williams, TJ, Sherwin Hughes, Wolf D, Doc B, Earl Stokes, ever came on the scene. (So from the beginnings of WAWA in Milwaukee to WMCS, WNOV, WKKV, Jammin’98.3, Blowradio.com)
From the Milwaukee Music legends of Al Jarreau, to those in the music scene like Coo Coo Cal, Tank, Eric Benet, and Tony Neal – the founder of the Core DJ’s.
From the tennis victories and upsets of Arthur Ashe, Althea Gibson and Zina Garrison, to Venus and Serena and recently….Solane Stephens.
From the Milwaukee Black Local TV personalities of Bill Taylor, Eleanor Hayes and Mike Anderson, to Toya Washington, Portia Young, Carole Meekins, Vivian King, Bob Moore, Derica Williams, Beverly Taylor, and Cassandra McSheapard.
From the Wisconsin black politics of Annette Polly Williams, and Lloyd Barbee, to Milele Coggs, Lena Taylor, and Mandela Barnes.
From Betty Shabazz and Coretta Scott King, to Attalyah/Ilaysah Shabazz and Elder Bernice King.
From Diahann Carroll, to Kerry Washington and Megan Good.
From the World renounced dancers like Josephine Baker, to choreographers of Laurie Ann Gibson.
From “I Have A Dream” “Can we all get along” to “Yes We Can.”
From the first appearance of Whitney Houston to grace to the cover of Seventeen Magazine, to Tyra Banks on the cover of SI’s Swimsuit Edition.
From Cissy Houston, to Dionne Warwick, to Whitney Houston to………..Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown.
From the Space Explorations of Guion Bluford, Jr and Dr. Mae Jemison to Dr. Benjamin Harris and Robert Satcher.
From the Soul Train Line of Don Cornelius, to the “Dog Pound” of Arsenio Hall.
From the first of hockey appearance with Willie O’ Ree to the first Golf breakthrough of Tiger Woods.
From the first Skateboarding appearances of Karrem Cambell, and Darrell Streets, to the BMX Riders of Nigel Sylvester.
From the old Negro Spirituals to Kirk Frankin’s Stomp, and Mary Mary’s God In Me.
Like last year, I can go on and on! This is history of my folks. My people. My African Decent Family. Oh yes we can talk about this everyday. But in order to do so, we need to research this like listening to 2 Chainz. or Lil’ Wayne. That’s right I said it. Now to the Adults, we need to relearn this stuff. And we also say that we need to “teach our children more.” But in order to do that, adults reteach yourselves! Go to your grandmother’s basement or attic and ask about the quilts, or photo albums about the histories that made your family members well known. The trips to the library, church, other than SCHOOLS need to step up to talk, lecture and give reasons why Black History Month still exists. We think we know everything, well I say this. One thing about history, it’s something we know, but there is always something else.