Black History Month – problem solved!
We have solved the Black History Month problem!
I am fiercely proud of our Black History Month shows.
It was designed by me, with work and consultation from an African American History major, an American Studies major and a lot of research looking at what makes Black History Month hard to program for. I have seen a lot of programs brought onto campuses in February that are black magicians, black comics, African dance, Step shows etc. While this is great for showcasing that talent is all around us and exposing groups to artists that they may have never encountered otherwise, it does not IMHO hit the mark of celebrating Black History.
There are several reasons why it is difficult to celebrate Black History for most educators. Firstly, coming across as unknowledgeable about Black History can put you in a delicate and awkward position in front of your community. I think that people are afraid that by not knowing the History part of Black History Month, they come across as racist or insensitive. It doesn’t BTW. You’re cool.
The second reason why it is hard to program for Black History Month is that HISTORY CAN BE DULL. There are only so many Civil Rights Voting Acts that people do not know before a BHM trivia show can fall flat.
If this article does nothing else, then let me make sure I get this point across to you. There is NO SUCH THING as Black History as it is celebrated in this country. It is all just HISTORY.
What Black History Month is, is a Celebration of how African Americans fit into the picture and culture of American History. This includes the hardships, triumphs, scandals, victories, and pop culture contributions that African Americans have made to the United States since this country was created.
Looking at BHM through that lens, our shows all start out with the statement, “There are NO wrong answers. The goal of this show is to start a conversation and have us all realize how important African Americans have been to the shaping of this country”.
We update the shows every year to make sure we are including topical information, but in 2019 one of our Survey Says Questions was, “Name an influential African American Woman”.
There are many answers to this including Oprah, Beyoncé, Condoleezza Rice, etc. One of the answers we got for this Survey was Cardi B. We left this as an answer on our board because multiple people when surveyed came up with the answer of Cardi. Cardi B is not of African American descent and this always sparked a conversation during the show. Again, NO WRONG ANSWERS just conversation starters.
I personally host every Black History Month show that goes out and stand behind the content, presentation and execution of the event 100%.
I love sharing my love of history and pop culture through the lens of celebrating the African American experience in a fun way. In my own small way, it is my personal contribution to making the world a better place.
Oh yeah, and I also throw cash at students by the handful to keep them excited and having fun! It is a Game Show after all.