As Black History Month comes to an end, it is essential to recognize the resistance that black people have demonstrated in the face of historic and ongoing disadvantage and oppression. This is best seen through the popularisation of hashtags and phrases such as #blackgirlmagic and #blackexcellence, which inspired me to set up my online publication, iStyleblaq, in order to champion and celebrate these amazing individuals. We have featured leaders, activists, celebrities, and more who embody what it means to be Black.
Unfortunately, during a sponsorship meeting with two unnamed white-owned organisations I was asked questions such as “Why do we have to celebrate black people?” or “What difference does that make in regards to people supporting white superiority?”, which is quite disappointing unless they are entirely unaware of the history of black people.
We are not trying to isolate anyone by celebrating our strength despite centuries of oppression – we are merely recognizing how we can continue lifting each other up until we reach equality.
Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng and Monde Twala’s opinions on why applauding Black excellence is so vital were expressed:
“For me it means celebrating any excellent work done by a black person because that shows the world that we can succeed in an environment dominated by whiteness,” said Phakeng.
Twala then added: “Black excellence speaks to showing up every day in excellence, consistently reinventing ourselves when needed, being focused on our dreams and purpose, and being engaged in projects beyond self-interest.” In essence, Black excellence shines a spotlight on our capacity as a community to achieve greatness.
Let us take time this month (and every month) to acknowledge all those who help with Black liberation through their courage and strength!
Happy Black History Month from iStyleblaq!