Black History Month is my favorite time of the year. Seriously. A nerdy lust for knowledge that is accented by my love for, and comfort in my Blackness makes Black History Month my Christmas! Learning about important & influential people that years of book learnin’ in school may have neglected is exciting. “Representation matters” has become a popular phrase lately–because it’s true. It’s not only nice to see faces that look like you, your relatives, your neighbors– it’s important. It might seem cliche, but children AND adults need to see that they can be anything, that they can move and excel in any given space or field.
When I was a little girl I’d twirl all over my house, dreaming of being a prima ballerina. Little girls today can now look up to Misty Copeland.
I also wanted to be a doctor. There are so many black female doctors on television, both fictional and actual. Various characters on shows like Grey’s Anatomy, the actual doctors on Married to Medicine, and everyone’s favorite tiny cartoon doctor, Doc McStuffins.
I’m personally terrified by the idea of space travel, but I remember seeing Mae C. Jemison’s face on the bulletin boards of my elementary school during Black History Month. I always thought she was super brave for being an astronaut. The first black female astronaut. Now she’s been joined by Joan Higginbotham, Yvonne Cagle, Jeanette J. Epps, Stephanie Wilson. The idea of black women in space isn’t just relegated to Star Trek anymore. Props to Lt. Uhura, though–flawlessly played by the beautiful Nichelle Nichols.
Today, I work in entertainment. I write, perform, and produce. There are so many AMAZING black women slaying the entertainment industry today for me to look up to as an adult. I find myself crying while watching them win Emmys, Golden Globes, and (the rare) Oscars. Viola Davis, Uzo Aduba, Taraji P. Henson, Regina King, Kerry Washington, and Gabrielle Union are ALL leading ladies on television. Gorgeous, talented black women who are playing amazingly varied roles. That’s a huge jump from the black female actresses like Hattie McDaniel, the first black Oscar Winner. She was a skilled actress who unfortunately didn’t have a wide variety of roles to choose from. She played 74 different maid roles over the course of her career.
The woman who is currently showing me that I can take over the world is Shonda Rhimes. She OWNS Thursday nights. A black woman wrote/created/produced some of the most highly viewed shows on network television. That is beyond impressive.
The black women of today are creating black history everyday. I can’t wait to join their ranks.