It's been a rough forever for the black race. Started from the bottom, and now we're here...somewhere society says is still at the bottom. No matter how many of us get educations or pay taxes or contribute to society or become presidents of the United States, there are some people out there that for no other reason aside from our skin color, seek to put us down and make us feel bad about who we are. Forget all that! There will always be haters, racists, and people with literally no lives that seek to put others down, but if you know who you are and why you're so freaking awesome in the first place, then they simply cease to matter. This take is about celebrating the fun of being a part of the blackness and no, I don't need to spend a single breath justifying why or how I should be "allowed" to write this.
1. Our Music Gets Everyone Turn'd Up! No one is having the best time ever at a party with cello music playing. Let's be real about that. If you want a party to end all parties, a fair portion of your music is typically by black artists. Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Rihanna, Snoop, Marvin Gaye, Boyz II Men, Chris Brown, Jason Darulo...whomever throughout the decades. These songs are everyone's jams and what gets turned up the most and played the loudest and longest. Our music is so good, that it is well documented that throughout our history it has been stolen and distilled into white culture with white faces to white audiences who had no clue the music they were listening to actually had either roots in or was stolen from black artists.
2. Our Hair Game is Amazing! There are very few other races collectively who can do as much with their hair. We can braid, fade, twist, relax, curl (both Jheri and regular), afro, weave, bun it, shave it, wave it, color it, cornrow it, bead it, spiral it, shave designs into it, lock it, and the list goes on. Many of us have strong cultural ties to mom's kitchen or the barber shop as well which provided blacks with a place to freely congress, talk about politics, life, the struggle, and to tackle those "kitchens." Women especially have many collective memories of getting our hair done and what all that entailed that just about everyone can relate to.
3. We're going to show you how its done on the dance floor! Every year since that first drum beat from the motherland we've been dancing and dancing well. Our culture releases the latest dance craze every year and not only that, we know how to dance alone and colletively as a group in various line dances. There aren't really classes for it either, we just learn the dances and then bust them out to the music that gets everyone turn'd up. Let them play "Step in the name of love," or "Just like candy" at a black wedding. The Borg have nothing on us in our collective ability to dance.
4. Who makes you laugh? Richard Pryor, Chris Rock, Dave Chapelle, Kevin Hart, Red Foxx, Eddie Murphy, Whoopi Goldberg, Martin Lawrence, Jamie Foxx, Sommore, Will Smith, Kat Williams, Steve Harvey, Sinbad, Arsenio Hall, Monique, Wanda Sykes, the Wayans family, Nipsey Russel, Bruce Bruce, and Cedric the Entertainer. Comedy has long ago broken color lines and gotten people of all races to relate to one another over laughter and these folks are as hillarious as they are well known.
5. Fried Chicken and all the rest. I said it, damn it, and what are you going to do about it? Unless you're a vegan or on a diet, you like fried chicken. Once used as a means to help us survive during slave times by frying up the scraps that we were thrown, we turned scraps into gold by creating soul food which has sustained us and continues to be a strong part of our culture. To deny it is to deny what helped at one point, to give us life. Its not just soul food, its island food, its the BBQ's and the gumbos, and yes, the fried chickens and waffles that are good as hell! We don't know bland in the kitchen. It's got to be well seasoned and delicious.
6. Who's Got Game? I have never been picked last in gym class, that's for sure. There was a time in this country where we were told we couldn't play and that we weren't good enough and now look at the higest grossing athletes in basketball, football, and even tennis. We're freaking good at sports, what can I say.
7. We appreciate great booties. Do I even have to say it...sigh..long before a Kardashian was a thing, we've always celebrated our own unique human form. Not known for being rail thin or having the typical European frame or facial features that were for so long associated as the only standard of beauty, we've always loved our own. We appreciate the curves we were born with, that we were told aren't beautiful. As a result of this love, I think as a whole we suffer far less from things like eating disorders because our body types are more accepted by our own culture. Oh and can we pause to just look at Michelle Obama here. This is our first lady...in body hugging Vera Wang...side swept hair...killing it at the State Dinner. I mean, come on!
8. We've had to survive, but what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. I think there are very few cultures that have been persecuted more and for as long and on a global level, as African Americans. When we say the struggle is real, we mean it. For the longest the fight was slavery and ever since, we've been fighting racism and for equality. To this day, we still are just barely becomming "the firsts" in a lot of fields, but it makes you strong. It makes you a fighter. It builds that hunger in you to fight for equality and to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that we can do it. There is such a beauty in striving for that when other people don't have to break through some glass ceiling to even be seen and recognized for the same talents and skills as others.
I love being black and we should keep celebrating our blackness and who we are and where we've come from. I love us. We're unique, we've got style and flavor, we're strong fighters, and we're going places. When you celebrate yourself, you recognize that pride and you spread that to others. No black person should ever feel ashamed of being black in this country or any where else.