Black history Month, a time of celebration or controversy? The month of February has solemnly come to a close, and so goes this years celebrations of black history. This year’s black history month has been a rollercoaster. In fact, Don Lemon and Trevor Noah go as far as labeling February 2019 as “the worst Black History Month ever.” Congratulations guys, just when we thought it could not get any worse. I kept seeing these headlines so I began to wonder, why? So, I sat myself down and thought about the notable things that happened this month and I began to understand.
The fashion industry has interpreted blackface as the new couture releasing full on lines that very much resemble racist cartoons. Gucci found themselves in hot water due to their recent release of their Wool Balaclava Jumper that was listed for $890 before it was taken down. The sweater turned heads because of the uncanny resemblance it held to antiquated racist caricatures. Pop star Katy Perry recently teamed up with department store Dillard’s and found herself under the racist lens for releasing a black shoe that also showcased racist features.
Dear Gucci, Katy Perry and whoever else thinks of black faces or racism as accessories, it indeed is not. Sincerely, Black America.
Both Perry and Gucci have since apologized for possibly offending customers and fans by releasing apologies and removing the offensive items. Both parties also mentioned that neither of them had racist intentions when designing the items.
Additionally, several political leaders were caught once again with their white hoods on, some of them quite literally. Virginia’s own Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring recently had photos of them resurface from the 80’s depicting black people by covering their faces with dark makeup. Gov. Northam stands black faced beaming next to his fellow classmate who was in a Klu Klux Klan costume in an Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook from 1984. The Governor has since then apologized for the blatantly racist attire, he then rescinded his apology telling those watching that “I would remember doing something like that.” Attorney General Herring was under fire for a photo of him dressed up as Kurtis Blow, an African American rapper from the 80’s. Herring has since attempted to make amends by sharing the shame he has felt for years surrounding his racist actions.
All in all I think it is safe to say that this month has not been the best, but I am unsure about its new classification as the “worst Black History Month ever.” Some of the notable events and scandal this month definitely speaks to today’s culture and how jaded we have become as a society. The sad truth is that the events that molded this year’s Black History Month happen year round in today’s day and age. The important thing to remember, despite all of bad things that happened this past February, is that we cannot forget the significance and importance of celebrating Black culture and its history. I am hopeful that we can celebrate Black cultures and all cultures every month not just in February.