It is being said that Black History Month 2016 has been the blackest BHM in all of its time....
I'd have to agree.
This BHM has been a huge journey for me. I have never been so engaged in the community or so aware of the melanin in my skin, as I have been these past 29 days. I think this is because of many things; from Obama's period in the White House ending to the #blacklivesmatter movement. I also believe that being a few months away from graduating university has made me ask my self, who am I and who will I be?
This month was the 10th anniversary of the 5 Artists 1 Love show and I was asked to be apart of it for a third time. 5 Artists 1 Love is an art show reception and a music showcase. My work this year was focused on shaping light and the way light appears on different skin tones. I was featured along side 5 other artists at the Art Gallery of Alberta. This show was a huge step for me as an artist because it displayed my work on a much larger scale in a prestigious establishment.
Along with being in an art show that features artists with black heritage, I am also volunteering for a collective art project. A group of tenacious young creatives have started an art piece called Melanin Narratives where they are conducting interviews of black individuals to hear their stories. This project has opened my eyes to the tremendous hardships that people faced to come to Canada. I have met so many strong individuals whose parents brought them to Canada so that they might have a better life.
I heard stories of a mother's love and determination, and I got to see the result of that. Many of the people interviewed now have a desire to complete post secondary, further their education, and aspire to give back to the community; this is all because of the hard work their mothers or fathers did.
I believe that the purpose of Black History Month was fulfilled twice over this month. So many people learned about black history and were engaged this month. And that is the point of Black History Month, education.