Unfortunately, Black History Month 2018 has come to a close, and it did so way earlier than anyone was ready for — as the shortest month of the year usually does. The best month of the year couldn’t last for at least 30 days? There is something to be said about how January dragged on when no one asked for it, but February left us in a blink and a wink. Luckily, there were a multitude of fantastic things that occured last month that we can continue talking about for the rest of the year and into the next until Black History Month rolls around again. We just have to budget our talk and really stretch our topics.
On day 12 of Black History Month, Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s White House portraits dropped for all of us to admire. They were painted by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, respectively. They were the least traditional portraits that have been done thus far, colorful and more abstract than was necessary. And they were absolutely fitting for the eight years of a Black presidency. They made an impression on sight, and it was lovely. On day 22 of Black History Month, Barack Obama and Michelle Obama gave us adorable throwback pictures that caused everyone to flood Twitter with “please come back :(“ tweets that were unnecessary but understandable.
On day 16 of Black History Month, Black Panther was released. Not only did the movie star the best superhero to ever exist, but it also portrayed the strongest Black women in a hero flick that I’ve ever witnessed. We were given Okoye, a nationalist, was the greatest warrior in Wakanda. A woman. Nakia, an independent(ish) spy, was one of the stealthiest women in Wakanda. The most intelligent woman in Wakanda was a 16-year-old Black girl, Shuri. (Representation matters!) T’Challa was only as fun as he could be as a prince trying to be king and getting knocked down any time he tried to be good — so not very much at all. Killmonger turned out to be a much more complex villain than I ever expected and a way more beautiful man than they should ever cast to play someone evil. Best of all, there was a thick king, M’Baku, for us to love. Characters were not at all the flaw in the movie. It was phenomenal. I saw it three times opening weekend, and my wallet regrets nothing.
On day 18 of Black History Month, Fergie protested performance art when she did a rendition of the national anthem before the NBA All-Star game. Her “jazzy” take on the anthem was so profoundly horrible that there was no way that it wasn’t to express that she doesn’t approve of the song as a whole. She’s an activist, at the least. Her rendition was clearly meant to sound like the struggle of Black people in the country; it was metaphorical kneeling. She captured the pain of being mistreated historically in every note. It was a beautiful way to stick it to the man. Fergie is a true ally.
To close out the month, on day 28 of Black History Month, James Harden committed the only act that I would seriously consider “Black-on-Black crime” if someone were to make that poor, tired, typically non-valid argument for anything. James Harden crossed-over Wesley Johnson, breaking his ankles and intensifying gravity to the point where he fell to the floor, stared at the broken man, moved his own foot behind the 3-point line to get his extra points, checked to make sure his foot was not touching the line and then sunk a 3-pointer effortlessly from behind the arch. James Harden committed a homicide that I would call Black Excellence. It was one of the most disrespectful basketball plays in all of history, while simultaneously being the most beautiful things I’ve ever witnessed. I was very close to being a James Harden fan after it. He really showed out for Black people on the last day of the month.
With these short topics, we should be able to drag the conversation about Black people a whole 11 months until the next time we get to use: “You can’t treat me like this! It’s Black History Month!” to shout at people doing harmless things that shouldn’t offend us anyway. Black History Month is a time of extra empowerment, and I’m never not sad to see it pass. But I’ll catch you all next Feb. 1, decked in traditional Wakanda clothing. You’ll be able to spot me walking in front of moving cars and making them stop just because it’s my time again.