Updated: Aug 17, 2020
Black History Month 2020 is upon us, and to kick off the month, we’ll be highlighting the most recent expressions of black excellence. This includes but is not limited to black beauty, black film & television, black athletes, and black entrepreneurs. So let’s get started.
Black beauty throughout western society is often always juxtaposed next to eurocentric qualities. The essence of black beauty is made to seem less than or even ugly in comparison. This Black History Month we can celebrate the fact that Miss USA, Miss America, Miss Teen USA, Miss Universe, and Miss World of the past pageant season have all been black. This is not to say that black is better, but that we should celebrate black beauty being recognized for what it is. Black women are gleefully discovering that they can wear their natural hair out in the workplace without discrimination. Additionally, women of color are now able to find a more diverse range of products to meet their beauty needs.
Black features are no longer being mocked, but instead imitated, it looks like every celebrity or influencer wants fuller lips and darker skin these days.
Black film & television may very well be in the genesis of a golden age. Black Panther is only fifth to the four Marvel Avengers films on the list of highest-grossing superhero movies of all time. This Oscar-winning movie’s worldwide gross was a staggering $1,346,913,161 (Screenrant). The historic success of this movie is exhilarating, as it proves that superhero films with predominantly diverse casts and stories can do well by all metrics of success. More diverse casts and more black scripts are seeing the light of day than ever. Tyler Perry has become the first black male to own a major studio. We see more black leads in more aspects of media than even ’90s.
Black athletes are dominating in every sport except for cricket. For the first time ever, we’re seeing widespread recognition of the elite talent of black quarterbacks in the NFL. Black quarterbacks are now beating out the old established pocket-passer by becoming lethal dual-threats. Naomi Osaka is the first Haitian to be ranked No. 1 by the Women’s Tennis Association. Venus and Serena Williams continue to dominate, while Tiger Woods teases at a comeback. Lebron James is steadily being regarded as the greatest to ever play the game of Basketball.
African American businesses grew by more than 400% in 2018 as compared to 2017. The pleasant surprise? That growth is being fueled by women (The Guardian).
Black-owned businesses are booming, which is arguably the topic on this list that deserves the most praise, as blacks have been historically disenfranchised and refused small business loans. We have more black women in the medical field than ever, and more education across the board.
On this 50th Black History Month, since it began at Kent State University in 1970, let’s dive into it with the mindset that we’ve come a long way, but we still have a ways to go.