Do you know when Black History Month is? Is it during the 28 — sometimes, 29 — days of February or is it on any given month of the year? Should we only recognize the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, or can we celebrate anywhere in the world?
We wanted answers.
In an open and candid discussion, we asked five Mindvalley employees of the African diaspora what Black History Month means to them. Their responses were blunt. Their perspectives were versatile. Their stories were captivating.
And we’re sharing them with our Mindvalley community as well as with the rest of the world.
Is that a thing?
— Tahlia Reynolds
I’ll be honest. I don’t know if it’s because I’m more aware now and more conscious, but when I heard “Black History Month,” I was just like, “Is that a thing? Or is it a thing that you made up for Mindvalley?” But when I think about it more I’m thinking “No. I must’ve heard of it before. Surely.” But it didn’t land anywhere, because there’s never been a fertile ground for anything like that to grow in my life. And I’m 31.
When I think about Australia, I think about opportunity. And I know a lot of people say it’s ‘The Land of Opportunity” but actually, we’ve got it pretty good. And I feel quite fortunate and blessed to be born and raised there. When I think about my Black side, especially after we were at the movies seeing Black Panther the other night, you feel this…I don’t know how to say it. It’s not superiority, but you feel strong. You feel very powerful and capable and almost like keepers of the land. And very old. It’s like this ancient stirring that starts to happen, in me anyway. Whatever [problems] are going on in my mind gets diluted and diminished.
I think Black History Month is important.
I think Black History Month is important. Mostly because — at least right now — America is one of the most imperialist countries that we have, so whatever happens in there affects all of us.
Most people who are not Africans — their impression of what a Black person is, is an American Black person. So I think that if there is good representation on a more wholesome and fuller representation of Black characters that are exported either in the media or in books or whatever, [then] I think that’s really important for the rest of us.
In America, we have Black History, as if it’s separate
from regular American history…
— Taylor Mills
In America, we have Black History, as if it’s separate from regular American history. I would reframe it, because to me it’s not Black history. I’ll use this as an example: my Dad’s ancestors were never slaves, but my Dad couldn’t be with [my Mom] if it wasn’t for Juneteenth. So I think calling it Black History makes it seem like it’s only relevant to one group of people, when in reality, it’s not. So the way that I would phrase it, or reframe it is [that] when you’re studying it, to not separate it as “this is the White history” and “this is the Black history” because it’s all very intertwined.
But I would argue that anywhere, let’s say Malaysia… it would be weird [to say]: here’s the Malaysian history, here’s the Chinese history, here’s the Indian history, [and then] you have a separate time when you study each thing. Even though they all do have their own cultures and their own things — as it relates to Malaysia and Malaysian history, they’re all intertwined. So, whether they’re going to Brazil or to Africa, or to America, I don’t think it’s necessary to celebrate the “Black” part that you need to know about. They’re all important things that have happened in the world that help make it what it is. And a lot of it has to do with things that people don’t want to talk about, slavery or just even positive things.
It shouldn’t just be a February thing…
— Kristen Wiggins
I think what’s not being acknowledged enough is that Black History should be talked about not only in Black History Month. It shouldn’t just be a February thing, but we should talk about our history all year long. We should be inserting it more into our history books because it’s missing, at least when I was growing up. I’m not really sure what the curriculum is like in elementary schools now, but when I was growing up, we didn’t learn a lot about that true history of America.
I feel very free to travel and to experience the world. As a solo Black woman: I’m traveling, I’m booking a ticket and just going by myself. And I know that my ancestors would never even have thought of doing something like that. They wouldn’t have imagined that, so I feel very proud to take advantage of that freedom to just book a flight and go when I want. I am a wanderer, a proud Black woman, a storyteller, a creator, a marketer, a nomad…a little bit of all these things wrapped in one.
We’re all Black, so every month is going
to be Black History Month.
— Emmanuel Opio
I grew up in a family of eight and that’s from my Mom’s side. My Dad had two wives and my stepmom had two children. She passed away unfortunately when I was so little, I don’t remember. About me growing up, I have been kind of privileged to be brought up in a family like that because I learned that you… Well, that there is always a favorite child, and you’re not the only favorite child or you’re not the only child. So you have to be good, you have to abide, you just have to be good, otherwise there’s a next favorite or you could be the next favorite. So you have to outdo yourself all of the time and that really helped me a lot to get to where I am.
We’re all Black, so every month is going to be Black History Month.
Thoughts From The Creators
After talking to five people of African heritage from different nations, we heard five unique life stories, five unique cultural experiences, and five unique perspectives on Black History Month. But the one thing that we could all agree on by the end of the discussion is that Black History Month isn’t the ideal.
Black achievement can’t be contained in one month, nor can it be disentangled from world history or the achievements of mankind. We’re all different threads in this larger tapestry.
But by sharing these stories and celebrating the evolution of Black History Month, we hope that you’ll reflect on how all of our successes, pains, and histories are connected — no matter where you’re from or what you look like.
And don’t forget to join the Mindvalley Facebook group for more articles on all the things regular schooling forgot to teach you.
What are your thoughts on Black History Month? Share in the comments below.