We are only half-way through Black History Month and I can already say with confidence that this has been the most publicly revolutionary and active celebration of blackness during our "designated month" in my lifetime.
In the last few weeks, public faces of the black community have openly taken a stand against the lack of diversity in Hollywood and the injustices against people of color in the United States and around the world. From Jada Pinkett Smith's call for a boycott of the Oscars, to Beyonce's surprising statement against political injustice through her song "Formation" and polarizing Superbowl performance to Kendrick Lamar's 2016 Grammy performance of "The Blacker the Berry" and "Alright" there is no denying that a new age of black consciousness is catching fire. The subtle whisper of philanthropic giving and "community hook-ups" has suddenly become a lion's roar of prideful activism.
While this new age of black pride and power is finally hitting the "mainstream" let's be clear that this movement has been growing steam for many years. Some may attribute the re-emergence of black consciousness to the election of the first black President, Barack Obama while others will point to recent unjust deaths of numerous black youth. Either way, this revitalized sense of pride is touching ever corner of American Society. The amplification of diverse films by directors like Ryan Coogler and Ava Duvernay; the elevation of black faces to the front pages of high-end fashion magazines by change makers like Elaine Welteroth; and the presence of blacks in technology through platforms like Blavity are all proof of the increasing commitment to more vocally embrace and promote the needs and desires of the black community.
The public activism of black artists, the indelible strength of Black Twitter and the growth of social movements including #Blacklivesmatter #BlackGirlMagic and #Afropunk #unapologeticallyblack are just the beginning. The new age of black consciousness is here.
Are you woke?