Black History month ain’t what it used to be. When I was in middle school, all of the information came out of a dusty textbook. Sometimes, there were specials on television that we watched in class. And there was always the Black History month celebration that wrapped up with each of us bringing a dish to school that represented our culture. Ha! I have fond memories of rows of mac and cheese, collard greens, yams and baked ham lined up in the cafeteria.
But thanks to social media, we all have access to a new kind of Black History Month education. An education worth visiting all year long. This new version is often witty, sharp and searingly accurate. Each of the five creators I discovered made me think differently about the many Black History Month lessons I suffered through as a kid. Each of their lessons made me think, laugh, cry and think again. They expertly weave the past into the present and back to the past.
What makes their approach to Black History and Black History Month so ingenious? It could be that some have a flow like the rappers that I love to listen to. Others rock the green screen and switch out into costumes to embellish their story telling. I appreciate all of it. If we had these griots in my middle school, I might have paid more attention!
Check out these amazing influencers and my suggestions for what to feed your belly while feeding your mind!
Black History: Leaders of the New School
It’s Kimberly Renee
Passionate about all things justice, intersectional, environmentalism, and plant-based living, Kimberly is a multi-hyphenate creator, producer, chef, actor, and singer with a bachelor of science in marketing from HBCU North Carolina A&T State University.
Suggested Dish: Easy Red Beans and Rice
Taylor prioritizes Black culture by teaching Black History through her “Fast Black History” series and uplifting current creatives in her mini talk show, “Black Girl Magic Minute.” Her purpose is to help her audience find the beauty in themselves and appreciate their cultural roots as well.
Suggested Dish: Roasted Potato Salad
NAACP Image Award Nominee Lynae Vanee is a multifaceted performer, poet, influencer, writer, and actress hailing from Atlanta, Georgia. A graduate of Spelman College and Boston University with a Master’s Degree in African American Studies, Lynae uses her digital platforms to speak on race, feminism, politics, and inclusivity.
Suggested Meal: Spicy Honey Garlic Tofu
Blair Imani is writer, mental health advocate, and historian living at the intersections of Black, Queer, and Muslim identity. As an educator, influencer, and semi-retired organizer, Blair Imani is dedicated to making the world less terrible and amplifying the voices and work of those fighting the good fight.
Suggested Dish: Mashed Purple Sweet Potatoes
Nick Courmon is an international poet, spoken word artist, recording artist, workshop facilitator, and motivational speaker from Greensboro, NC. He uses his art to teach African American History, address a myriad of social issues, and advocate for mental health awareness.
Suggested Dish: Grits & Polenta
LA is a plant-based advocate from the Bronx who enjoys helping people find more ways to put plants on their plate. Here are some ways to stay connected: