Monday, February 14, 2022

Black Is Love

This is not my typical post, but since I've been Black all my life, I want to share my thoughts and reflections around Black History Month, which intersects with Valentine's Day; hence Black is Love.

I became aware of Black History Month through going to school in America. Without knowing America's history, I didn't understand the need for a month dedicated to Black History. Once it became clear, I never quibbled about it but have had mixed feelings about how this month is used in corporations, organizations, and the media.

Most times, the broader culture seems to celebrate this month, reluctantly forgetting that Black History is American History. 

Corporations try to tie it to diversity initiatives, but it falls flat because it is often lip service. The media tends to highlight important facts and figures around Black history, and so it is often at this time I learn about the unsung heroes whose shoulders I stand on. 

Our resilience is admired, and our persistence is praised, but we are more than those that overcome. Sometimes we are simply tired (of systems that oppress, of limited mindsets, of blocked opportunities, of speaking up) and need a rest. Sometimes we just want to be like everyone else - allowed to make mistakes and not be written off. We want to live perfectly imperfect lives.

Then, of course, we often seem to forget that Black people love in healthy ways. This year makes thirty-three years of marriage for me. We'll try to do something to celebrate the longevity of love on Valentine's Day. Black people experience a full range of emotions just like others. We don't have a greater propensity for pain, nor are we cruel and savage. We are fully human. We love each other, our men care deeply for us, we love our children and want them to succeed like others, and there is a rich legacy of sisterhood. From Greek organizations to local women's groups, Black women have been a source of strength through all the pain and joy. I don't know why folks are surprised by the depth of our relationships, as if love is limited to one skin color. 

I recently discovered Black Love Day which is celebrated on February 13th.  Ayo Handy-Kendi, 64, is the founder of the African American Holiday Association, a non-profit that seeks to preserve black culture through tradition and ritual. Handy-Kendi, who also goes by Mama Ayo, created Black Love Day in 1993 as an alternative holiday for black people to celebrate and love one another at a time of year when love is already in the air.

Black Love Day has risen to prominence over the course of its 23-year history and in recent years, the holiday has become a popular hashtag affirming many forms of black love on Twitter and Instagram.

The celebration of Black History Month began as “Negro History Week,” which was created in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, a noted African American historian, scholar, educator, and publisher. It became a month-long celebration in 1976. The month of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

Black History is about more than just slavery and Jim Crow. Our history is a tapestry of beauty, culture, power, community, resilience, and strength. I hope you'll take a moment this month and throughout the year to discover that Black is love. Click the link for Little known facts about Black History, then watch the video below titled You So Black and be inspired.

My prayer - Dear Lord, I'm grateful for how you knit me and formed me into a beautiful creation in your image (Genesis 1:27). My intellect, my smile, my compassion, my athleticism, my ability to nurture, all wrapped in this beautiful Black skin. Lord, sometimes the world wants to diminish me before I even open my mouth because all they see is my skin color.
Lord, sometimes it hurts when it's obvious that the recipient is lacking in vision. It's at those times I remember that my confidence and strength come from you (Romans 15:5; Psalms 121:1,2). And what you gave me is freely available to all. I cherish my Black skin.
Lord, it's good to have days and months and remembrance. It's good to celebrate the beauty in each of us. So even though February is a short month, help us all to remember that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14). May your love embody us as we love each other as you would. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Black is beautiful in every sense of the word; don't let anyone make you feel otherwise. There is no need to feel guilty for those of you who have a dawning realization of what it means to be Black. Embrace your newfound knowledge transformed by love, then put your love into impactful actions.


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  1. Thanks for sharing. Differences is what makes us a wonderful creation and makes our God a wonderful God! We will never understand what’s it’s like to be someone else bc we are all so unique. But we can love each other as God has called us to do. Loved your personal insights. ❤️

  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on such an important topic.

  3. I was inspired by the video. It had me smiling. We don't get to choose our color, but we get to choose to love everyone like God loves us. To choose to encourage those around us. To choose to learn about one another.

  4. Thank you, Nylse, for this glimpse inside your heart. We have a long way to go as a nation and as individuals in our understanding of people groups outside our own.

  5. Black is hard to do-and that difficulty is sometimes very hard to watch as the mother of a black man, a white mother I might add...and I only add that because growing up was different for him than for my other boys. Why must that ever be... And yet, yes, let us celebrate all the strength and beauty of black! Well done and thank you for this!

  6. I had never heard of Black Love day. Thank you for the education and sharing your thoughts on Black History Month. I will be featuring this post on the Grace and Truth link up on Friday.

  7. This: "Our resilience is admired, and our persistence is praised, but we are more than those that overcome. Sometimes we are simply tired (of systems that oppress, of limited mindsets, of blocked opportunities, of speaking up) and need a rest. Sometimes we just want to be like everyone else - allowed to make mistakes and not be written off. We want to live perfectly imperfect lives." couldn't be articulated better. My feelings unspoken. Thank you for sharing truth.

  8. I just shared this on my FB page.

  9. You are beautiful and this post is beautiful. Thank you. Thank you. I have a dear friend whom I taught with many years ago. She is covered in black skin and I in white. One day, she came to visit her school where she had taught and I was still teaching. I introduced Lessie to my white-skinned first graders. One of my kids said, "Is she your sister?" Lessie and I just smiled at one another and said, "Yes." Not only are we sisters in Christ but this precious child so no color lines of demarcation.
    I am currently reading "The Color of Law," continuing to learn of this country's history and continue to be appalled. I am sorry for all the white people have done to the black people who are also citizens. I am so sorry.
    Thank you for writing this as we ALL need to face some reality. I hope we will.

  10. What a great post. Love this: "We want to live perfectly imperfect lives." We all are human beings and should allow each other all the same emotions and thoughts and strengths and failings. We're not there yet, but hopefully we keep inching forward, albeit much too slowly.


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