We as black people are always in this juxtaposition of people wanting to appropriate and appreciate our culture. I say juxtaposition because when you appropriate you do the exact opposite of what appreciating does which is disrespecting the culture. I can understand why people are so obsessed with black culture, it is very rich. This includes everything from the way we dress, to the music we make, the slang we speak in and the way we cook our food.
Blackness is a cornucopia.
Here are just some facts that simply make us the best
- Black don’t crack
That’s not just a cliché , it is backed by scientific facts. Black women age 10 years slower than white women. This has a lot to do with the fact that we have melanin rich skin. Exposure to UV rays makes one age quicker but we have a natural defendant against that because melanin blocks UV rays. The more melanin you have, the better.
Exhibit A: Black people over 40
Exhibit B: Black people over 50
- We are inventive
Black people have invented some pretty essential things for everyday life:
- The three signal traffic light was invented by Garrett Morgan (he also invented the gas mask).
- Potato crisps were invented by George Crum (yes, they are essential for everyday life)
- The dust pan was invented by Lloyd Ray
- Alexander Miles invented automatic elevator doors
- Thomas Stewart invented the improved version of a mop.
- We are trailblazers in our own right
This is a shout out to all the black men and women who were the first to achieve their milestones, giving hope and a great deal of motivation to generations succeeding them.
- Nelson Mandela- The first Black South African president
- Barack Obama- The first black American president
- Misty Copeland- The first black principal ballet dancer
- Hattie McDaniel- The first African-American actress, singer and songwriter
- W.E.B Du Bois- The first African American to receive a doctorate from Harvard Law School
- Mariam Makeba- The first black South African musician during the apartheid era to leave South Africa. She lived in the US and performed for prominent figures like former US president John F Kennedy
- Nonkululeko Gobodo- The first black female CA in South Africa
- We are pop culture
Throughout history and even today black people have been one of the biggest influences in pop culture.
Take for instance jazz music, it originates from New Orleans and has African roots. Music like rap, R&B, jazz and soul have black roots in them and over the years these genres have been inclusive of all different races. Prince, Tupac, Dr Dre, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin and Bob Marley are all artists who shaped the music the industry and have influence a good amount of the artists we love and revere today.
To quote Mwatabu Okantah, “Without Dr. Dre, there could be no Eminem, without Usher, there could be no Justin Bieber. ‘Nsync, the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears all owe their musical roots to African American R&B and Soul icons.”
Black people in general are rhythm and beat people so it comes as no surprise that we have invented dances that have kept the world moving. These include the iconic moonwalk, pantsula, hip hop, dance hall and the rhythm and beat of the gumboot.
This is where a lot of cultural appropriation happens. The styles that black people have adopted for virtually years are only now being seen as fashion revolution when they are adopted by other races or are seen on the runways of NYFW.
- And we are finally embracing all that we are.
Black people have been reduced by past oppressions to not fully embrace all that is natural to us. Lately we have been admiring and shining the light on who we are lock, stock and barrel. This is inclusive of everything from growing out our kinky hair, loving the shade of our skin, playing major lead roles on television and to using our voices in contemporary ways to bring attention to the things we want to change.