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  • Writer's pictureJoe Shaw

Honoring Black History Month


February is Black History Month in the United States and the theme for 2023 is 'Resistance'.


The History Channel defines Black History Month as "an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history...Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history."

 

When I started this podcast it was my aim to be in conversation with those who've had a different life experience than my own. The goal being, to educate myself and the listeners so we could make a more inclusive world.


As we start Black History Month here in the United States we're being painfully reminded of the constant opposition our fellow humans face simple walking out of their house each day. It's fitting then, that the theme for this year is 'Resistance', a resistance of the constant profiling, constant comments, and constant bias. There remains a lot of work to be done and I find my role in the allyship space is to continue to open doors and move out of the way. For too long we've operated in a society which was created for a portion of our population, we've become more collectively aware of the systemic problems this has created over the past few years so it's even more critical to push (and prop) those doors of change open.

 

If you're looking for ways to both educate yourself and support Black professionals, I've provided a few different DTALKS podcast episodes below where the conversations of race relations, representation in media, and equitable care were all discussed in one way or another:


Shani Mahiri King came on the podcast to discuss his children's book "Have I Ever Told You Black Lives Matter?" We also discussed why representation matters and what Black History Month means to him.

Shani King on Why He Wrote This Book: “I wrote this book for my children and for all children who need an inspirational voice grounded in their own history. Think of any field of endeavor and Black innovators have made vital contributions. The Black women and men introduced in this book are but a small handful of those innovators. They were all kids once. They all overcame obstacles because they all believed in themselves. My goal is for all kids to see themselves in these pages. And, I hope this book contributes to the understanding that all kids, and all people, are central to the American narrative and the human experience.”

 

If you're looking to continue your Black History Month purchases I highly recommend Ricky Tucker's book "And the Category Is..." The author joined the show to discuss his book and we covered his motivation to write this book, what it means for the Ballroom community and the world at large.

An Electric Literature “Most Anticipated LGBTQ+ Book of 2022” Selection



What is Ballroom? Not a song, a documentary, a catchphrase, a TV show, or an individual pop star. It is an underground subculture founded over a century ago by LGBTQ African American and Latino men and women of Harlem. Arts-based and intersectional, it transcends identity, acting as a fearless response to the systemic marginalization of minority populations

 

Beyond representation in media, it's important to have quality healthcare from someone who understands you, your experience, your background, and sees you for you! Dr. Tiffany Woodus stopped by the podcast to discuss Woodus Obsterics & Gynecology which is committed to improving black maternal health outcomes


Dr. Woodus and I discussed the importance of having a space where one can truly relax and focus on the business of giving birth. Dr. Woodus and I discussed how she wanted to create a space where Black women felt safe, secure, and understood. That her practice seeks to educate, elevate, and empower mothers is something to be celebrated. We can only hope her practice is the first of many more like it.

 

To this day, I reflect back on the conversation I had with Playwright Jeremy O'Brian on the podcast where we discussed the importance of his plays about the Black and Queer Black experience. We discussed the importance of 'truly living life' and how that translates into art.


O’Brian is a Mississippi-born, Brooklyn-based playwright and educator. His visceral and imaginative plays seek to uncover the deep genius of the Black quotidian while centering the experiences of Black queer boys. In 2016 he served as a one of Lambda Literary’s Emerging LGBTQ Voice Fellows for Playwriting under the tutelage of Robert O’Hara. In 2018, O’Brian served as a playwriting fellow with Athena Theatre Company in New York City where he developed his new play, egg; or anythin’ dipped in egg gone soften.

 

When I first started following The Conscious Lee on social media I was continually taken to school on how little education I'd been provided about our country, especially as it related to race relations in this country. I appreciated Lee taking time out of his busy schedule to record this conversation with me.


We discussed the importance of education in today's world, how to motivate people to make the change they seek, and ultimately how we can all make a more inclusive world.

 

If you prefer to listen to all of these episodes together in a playlist we've provided a Spotify playlist for you below:

 

Thanks for detoxing with DTALKS, now go and make a more inclusive world!

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