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A Beginner’s Guide to Celebrating Black History Month

Happy Black History Month! Despite February being the shortest month of the year, it’s an important one where we can honor the African American community’s trials, tribulations, and contributions (although that should be something we acknowledge all year). This guide is not an all-inclusive list, but here are a few ways to celebrate the Black community during this time!

Shop Black-Owned

One of the easiest ways to support Black people is to shop from some Black-owned stores and shops. Not only does it help to diversify the products that you own, but it also helps local businesses because many Black-owned shops tend to be small and centrally run. Here are some Black-owned businesses to shop at in Atlanta, but you can also do a quick Google search for a more extensive list as well as visit Black-owned stores on Etsy and other online marketplace websites.

  • 44th and 3rd Bookseller: This Black-owned bookstore was established in 2017 with the goal of providing “a source of unbiased literature” that is diverse and expressive of the experiences of the Black community.
  • Sublime Donuts: Ever have that sweet tooth craving at 1 a.m.? Me too. Luckily, this Black-owned donut shop located in Tech Plaza has got us covered. With an array of flavors ranging from Oreo to Salt & Vinegar, I can vouch for the deliciousness of these donuts.
  • Atlanta Breakfast Club: Okay, who doesn’t love a good brunch? Atlanta Breakfast Club will make you want to have brunch every day! The peach cobbler french toast is a dish made in Heaven. But if you do end up going, make a reservation or be prepared to wait because the restaurant can get pretty packed when everyone is trying to eat well.

Watch Black Movies and TV

Another way to celebrate this month is by watching movies and TV shows that have Black main characters and are directed or produced by Black people. This adds another perspective of the Black experience in America. While I believe they are important, it’s unfortunate that many popular Black movies revolve around racial trauma. Of course, that is an aspect of our lives, but focusing solely on the troubling history we’ve endured doesn’t provide a way for us to excitedly anticipate the future. So, here are some films and shows that don’t exhibit Black trauma but are great watches:

  • Cinderella (1997): Produced by Whitney Houston, this movie is one of my childhood favorites as it showcased the first-ever Black princess with Brandy starring as Cinderella. Not only was it ahead of its time with casting a Black princess, but the prince in the movie was also a person of color! I’m a sucker for cheesy romance movies, and this one definitely hits the spot!
  • Dear White People: Created by Black filmmaker Justin Sieman, this dramedy follows the everyday lives of Black students at a predominantly White Ivy League institution as they encounter and combat racism and other issues. This show brings up a lot of sensitive subjects, but they are important to acknowledge and talk about, and I feel as though the show did a great job of starting these necessary conversations.
  • Premature (2019): Set in Harlem, this movie depicts the blossoming and a fading of a summer love between Ayanna, a teenage poet heading off to college in the fall, and Isaiah, a music producer in his 20s who recently moved to the city. What makes this movie so captivating is how it showcases all of the stages of a relationship in just a short amount of time because it occurred during the summer before Ayanna’s freshman year of college. It has lots of deep scenes that make you think twice about the film’s message, but there are also some lighthearted moments usually catalyzed by Ayanna’s humorous best friends.

Support Black Creatives

Black people are multi-talented individuals, especially when it comes to creativity. A lot of Black authors, musicians, artists utilize their experiences of being Black in America to create some of the most beautiful, breathtaking work I’ve ever seen. And then there’s a lot of creatives who bring new ideas to the table and experiment with methods that haven’t ever been done before. Here’s just a shortlist of some of these talented people who deserve to have their names known:

Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald

If you didn’t already know, the Obama Portraits Tour is happening now at the High Museum in Atlanta, and for a ticket under $20, you’re able to see official Smithsonian portraits of former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama. Go and see these amazing paintings by those very talented women. Check it out soon because the exhibit leaves Atlanta on March 20, and tickets are selling fast!

Black-Authored Book Suggestions

  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • Native Guard by Natasha Tretheway
  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Black Musician/Artist Suggestions

  • Arlo Parks (a personal favorite!)
  • Montell Fish
  • ODIE
  • Emanuel

Share this article and any other suggestions you have to your peers because this month is a great time to give back to the Black community and appreciate all that we have given. By no means is this a comprehensive list, but I hope that you’ve been enlightened somehow and have found a new way to support Black people. And remember: even though it’s Black History Month, we should be celebrated and acknowledged all year! The support doesn’t end when February ends. Happy Black History Month!

An English major with aspirations to attend law school to become and Intellectual Property attorney. Lover of chai tea lattes, true crime shows, romance novels, and autumn weather.
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