February has a special place in my heart. Mostly because of the fact that Valentine’s Day is my absolute favourite holiday. It is the day where people share love and their appreciation for their significant other, friends and family. Although, there is another significant event that happens during February, and that is Black History Month. During all of February, we recognize the achievements that black people have done and we celebrate all of their influential work throughout history. Just like Valentine’s Day, we celebrate Black History Month by sharing the love and appreciation for black people who have played an important role in history. In my personal opinion, Black History Month should be all-year-round; a month is not enough time to be thinking about the influence and effect that black activists, artists and people have shared in history.
Someone who I would like to acknowledge during Black History Month is an author who has inspired me to write and to live life with courage. Mia McKenzie, a black, queer, writer and activist who created Black Girl Dangerous (BGD). BGD is a non-profit, online forum in the hopes of giving a larger voice to queer people of colour. On the forum, writers from all over the world are inspired and encouraged by McKenzie to use their writing and creativeness to be loud about their passion as queer people of colour.
I first learned about BGD from a previous class I took here at Queen’s University called Black Feminism (GNDS 312). If you’re ever looking for a course that celebrates black authors, activists and feminist, then I would totally recommend adding it to your shopping cart next term! In this course, one of the required texts was Black Girl Dangerous, a collection of essays and poems written by Mia McKenzie. The book was so inspiring and unapologetic, which is what McKenzie’s philosophy is all about: being loud. After doing more research, I realized that this forum is so unique; “With its focus on social justice from a QTPoC [Queer & Trans People of Colour] perspective, BGD is the only forum of its kind on the web.”
On the ‘about’ page on the BGD website, McKenzie writes, “BGD is a place where we can make our voices heard on the issues that interest us and affect us, where we can showcase our literary and artistic talents, where we can cry it out, and where we can explore and express our ‘dangerous’ sides: our biggest, boldest, craziest, weirdest, wildest selves.” That quote alone is so powerful and what this forum is doing for queer people of colour is monumental. McKenzie writes in her introduction from Black Girl Dangerous, “We say it plain. And with as much courage as we can muster.” Sometimes being direct in writing is the most respectable. Readers want to be able to relate to the writing, and BGD clearly shows no boundaries to relatability when it comes to writing about race, gender and sexuality in pop culture.
Reflecting on how Black History Month can be celebrated, websites and forums like BGD are perfect ways to educate yourself on different perspectives from QTPoC writers. I truly believe that we learn something new every single day. So during the month of February, take some time to simply read black authors and learn about black activists. Take the time to reflect on how their stories and acts of courage shaped our world today. I highly encourage you to visit BGD or read McKenzie’s book Black Girl Dangerous because I think we all need to be a little more courageous when it comes to what we believe in.