What Does Black History Month Mean To You?

I Honestly Had Not Thought About It

I Am Creole. English, Irish, Scottish, Jamaican, and allegedly, Gypsy. Though we’re not entirely sure from which tribe of Gypsy, and I use that term with pride so don’t get it twisted.

Throughout my life, people delighted in telling me who I was, what I was, and what I was supposed to be based on their judgments. According to several different people I have Portuguese cheekbones, but a Jamaican nose, and English freckles.

It didn’t occur to me that I was allowed to celebrate Black History Month until I was in my 20s, and even then it was just another month. No one around me celebrated Blackness, and I didn’t know it was a thing we were supposed to do.

Growing up we went to Carnival in Calgary every year, but that stopped when I was around seven or eight, and when it stopped, so did the celebration of Blackness.

To be fair my mom was a white woman more concerned with putting food on the table than keeping us in the company of people that had already treated her horribly for the years that we had Black folk around.

Growing up I didn’t understand the struggles of Martin Luther King or Oprah. I didn’t know about the sacrifices, the blood, the sweat, and the tears, it took for Black folk to have the freedoms we now fight for even today.

I didn’t understand light skin privilege, I didn’t understand that life was supposed to be easier for me because my skin was light, because certainly, no one told my bullies, my abusers, teachers, or parents.

My mom’s boyfriend pretended to fight to be in our lives, but he didn’t really want to be a dad, he wanted to be a partier and a gangster, he got his wish, last I heard, he was a lonely old man who died in a crack shack. I don’t know if that’s true, but I also don’t care.

He was an abusive bastard who I learned to run from quickly, so his opinions on Blackness didn’t resonate until it came to my appearance. My nose was too big but my skin was light so one was bad one was good. I wasn’t very smart, but then that’s because he worked hard to make sure that I hid what I knew because if I didn’t, I ended up with bruises.

My life growing up was fairly average unless you count the abuse I encountered because of the color of my skin.

I certainly had more than my share from teachers, him, bullies, on and on it went, the abuse I experienced growing up all revolved around my lack of knowledge, my skin color, and my inability to arm myself.

I have been in a constant state of PTSD since I was five years old, and I am only just now at thirty-eight almost thirty-nine, learning how to deal with it. That’s what Black history month means to me.

It means I am one in a sea of millions of people of color who fell through the cracks and who is trying to pull myself up, by myself.

I am doing everything I can to prove that what I went through wasn’t so terrible that I can still survive, still thrive, and I am in a constant state of exhaustion.

Black History Month, should be a celebration of our culture but in 2022 it feels like we’re just sitting in a chaotic storm of bullshit that is wrapped around protecting white people from hearing about our trauma. Again.

No one is celebrating Black History Month in big ways, and the excuse is that it’s because we’re in the middle of a pandemic, but the truth of it is I think that people — Black people — are fucking exhausted.

We don’t want to toot our own horn, we want to see other people tooting our horn, but every February we’re so focused on reminding white people that we exist and that we have a right to, that we don’t really get the chance to “celebrate”.

How do you celebrate Black History Month? Because myself and my friends of WEOC would love to know. We spend it by talking about all the problems we face because the problems we face can’t be solved by partying in the streets.

It is not that we don’t want to celebrate, it’s just that I don’t really think we know how. There are no parades during Black history month, but there should be. There are no film festivals, but there should be.

There should be resounding applause for Black people across the globe during February, but it just feels to me like there never is. So I’ll do what I do every year and continue talking about the issues we face until we can come together to create solutions that help as many as possible.

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

visit Loud Mouth Brown Girl for more from Devon J Hall

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I want Brown girls around the world to know that their voice matters. I want them to know that they can effect change, that they can build communities, and soar to hieghts they never imgined with the power of their own voice. I want them to stand up and be LOUD, unapolegetically.

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Devon J Hall

Devon J Hall

I Am The Loud Mouth Brown Girl, from Surrey BC. Author, Author & Artist, Dancer, Singer, Cannabis Educator, and Advocate. I am All this and more.

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