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Ideas for Celebrating Black History Month

an Black woman sitting in a coffee shop and smiling

The 2424 Penn Blog is here to remind you that it’s Black History Month! Every February, we as a nation have the opportunity to recognize the unquantifiable contributions that people of Black communities everywhere nationwide have made to our society, as well as to consider new ways we can continually strive to wipe out racism in our nation toward people of minority groups.

This year, we are here to help you explore a few different ways you can celebrate Black History Month. The nice part is you can do most of these things within the comfort of your Washington D.C. apartment!

Read

February is an opportune time to dive into books, poems, or discourses by Black authors. Reading is one way to get a small window into the culture of others, as well as their lives, hardships, injustices. Luckily, the Black community is one of the most accessible ones through the amount of writing produced. We recommend works by Toni Morrison or Ralph Ellison and poetry by Langston Hughes or Maya Angelou. Look into the authors in your community to learn from, as well.

Watch

On top of reading materials, there are lots of things you can watch to recognize the work of Black artists. If you’re in a movie-watching mood, there are plenty of films that highlight the talent of Black directors and actors. If you’re looking for documentaries or movies based on true stories, we recommend 13th and Hidden Figures.

Listen

After asking someone what type of music they like, it isn’t out of the ordinary to hear this response: “everything except rap.” Of course, it is perfectly acceptable for each individual to have their individual music taste, but we encourage everybody to experiment with some rap or some other form of music that was created by the Black community this month.

It’s true that the lyrics in rap music can often seem abrasive or content heavy, but ask yourself these types of questions while you’re listening: Why might this rap be including this content? What does that say about the daily realities the artist faces? Why is it significant that they have made it big in the world of rap? We suggest listening to Alright by Kendrick Lamar or Make Me Feel by Janelle Monáe. If you absolutely can’t make it through any type of rap, try out jazz or blues!

Get Involved

Even more important than supporting Black art, we invite you to find ways to serve people of color in your own community! First, find out some of the current injustices people in your community face. Then think about how you personally can help. Are there youth near you at risk of leaving behind their education? Try finding a program that will help you mentor them. Do you have a Black-owned business near you? Support it regularly. There are plenty of ways you can get involved according to your own hobbies and interests.

We hope our post helped you think of new ways to observe Black History Month!