There is so much Black History that is a mystery to us and the more I learn the more I wish I had taken more black history classes in college. Stories like Henrietta Lacks’ HeLa cell line, the real Hidden Figures and the origins of feminism often leave me with a mixed bag of emotions. I am proud of the stories and pissed that I am just now learning about them. I can only imagine what baby Lisa would be been empowered to do if she had known she was carrying around all this glittery, golden black girl magic from the ancestors. *Sigh* But cheers to woke future babies, right?
Getting to the point… one of the things I missed in black history growing up was Juneteenth. I will not tell you when I discovered it was a thing because I am ashamed but I am all in. Plus right now… we need all the blackness we can get. (Pours one out for the country…cause y’all…*long sigh*)
So about the holiday… for those that do not know Juneteenth is the day the last of the slaves found out they were free. Slaves in Galveston Island, a small Island off the coast of Texas, were either never informed of the Emancipation Proclamation or the owners scared them into staying enslaved. This was more than 2 years after they were freed by the federal government. Can you imagine? Of course, you can… cause #Merica.
Celebrating this holiday is important because it is a part of a uniquely American history that is real for one (unlike all the other trash we celebrate… I love V-day but let’s be honest, it trash). It is also a reminder that can we cannot forget that even though we are taught a flat history full of clear wins and losses for justice and liberty for all, the black people of this country have always and will always fight a steep uphill battle to be acknowledged as full citizens and human beings in a country whose soil is rich with our actual blood, sweat and tears.
Today of all days I want us to lean into all of the blackness however you feel it. If your black is spoken word, do it. If your black is Trap Music, do it. If your black is soul food, do it. If your black is jazz, do it. If your black is African, Latina, Caribbean, Creole, European, Asian, or mixed race ….do all of that too. It all matters, because you have the right to be fully human and the policies/practices of discrimination experience here, are exported to every corner of the globe.
So nothing is not black enough… nothing is too black… there is no apologizing or watering it down. Bring all your joy, pain, love and magic into all of your spaces today of all days.
Tell me how you plan to celebrate in the comments below and Happy Juneteenth Girl.