The numerous ways in which the public has acknowledged Black History Month 2016 cannot go without applause. I can’t count the number of times I went on Facebook to see posts about a black person in history, from popular figures like Rosa Parks to less popular figures like Jane Bolin (the U.S.’s first black female judge). Efforts of commemoration by the media, such as The Huffington Post and Black Lives Matter’s “Black Future Month” are also worth recognition. However, even though the month is coming to a close, the power of black culture is nowhere near being subdued. Black people have continued to make history several times this month. Here are some moments worth noting:
1. Channing Dungey becomes the first black president of a major television network.
Channing Dungey was named president of ABC Entertainment Group on February 17th, 2016. Formerly the executive vice president of Drama Development and Movies & Miniseries, she was instrumental to the launch of hits such as “Scandal” and “How to Get Away with Murder”. When she’s not blessing prime time television, she is helping empower underprivileged youth. She is a founding member and current board member of Step Up, a national non-for-profit membership organization that helps girls from underprivileged communities stay confident and career-driven.
2. Kyle and Christopher Massey become first siblings nominated for the same Emmy category.
Because why shouldn’t their roles in That’s So Raven (Kyle) and Zoe 101 (Christopher) continue to earn praise almost a decade later? The two brothers both snagged an Emmy nomination in the “Outstanding Children’s Programming” category, making them the first siblings, as well as the first African-Americans, to do so. The Atlanta-born brothers were also recently honored by the Georgia House of Representatives for their humanitarian work and achievements in the entertainment industry. Who says all child stars go bad?
3. Jazzmine Sullivan becomes the first African-American to perform at the NHL Stadium Series.
The singer, who came to stardom after the release of hits like “Bust Your Windows” and “Lions, Tigers & Bears” has yet to let down R&B lovers. This month, she graced our ears with a riveting performance of the national anthem at the 2016 NHL Stadium Series. Sullivan has continued to gain recognition for her work, having earned nominations for Best Traditional R & B Performance, Best R & B Song, and Best R & B album at the 2016 Grammy Awards.
4. Michelle A. Williams becomes the first black person to lead a faculty at Harvard University.
A former epidemiologist and professor at the School of Public Health, Williams is now the first black person to head a faculty at the university, as well as the first female dean of the school. Her appointment is a sign of increased diversity among school faculty – something students at the university have been calling for. Williams has stated that she looks forward “to working even more closely with the School’s faculty, students, staff, and alumni to build on the School’s achievements.”
5. Kendrick Lamar gives a groundbreaking performance at the 2016 Grammy Awards.
Lamar’s shamelessly raw performance, which consisted of the songs “The Blacker the Berry” and “Alright” depicted the forms of systemic oppression blacks face in modern society while simultaneously insisting that blacks would continue to challenge this mistreatment and break the chains placed upon them. The awards night did not fall short of success for Lamar, who walked away with Grammies for Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Song, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, Best Music Video, and Best Rap Album.
Watch the performance here.
6. Beyonce stuns viewers and shuns racists in “Formation” music video.
Let’s face it, Beyonce could make history if she made a song about blowing her nose. However, the “Formation” music video is an unapologetic ode to blackness culminated through an afro-filled, Black Panther-themed wonderland. If the music video isn’t enough black glory for you, sit back and watch her Super Bowl 2016 performance of the tune here. Don’t forget to bring your hot sauce (swag).
Black History Month may be over, but that just means it’s time to make some more history. Stay proud.