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The Blackest Moments of Black History Month 2016

The most unapologetically Black happenings that went down over the past 29 days.

– By Jasmine Grant

The past few years have been tough for Black Americans – a reality muddled with police brutality, “WTF”-worthy comments from politicians in complete denial that racism is still a thing, culture appropriation on unabashed levels and harsh reminders that we are a long way from the racially harmonious America Dr. Martin Luther King envisioned in his “I Have a Dream Speech.” Recent pop culture events have made it possible to add a dash of humor to the uncomfortable topic of race. Those who typically turn a blind eye to the significance of this celebratory month are now paying attention, thanks to a few epic music and social media moments reminding us to be proud of who we are and why this month exists. Perhaps that’s why some are calling February 2016 one of the best Black History Months ever…and we’d have to agree. Take a stroll with us down memory lane as we reflect on the most unapologetically Black pop culture moments of the last 29 days.

Twitter Wishes Stacey Dash a Happy Black History Month

You’d think at this point, we would’ve washed our hands with Stacey Dash and her off the wall opinions about race, yet the actress turned political commentator (we use this title very, very loosely) always manages to outdo herself. The country let out a resounding “bish whet?” when Stacey Dash stepped on her soapbox of reverse racism and called for an end to BET and Black history month. “…there shouldn’t be a Black History Month. You know? We’re Americans. Period. That’s it” Dash said during a segment on Fox News’ Fox & Friends. Unsurprisingly, Twitter took petty to another level on February 1st, by dragging the Clueless actress with memes like the above.

Beyoncé Puts Us in Formation

On the eve of her anticipated Super Bowl performance, nobody expected Beyoncé to drop the surprise song and video “Formation.” And certainly nobody expected an artist with a pristine image like Queen Bey to tackle such a divisive issue. Laced with proud statements like “I like my Negro nose with Jackson 5 nostrils,” this is Beyoncé’s first song that inarguably champions Black culture. And to make the message even clearer, Bey boldly pranced on the Super Bowl stage with an army of Black Panther clad dancers. This made people upset and evoked a sea of think pieces from the right wing accusing her of race baiting (Tomi Lahren, we’ll get to you in a minute).

Kendrick Lamar’s Black Out at the Grammys

The day after the 2016 Grammy’s, hardly anyone was talking about the awards or the red carpet looks. Nearly everyone was talking about Kendrick Lamar’s explosive, jaw dropping medley of “The Blacker The Berry,” and “Alright” – songs that, like much of Kendrick’s work, explore deeply-rooted structures of institutionalized racism. Limping to the mic in a prison suit, shackles and a bruised face, Kendrick ferociously rapped line tom “The Blacker The Berry” to the mixed audience: “I’m African-American. I’m African. I’m black as the moon. Heritage of a small village. Pardon my residence. …You hate me, don’t you? You hate my people. Your plan is to terminate my culture.”. As the drums blared louder and Kendrick’s voice becomes more furious, the stage essentially becomes a tribal celebration of blackness and pride. And then we see it. The large shape of Africa with bold white letters “Africa” inscribed. Following the already heated climate of Blackness in mainstream music ignited by Beyoncé, Kendrick promised to bring Black back to the Grammy’s…and he did so flawlessly.

Kanye West Cares About Black Music

Difficult as it may be to comb through Kanye West’s stream of self-inflating Twitter proverbs, you may find a few bits and pieces of truth from the rap mogul when it comes to the intersections of race and art. Two days after the release of The Life of Pablo Kanye apparently had enough of mainstream music critics reviewing rap and R&B music without acknowledging its racial context. “I love love love white people but you don’t understand what it means to be the great grandson of ex slaves and make it this far,” he tweeted. And in case you were confused on exactly who he’s referring to, he named some names for ya. Ye’ asked music mags like Pitchfork and Rolling Stone to politely STFU when it comes to Black music. He also preached some truth about Black artists that are frequently underrepresented at Grammy’s despite their undeniable influence. “You like your black people a certain way also. [The Grammy’s] wouldn’t have Future perform and that man owned the clubs last summer.” See more of what he had to say below:

Charlemagne Tha God Shuts Down Awful Beyoncé Hater

Up-and-coming conservative news host Tomi Lahren took issue with Beyoncé’s Black Panther-themed performance at the Super Bowl and decided to flex her first amendment rights by attempting (key word) to get Queen B together for paying tribute to a “terrorist organization.” Tomi even hit below the belt, drudging up Jay Z’s drug dealing past to paint Beyoncé as a hypocrite. Though we’re tempted, the word limit for this article is much too short to read Tomi for filth over those misguided comments. And since Tomi already received the dragging of a lifetime compliments of The Beyhive, why go there? Thankfully, there was a teachable moment for Tomi in this, and Power 105’s Charlemagne Tha God flawlessly schooled the young anchor for her obnoxious comments…and on her own show no less. T’was a shining gem of Black History month, indeed.
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