For the past couple of weeks, the so-called Oscar boycott has topped the news. Black actors, actresses and film makers have debated about whether to tune into the 88th Academy Awards Show because no outstanding African Americans were nominated in any category. Will and Jada Smith will not attend and Spike Lee will be attending the Nicks game on Oscar night.
Black oriented award shows like The NAACP Image Awards, BET Awards and Soultrain Awards came about as an alternative to the Oscars and Grammys to ensure people of color could be recognized for their talent. Black entertainers chose to celebrate each other rather than wait for whites to give them their props. If they had kept waiting, they may have never been noticed.
Black FOX News commentator and actress Stacey Dash created a big mess when she went on record saying alternate award shows for blacks should not exist because they exclude white people. This is not true, but more to my point, these awards are necessary.
Honoring your own is a way to keep legacy alive and legacy is history. Think of the many African American performers who might never take home a trophy unless it is handed to them by someone within their own race. So for the sake of black history, it is important that these platforms exist.
Black films and television tell meaningful stories about black life. More than that, they provide a way to preserve history for generations. Young people who were born decades after the Civil Rights era, for example, can connect to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through Youtube and movies like “Selma.”
Although most of us are conditioned to study black history by reading and watching videos or movies, we have a literal goldmine of history inside our own homes. Photo albums, home videos, and newspaper clippings of our loved ones all make up the tapestry known as black history. Whether your family is famous of not, you do have a history which deserves to be told. The time will come when future generations will want to know more about their roots. They will be curious about where they came from.
Having a narrative to share with loved ones provides strength and a sense of identity. This is sorely lacking in many people today. So why not began to share the stories of your own family? Create a family tree, do some research and add narrative to the videos so there will be an accurate account of what happened and when. It will make for a fascinating study into your family roots.
The contributions of African Americans to this country are undeniable. Those in your own family tree are no less history makers, maybe just less known.