Celebrate Black History Month with SLOC

Inspired by the NAACP’s list of 28 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month, we will be providing suggestions, resources and educational content to observe the significance of Black History Month. Curated with the assistance of our newly formed Committee for Diversity and Representation, we hope that you’ll follow along/tag @sloctheater/use #BHMatSLOC to show us how you’re learning, donating, and celebrating. Please note that these posts are merely guidelines and may include non-exhaustive lists of resources available to you. We encourage everyone to use these as a springboard for more research, reading and learning!

At the end of this month, the Committee for Diversity and Representation will be hosting their first Community Give Back (virtual) event. During this virtual event, you will see performances from artists of color, hear testimonials about their experiences and meet and have the opportunity to support minority and women-owned business members from our community. We hope that you’ll join us on Feb 26th (more details to follow)!

Do you know why February was chosen for Black History Month? Or that every year has a theme? It is important to know and understand the significance and history of Black History Month because Black History is American History.

Take some time to do a little reading/listening about the history of Black History Month. You might be surprised by what you learn!

Visit asalh.org for more resources and content about the history and events going on this Black History Month, from the organization that founded it!

An extremely important component of Black History Month is supporting organizations that work year-round to fight systemic racism, make racial equality a reality and bring services to the marginalized or underrepresented. Donations fuel these organizations’ growth and sustainability and amplify their missions. We’ve compiled a non-exhaustive list of both national and local organizations that would greatly benefit from support year-round. Consider setting up a recurring donation, as their mission and work does not stop!

History was made and is being made all around us. Today we will share some information for the history buff in all of you. Our post highlights two locations in our backyard that had impactful roles in Black history: the Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence and Crailo State Historic Site.

Looking for an activity for the approaching arctic weekend? Why not stay inside in your pj’s and have a movie marathon while celebrating Black History Month? The following titles include works by Black directors as well as titles that portray and embody the history and plight of BIPOC in America. We have selected a variety of titles to give any movie-loving individual a solid starting point for their marathon!

Next time you find yourself ordering take out from the same chain restaurant, browsing Amazon for a gift for a loved one…take that step to look up a local Black-owned business that will provide you with the goods or services you’re seeking! In our “Community Give Back” event at the end of this month, we will be hearing from several local business owners in the hopes of sharing their missions and emphasize the importance of supporting these businesses. 

Visit these sites for a thorough list of businesses in the Capital Region:

https://www.upstatecreative.org/capny-essentials-a-guide-to-black-owned-businesses-and-black-led-organizations/

https://www.keepalbanyboring.com/2020/black-owned-businesses-in-the-capital-region/

We have all heard of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr., but what about Benjamin Singleton or Claudette Colvin? Daisy Bates or Gladys Bentley? It’s time to dive into some of the stories of the unsung heroes of Black History. Today we share the story of Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler, the first Black, female physician in the US.

Today we encourage you to set down that smart device and pick up a title by a Black author. The titles listed above are not by far the only or best titles. This list is merely a jumping off point for exploring some incredible pieces of literature, both classic and contemporary, with a range of novels to poetry to essays. We encourage you to delve into pieces by Black authors based on the genres that appeal to you!

 

“Describing the African-American influence on American music in all of its glory and variety is an intimidating—if not impossible—task. African-American influences are so fundamental to American music that there would be no American music without them.”

-Steven Lewis, Musical Crossroads: African American Influence on American Music (link in bio)

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These ten moments we have captured in today’s post capture only represent a mere sliver of the history and influential artists that have shaped Black and American music. We have collected some great resources (link in our bio) for your learning and reading pleasure. Comment below…what do YOU think are some of the most influential moments/who are some of the most influential artists that have shaped Black music history?

Additional resources:

https://music.si.edu/story/musical-crossroads
https://music.si.edu/spotlight/african-american-music/roots-of-african-american-music
https://blog.pandora.com/us/30-times-black-music-changed-the-world/
https://www.thecurrent.org/feature/2019/02/13/a-timeline-of-historymaking-black-music

Today’s post features a local Black creative, Aaron Moore, whose impact on the local theater scene is ever-growing. Acting with Aaron offers classes and opportunities for performers of all ages and abilities and Aaron uses his social media pages as a platform to share and support other local projects and artists. How can you support other Black creatives like Aaron? Purchase their art (in whatever medium it may be!), Like, Follow, Share!

It’s important to commit to calling out racism and prejudice frequently. These conversations are not easy, so we’ve created a list of “Ten Tips” to help you feel more confident in doing so. These suggestions can be used as a starting block or reference if you are not sure where to begin! Make a pact with yourself to start challenging those who may never have been challenged before regarding their racist words or actions.

** This list was influenced by works by and interviews of author Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want to Talk About Race.

 

Lift Every Voice and Sing – often called “The Black National Anthem” – was written as a poem by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson and then set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson in 1899. First performed in 1900 as part of a celebration of Lincoln’s birthday, numerous artists have taken the piece and made it their own over the years. Today we are thrilled to have three local performers sing this poignant song and hope that you’ll take the time to look up, listen, and possibly learn the poem, words and message those words have

Day 16: Wear Your Hair Out in its Natural Form
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Hi guys! I want to share a little bit about my hair journey with you today as part of our 28 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month. Thank you for taking the time to listen! If you’d like, you can tell me about your natural hair journey in the comments or leave recommendations of your favorite products! I’d love to learn what you do!
~Rose
 

Diversity and representation in children’s books is a topic that is not often highlighted. This representation empowers young children who may not be used to seeing themselves in the pages of the books they read. It also challenges children’s worldviews and creates a dialogue within families and classrooms. Here we’ve provided some titles as well as resources for help in expanding your book collection, whether in the classroom or at home!

We’ve talked a lot about reading and expanding one’s horizons when it comes to literature, film and art. If autobiographies and biographies are more your style, consider making your next read about a prominent Black figure. Speaking of prominent black figures- today we also celebrate what would have been the 90th birthday of Toni Morrison. While Morrison never did publish an autobiography (and a biography is yet to enter the literary world), she worked incredibly hard to expand the black American literary canon and leave a legacy that will not soon be forgotten.

Soul food gets its roots from the rural South, but the cuisine itself can have many different origins. Today we will be sharing a recipe for Curry Shrimp, a traditional dish from Jamaica. Whether served over rice or eaten straight from the pot, this is definitely a recipe that will feed your soul. Tanisha Findley, provider of the Curry Shrimp recipe for today’s post, says, “making Curry dishes give me a way to feel close to my culture and heritage and are a staple in most Jamaican households.” Join us on Feb 26 during our Community Give Back event as members of our Committee for Diversity walk through the Curry Shrimp recipe, and feel free to cook along! What are YOU cooking tonight?