Growing up Black, I was taught that wearing my natural kinky hair meant I wasn’t beautiful. I wondered why people of a different colour or ethnicity would look at me like I was an alien. This was mainly because afro-kinky hair was seen as not suitable in the workplace and not groomed enough to wear out.
I learned this was ignorance. After reading about my history and the people who fought for our human rights, I’ve realized that being a Black woman is a precious gift from God.
We are ambitious and driven people who are forced to work twice as hard to be respected. We continue to fight for our human rights and create awareness that Black lives do matter. We are just as valuable as any other race.
Many who’ve paved the way before us have left a worthy legacy to inherit, one of Black pride and an enriched culture filled with colourful art and fashion. We are famous for music, dance and poetry across the world.
Thousands of Black people die as victims of hate crime, racial profiling and racism every day.
Heroes like Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and Oprah Winfrey are some of the greatest people who’ve spoken against the crimes and injustices towards the Black community.
Seeing these great people who’ve made their marks on society causes a flame to light within me. It’s a reminder that anything is possible if you believe it.
Ghandi once said, “You must be the change you see in the world,” and it’s now a philosophy I live by.
Black History Month is a time of reflection. It’s a time to reflect on the people who made our history what it is and gave us opportunities to show our talents and our uniqueness as a race.
Within the past year, we’ve lost two important men, Kobe Bryant and Nipsey Hussle. They helped break stereotypes about Black culture and enforced the altruistic spirit we have within us.
Nipsey Hussle died on the spot when he was gunned down in his Californian neighbourhood in March. He was a rapper and a human rights activist. He donated millions to help his community, set up a number of science and technology schools and fought against gang violence in California. Hussle also bought shoes for students, repaved basketball courts, renovated playgrounds and provided jobs for the homeless by employing them in his tours.
We will celebrate him this year and every Black History Month to come.
During this month, we remember trailblazer Kobe Bryant, who was a five-time NBA champion and a 17-time All-Star NBA champion. His prowess in basketball speaks for itself.
Bryant not only contributed on the court, but he was also the official ambassador for the After-School All-Stars, a national children’s charity that provides after school programs to 72,000 inner-city kids.
One of his most profound works was The Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation, which he created to enhance the lives of young people and their families. The foundation included a soccer club that taught young athletes how to be leaders and independent thinkers.
Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26.
The accomplishments and altruism of these two great men is exemplary for our young developing leaders. I’m inspired, and so are other members of the Black community.
I would like to add how much this month means to me as a Black woman who continues to face struggles in society. I urge other Black men and women to love themselves and continue to feel inspired by those who have impacted our society within this month.
Self-love is the greatest love of all, and only by acknowledging your worth, can others see your true self-worth.