October is Black History Month, which has sparked an ongoing conversation here at Gaudi amongst the team and our lovely clients surrounding the greatness of black culture. We talked about family heritage, empowerment, influential people, and how black contributions to society can be recognised and celebrated. Here’s a snippet of what we discussed…
My family is originally from Jamaica. The thing I love the most is the music, even when its pouring with rain outside it still feels like summer when Jamaican music is playing. To me, Tupac has had an influence in my life as a black person. He was fearless and always spoke up for the truth. He was open about his struggles, and the struggles that black people face, through his music, poems, films, and interviews. He really was the most authentic person in the music industry.
My heritage is a melting pot of several tribes which makes it unique, including our language. Our culture like many African cultures is centred on the concept of community “I am, because we are”. My father has been a very inspirational black role model in my life. He gave me everything he never had to ensure that I had the opportunity to be whatever I wanted to be. He would say, “To be like a tree, to keep growing but remain grounded and always connected to my roots.”
I was born in Jamaica, from black Jamaican parents who’s descendants trace back from Africa. My family celebrates all Jamaican festivities with an abundance of spicy Caribbean food, rum and beer, not to mention Jamaican reggae music like Bob Marley and so many more artists. To express my family heritage, I could simply say, “one people” or “green gold and black”. My parents taught me to love yourself before you can receive love from anyone else. I am a strong black queen who loves the blackness within my skin. I celebrate my beauty everyday, for myself and to set an example for my children as we are too blessed to be stressed. Despite what society may say, my blackness is beautiful. As a woman and mother, I know my worth and am a confident queen who is valuable.
I feel empowered to stand up for myself and I thrive when fighting for what I believe in. I know my opinion is not just heard, but respected and valued. Education about black contributions to society can come from not only schools, but homes as well. I have been influenced by the works of poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou. Her poetry has impacted on my teenage and adult life, and provided me with education surrounding my history and background.
My family heritage is entwined with so many other cultures, but collectively we love hard and except all. My culture has taught me to stand together, which is something that brings me light when there is darkness. I truly feel lucky to be black, I am beautiful and strong. My beautiful nan came over to England from Jamaica in her 20’s as a feisty independent woman. She was a strong mother, nanny, and nurse in her early years. My mother has taught me I can achieve whatever I want out of life as this is part of my gift. Being a teen mum when she gave birth to me, she has modelled this positive attitude through her own life and experiences. As a society we need to highlight the fascinating contribution of black histories unsung heroes, such as, Robert Smalls, Mae Jemison and Harriet Tubman… to name a few!
What I love most about my culture is the respect for older people even if not related, and the generous spirit of helping each other in times of need. There have been several black figures who have influenced me throughout life. Oprah Winfrey, for rising above the odds and giving back to society. Tyler Perry, for turning his life around and becoming independently successful. Barack Obama, leading the most powerful nation in the world as the first African-American president of the US.
With everyone in agreement that more education is needed around black contributions to society, here are a few easy ways you can enrich your knowledge surrounding black history.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
13’th – Netflix Documentary
Witness Black History – BBC World Service Podcast
Continue the conversation with friends and family