In celebration of Black History Month, we honor the importance of creating space and time for Black self love, care, and history year round. We honor the importance of celebrating Black folks and Black History, as a society, year round. We honor the importance of investing in and financially supporting Black-owned businesses, year round. We honor the importance of educating ourselves and others about Black history year round. We honor the importance of avoiding tokenization and reliance on this month solely to center Black history.
This month, in addition to publishing original pieces on LOVE (specifically liberatory love that breaks free from the white supremacist, heterosexist, transmysoginistic, patriarchy) we will highlight a number of past Art for Ourselves pieces featuring Black artists and activists. We also point our community to educational pieces we’ve published for non-Black POC and white folks regarding anti-blackness in their communities. And finally, pieces that provide (a) map(s) for revolutionary self love, specifically for Black and Brown people.
You can start by checking out this month’s feature interview with Soul Folk Sonic Storyteller, kei slaughter.
Another great resource is our Read Femmes of Color lists (there are three!). The second features Emily Raboteau, Zadie Smith, Gloria Naylor, Toni Morrison, and Jill Scott. The first, the one that started it all, includes books by Yrsa Daley Ward, Alice Walker, Robin Coste Lewis, Jacqueline Woodson, Naomi Jackson, Fran Ross, Chinelo Okparanta, Morgan Parker, Chimimanda Adichie, Harriet Washington, and Edwidge Danticat. The third one includes books by Yaa Gyasi, ZZ Packer, Airea D. Matthews, Nayyirah Waheed, Mia McKenzie, Toni Morrison, bell hooks, Danzy Senna, Alice Walker, Claudia Rankine, and Zora Neale Hurston.
Bad-ass Femme and Non-binary Artists and Activists to Follow on Instagram (or read/watch/listen to) NOW also highlights a number of Black artists and writers including Destiny Frasqeri AKA Princess Nokia, Nayyirah Waheed, Janet Mock, Girl Gone Golden, and Warsan Shire.
And then these tributes to incredible artists, performers, and songs: A compilation of the best response articles to Formation, written by Black writers, a Love Letter to Junglepussy, and a Love Letter to Erykah Badu.
We also feature art reviews of Donna Kukama’s performance, Chapter C: The Genealogy of Pain, H.O.M.E. A Play by Star Finch, and podcast Another Round.
For tools and ideas on how to become a co-conspirator yourself AND employ white folks as co-conspirators in the fight against anti-blackness and white supremacy, read “Echoing Calls for Co-Conspirators: Death to the Ally,” which builds on a conversation with ideas discussed by Alicia Garza. Two other articles highlighting the importance of and support for non-black people of color challenging anti-blackness in their communities are “Anti-Blackness in Asian-American Communities” and “Brown Complicity or Black Liberation: Responding to Anti-Blackness in Non-Black Latinx Communities.” For white folks and other educators of white children, read “To the Parents and Educators of White Children.”
Articles that absolutely speak to the experiences of Black folks at the intersections of queer and trans identities, and folks who are often de-centered and marginalized from cis-het Black History Month celebrations include “More Mourning or New Trans Mornings?: Reflecting on Consent and Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR),” “The Real Monsters: A Reflection on Healing from the Trauma of Sexual Violence,” “Inconvenient Liberation: A Response to the Trump Ban and Precarious Trans Lives,” “Imagining QTPOC Futures: Responding to Creative Capitalism Under the Trump Regime,” and more.
“Hold Me” speaks to the out-of-legal-status immigrant experience, something that over number Black folks in the United States might relate to.
“An Open Letter to Our Community in the Wake of the Two Most Recent Incidents of Police Violence” and “#Frisco5 #SayHerName #JusticeForJessicaWilliams” are responses to anti-blackness in the form of police violence, which continues to plague the United States today and which we must not forget or stop talking about until the violence ends.
Our Black Lives Matter Gathering offers conversation guides for Black folks and non-black folks to move with and through and from this violence intentionally and in community.
And on SELF LOVE and CARE: “For Whose Comfort?: Reflecting on Stability in Life and Organizing,” speaks to “love that places those bodies most strained by this world at the forefront of people’s concerns.”
We also feature Black artists on each of our playlists including: Playlist: Sun Flow; Playlist: Queer, Black, and Brown; The Self Love Bath: An Affirmation and A Playlist; and Playlist: Self Love Soundtrack to Your Evening Commute.
“How We Could Speak with Our (Queer &or Trans &or non-binary &or Black &or African descent &or Brown &or Indigenous &or Mixed &or Adopted) Children” includes affirmations for all children of marginalized identities, as well as the adults they become.
Speaking of children and identity and how that follows us into adulthood, these contributions to our Mixedness project are by mixed Black writers: "Flagrant (To Sydne)" by Jayme Causey and “When Ice Cream From the Back Of Your Freezer Is Not Enough: Two Simple Recipes For When You’re Too Sad To Cook” by Jakilah Mason.
Finally, staff writer and community outreach coordinator Amal, explains and offers accessible guides for Radical Embodiment in Defining Radical Embodiment, Radical Embodiment 1, and Radical Embodiment 2. As Amal writes, “Our bodies and minds are valuable. Our history and our futures are valuable. Our ancestors and our elders have a vast knowledge of body and spirit care.”
AND, because part of what we do here at Art for Ourselves is uplift and support and champion other writers and publications doing work we love, here is a list of articles we recommend, to celebrate Black folks and history and love throughout the year: