With today being the first of Black History Month 2021, some of our CultureSource staff members share their plans for exploring new opportunities to experience Black culture.
I am looking forward to the Undefeated series presented by the City of Detroit’s Office of Arts, Culture, and Entrepreneurship, which will include literature, dance and other fine and cultural arts programs. I applaud the vision of Rochelle Riley in launching this as a year-long series of presentations, continuing past Black History Month and giving all of us abundant opportunity to experience creative excellence of, by, and for our city! Seeing and learning more about Detroit's artists and culture makers is always a source of joy and pride for me.
The first event is Monday, February 1, 7pm EST, featuring mayor Mike Duggan interviewing Detroit native and New York Times best-selling author Alice Randall about her novel, Black Bottom Saints.
Black culture is so rich, and during my search of Black History Month events, I found many opportunities for everyone to experience, learn and grow, this month and beyond. As a music lover, I’m planning to tune in to NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concert series. I also purchased several books I’m looking forward to reading throughout the year—Across That Bridge, John Lewis; The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin; A Promised Land, Barack Obama; White Rage, The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide, Carol Anderson.
Please let me know if you’re enjoying any of these tiny concerts or good reads—I’d enjoy comparing notes: [email protected].
The late-January evening that I learned that Cicely Tyson had passed away, I texted a friend to commiserate and plan a socially-distanced backyard firepit celebration of life. Her response was that we should read Ms. Tyson’s new memoir…and in between our subsequent text bursts, I placed an order with my local bookseller for two copies of Just As I Am. We’re planning for a slow month-long reading and reflection—not because of Black History Month, but the overlap will make this annual focus on Black excellence even richer.
“Just As I Am is my truth. It is me, plain and unvarnished, with the glitter and garland set aside. In these pages, I am indeed Cicely, the actress who has been blessed to grace the stage and screen for six decades. Yet I am also the church girl who once rarely spoke a word. I am the teenager who sought solace in the verses of the old hymn for which this book is named. I am a daughter and mother, a sister, and a friend. I am an observer of human nature and the dreamer of audacious dreams. I am a woman who has hurt as immeasurably as I have loved, a child of God divinely guided by His hand. And here in my ninth decade, I am a woman who, at long last, has something meaningful to say.”- Cicely Tyson