From His-tory to Our-Story: An Ode to Black Storytellers
This Black History month, we can’t help but reflect on the stark difference between this and last years’ monthly recognition. As highlighted in our post titled, 2020 the Blackity
Black Blackest year yet and why it's not cancelled!, 2020 has resulted in an empowering year in Blackness; despite its traumatic inception. We also can’t help but notice the (grossly overdue) shift among our community circles and greater society. We’ve noticed it in the abundance of Black businesses being highlighted outside this month, in the slight increase of Black faces on our screens, and, more importantly, the call for an increase in Black hiring practices at our places of employment. We even clocked this all the way up to the historical appointment of the first (of many) Black Vice President’s for our neighbours below. Let’s see this same energy Canada!
There is a shift and we are here monitoring the growing momentum. A momentum we are holding ourselves, a momentum we cannot afford to let diminish.
As we reflect further back (unfortunately not too far back) we know that this societal Black awareness has not been our experience. Our experiences have been the result of perspectives shaped and re-shaped against us. We know too well the magnificent effect of storytelling and this powerful tool has not effectively been in our hands. To be the storyteller is to hold the beginning, middle and end. To establish the hero, to construct the villain. For far too long our story has been controlled and told by another for others. A story that has isolated us, even from ourselves, and disconnected us from our self worth. A story that has been linear in it’s tale, a story that has cornered us into tokenism and one that has diverted our desires to be outside of ourselves. A story that has damaged (is damaging) our Black bodies, our Black souls.
As we shift to tell our own stories, we are thankful for those able to reflect our complexity and wholeness back to us. This month, we want to highlight the important work of the creatives in our midst and in our communities. For too long, our stories have been told from those not privy to our experiences. It has been told to us rather than from us. This disservice has left us on the margins of society where our experiences were only told in exceptions rather than as the norm. Our sole narrative became only those of our enslavement, our struggle, our suffering. And among these single stories, the complexities of our everyday lives, common joys, nuanced challenges and emotional ranges remained invisible. And thus, when they played out in our lives, we were unrecognizable by others and isolated among ourselves- the power of storytelling.
To be the storyteller is to hold the beginning, middle and end.
This month, as we continue to claim our accurate identity, we thank the many storytellers among us that have helped us get here. Storytellers like @crossfieldhouseproductions in theatre, like @aishaevelyna in film, authors like @nadialhohn_author, visionaries like @hungryeyesmediaince in production, and @shawngerrard in direction. We thank them and the many others like them for creating space for us to recognize ourselves. To see our communities as the foundation of our ancestral connection. To see our grandparents as enlightened historians who hold our utmost respect. To see our parents as the loving unit of our supportive families. To see our mothers as ambitious leaders, our dear fathers as caring supporters, our joyful sisters as gentle, our intellectual brothers as vulnerable. To show our aspirations, our determination, our love, and our blackness as beauty. To include our melanin range, our aromatic cuisine, our textured hair, our innate creativity.
Thank you to storytellers who create narratives through the informed lens of our regal origins and propel our truth into the potential of our hope filled tomorrow.
Happy Black Futures Month - for we are the past, present and future.
-Your ASC Connect