Black History Month

A look at the issues facing the Black community and celebrating Black culture during the month of February.

John Dean's streetwear brand, Renowned, is a celebration of Black heroes and Black culture

The young designer tells In The Know about his journey, from launching a brand in 10th grade to zoom calls with Angela Davis
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    Mock slave auctions, racist lessons: How US history class often traumatizes, dehumanizes Black students

    Each year, particularly in February, racist classroom activities about slavery draw national outrage. Experts say its part of a systemic problem.

  • HuffPost

    Ultra Naté's New Song Calls For Unity Between Black Trans, Cisgender Women

    On "Fierce," the dance-pop singer teams up with Mila Jam and Angelica Ross to encourage listeners to “be legendary, be necessary [and] extraordinary.”

  • CBC

    These sisters started a publishing house to launch a novel featuring a Black Muslim teen

    When Aisha Yusuf finished writing her book about a Black Muslim teen who moves to a new town and grapples with racism and isolation, she couldn't find a publishing company that would publish it. So she and her three sisters launched their own. "To this day, I still have never seen a Black Muslim girl on a front cover of a [young adult] novel," Aisha said. "And in 2021, it's unacceptable, it's very unacceptable to not have that kind of diversity in the publishing industry." Aisha, 23, and her sisters Samia, Maymuuna, and Juweria started Abāyo House to publish Aisha's first book, Race to the Finish Line. The four Edmonton sisters with Somali roots are hoping the publishing house will turn into a beacon of belonging for other Black Muslim girls. Race to the Finish Line is about Aaleyah, a 17-year-old girl who moves to a small town in the U.S. and teams up with her friends to discover the truth about a dark secret that threatens her and her family. The mystery novel is set to launch on March 12, the first of several books the sisters have in the works. The cover features a Black Muslim teenager face-to-face with a person wearing what appears to be a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe, holding a torch near her face. "Some people would say that it's very shocking, but I feel like what's even more shocking is how the book just actually reflects what's been happening in our city," Aisha said, a day after protesters, some carrying tiki torches, marched to the Alberta Legislature as part of an anti-restrictions rally on Feb. 20. The rally, dubbed the Alberta Freedom Convoy, coupled with a spate of recent attacks on Black Muslim women in Edmonton, underscores the need for more representation in media and literature, the sisters said. "For us, a huge part of why we started Abāyo House, why she wrote her book, even the books that we have in the works that are yet to be revealed — goes back to, 'We will not be intimidated,' " Maymuuna said. "We will not be silenced. We have a voice and we will tell those stories." The sisters all have writing and communications backgrounds. However, their publishing house was started out of necessity, not passion. The siblings struggled to find stories in mainstream presses that reflected their experiences. The Yusuf sisters hope their publishing imprint will also provide a platform for other Black Muslim women to tell their stories. 'The next Harry Potter' "Hopefully through us and through other mediums … students and kids of all different colours and adults can just see themselves as being the next Harry Potter, you know, just seeing themselves as being the next superhero," Maymuuna said. Race to the Finish Line will be sold at Abāyo House online, and at the Glass Bookshop. For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here. (CBC)

  • CBC

    'It's no longer a dream': New initiative aims to boost Black engagement in politics

    Northern and western Canada has a new organization advocating for Black involvement in federal politics. The newly formed Black Voters Matter Canada has partnered with the federal parties and Black-led organizations to host workshops about running for federal office as a Black person. Ambe Chenemu, president of BACupNorth, says this is also a chance to help Black northerners create the change they want to see in the government by being an active participant on the inside. "I feel that this is the opportunity for us to start to educate our community on what it means to really get involved and that it is possible. It's no longer a dream," Chenemu said. "It is something that can be a reality and it's definitely one of the mandates of our Black advocacy to empower northerners to reach their full potential and aspirations in terms of being involved." The event election series will feature a Black parliament member, federal candidate or campaign organizer from the Liberal, Green, Conservative, and NDP to talk about their personal experience running a campaign as well as how to successfully be nominated as a federal candidate. The final talk is scheduled to be a panel discussion about Black women in politics. The hope is to encourage more Black people in western and northern Canada to run for office. It will also give the participants a chance to connect and network with others interested in politics. "I think that people are doing a lot of things on their own and sometimes it's just much, much [more] helpful when … there's a community behind you that is open to support you and guide you along this process," said Chenemu. The Zoom session will be held on weekends throughout March. Those wanting to participate can sign up on the group's event page. For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here. (CBC)

  • The Canadian Press

    'Racism is a real problem:' Growing number of attacks against Black Muslim women

    EDMONTON — Five Black Muslim women, all Somali-Canadians wearing hijabs, have been attacked or threatened in Edmonton in the last 10 weeks. The city's Al-Rashid Mosque began offering Muslim women self-defence lessons following the attacks. The classes are full. Trent Daley is a member of Edmonton's Anti-Racism Advisory Committee. He says someone approaches him or his network on a weekly basis about an assault. Most victims are Black and Muslim women. "There's been a notable marked increase (in assaults) following the pandemic. It's so pervasive right now," Daley says. "It's full of racial epithets, full of disgusting language targeting them based off the scarf that they wear and the identity they presumed that this person has. It's dehumanizing." Calgary police say they received 80 hate crime complaints between January and November 2020. Cheryl Voordenhout with the Edmonton Police Service says it received 60 reports of hate crimes last year. So far in 2021, three of seven hate-crime related investigations have involved Somali-Muslim women. On Dec. 8, a mother and daughter were violently attacked in the Southgate mall parking lot. A week later, near the same mall, another woman was subject to racial slurs as someone tried to hit her head with a shopping bag. In February, a man made racial comments and became aggressive toward a woman at the University of Alberta transit centre. The same day, a man came up behind a woman walking in a popular neighbourhood, pushed her to the ground and made threats to kill her and tear off her burqa. The latest attack happened Feb. 17. The National Council of Canadian Muslims said a man approached a Black Muslim woman wearing a hijab at the Century Park transit station, swore at her and threatened to kill her. Political leaders, including Premier Jason Kenney, have spoken out against the attacks. But the CEO of the national Muslims council says condemnation is not enough and government leaders at the local and provincial level need to take action. "Anti-Black racism is a real problem in Alberta," says Mustafa Farooq. "Black-Muslim women tend to face greater challenges than almost anyone else, because racism and gendered Islamophobia are real problems. "We can look, for example, at street harassment bylaws. We can look at ways in which anti-racism initiatives are being funded. We can look at hate crime units and their advocacy in dealing with these challenges." "So much can be done immediately, but it's not happening." Daley added that recent rallies and marches in Edmonton and Calgary in opposition to COVID-19 measures are examples of how the pandemic has exacerbated racism in Alberta. Some participants were seen carrying tiki torches, which many say are a symbol used by white supremacists. Edmonton police Chief Dale McFee said the police service is doubling down in its effort to work with the Somali community to address racially motivated assaults. "We've got to listen to what they need and then we've got to figure out how we can ... actually get some of the changes that they need," he said at a news conference Tuesday. McFee also alluded to the suspects in the assaults possibly having mental-health issues. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021 ___ This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press Note to readers: This story has been edited. An interview subject was removed from the original version because of concerns raised about her safety.

  • Yahoo Sports

    Texas boosters, Greg McDermott and others in college sports are telling us who they are. I hope Black student-athletes listen

    A couple boosters said if Black student-athletes don't like the Longhorns' controversial school song, they can go elsewhere. Take their advice.

  • Yahoo Sports Canada

    More genuine steps needed, but NHL finally making progress with diversity efforts

    The NHL has come a long way since J.T. Brown raised his fist in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick four years ago, but that doesn't mask the league's shortcomings when it comes to diversity and inclusion.

  • CBC

    Two young Edmontonians start project to give insight into the unique Black experience

    After massive Black Lives Matter protests across the world last year, 23-year-old Clarisse Bosco and 25-year-old Gallican Buki were feeling hopeful. They saw so many people sharing resources, research and initiatives. But soon after, they both felt that support die down. Their social media feeds went back to how they had been before. "I kind of felt like my skin was a trend for two weeks, not really something to be taken seriously," Bosco said. They set out to change that with their new project: Living With Black Skin, which they rolled out over Black History Month. They wanted to showcase the unique lives of other young, Black people like themselves. Bosco came up with the idea. Buki shot the photos and videos that went along with it. The editing and packaging was a collaborative process. The project rolled out with videos, photos and quote cards on both of their Instagram accounts. For Buki, the project was an outlet for his passion for photography, but also a way of sharing Black history and knowledge through channels he knows people will watch. "As a Black person, you're not always represented fairly when it comes to the arts, but also just when you're being edited, you're blown out, you are just insanely contrasted, or sometimes people just don't want to put the work in and will just put you black and white," he said. For Bosco, interviewing her friends and peers was a solid reminder that she's not alone out there. "As Black people, we kind of forget to check on each other," Bosco said. She said some of their close friends are among the people they interviewed for the project. "We can go and talk to them about anything," she said. "But we never really talk about things like the struggle that we have as Black people. We don't talk about the struggles, you know, within the community and just keep our head to ourselves and keep pushing." Response to Living With Black Skin has been overwhelming, according to the pair behind it. Teachers have approached them to ask if they can use the material in classes. "[We've had] friends that we know that we may have grown up with or have lost touch with reach out and say how appreciative they are of the videos and how much they've learned," Bosco said. The goal was always to spark conversation, and to keep authentic representation of Black lives at the front, something Buki said the project did really well. "To see that [these conversations are] truly happening within various homes and also to just hear stories about how like this has definitely opened their eyes into seeing how that this is still happening right now: the micro-aggressions, the systemic racism and just, the hate towards Black people," he said. "Because sometimes when you put statistics out there or stories or even newsletters, people are like, 'Hey, this is of the past. Why are you still bringing up the past?' But no, honestly, the support and the love and just the conversations that came out of that was just amazing." The pair are considering continuing the project in some way, but haven't settled on anything concrete. In the meantime, it's their hope that the conversation doesn't just fade away now that Black History Month is over. "These stories and these things that we live don't get to just end after a certain month or end after a certain trend," Bosco said. "There's things that we still live with today and still carry forward. And if we stop talking about it, we stop making room for growth and for change." (CBC) For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

  • People

    Emmanuel Acho on Hosting The Bachelor ’s After the Final Rose Special: ‘This Is Huge’

    The Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man author will take over for Chris Harrison on After the Final Rose

  • People

    Mattel Reveals New Eleanor Roosevelt Barbie Doll Ahead of International Women's Day

    The doll of the former first lady is the latest in Barbie's Inspiring Women series