Editorial: Black History Month celebration

By The Beacon | February 1, 2017 8:44pm
American actress Octavia Spencer, left, American actress and singer Taraji P. Henson, center, and American musical recording artist, actress, and model Janelle Monáe arrive on the red carpet for the global celebration of the film "Hidden Figures" at the SVA Theatre, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016 in New York. The film is based on the book of the same title, by Margot Lee Shetterly, and chronicles the lives of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson -- African-American women working at NASA as “human computers,” who were critical to the success of John Glenn’s Friendship 7 mission in 1962. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)
Media Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls and NASA/Bill Ingalls / The Beacon

Black History Month is upon us and The Beacon has compiled a short list of books, movies and TV shows, music and events in Portland to help you celebrate. Whether you feel like curling up with a good book, having a Netflix night, going out or getting involved, we have you covered.

To Read:

Whatever you’re doing, stop and push Roxane Gay to the top of your reading list. Her newest collection of short stories entitled “Difficult Women” is a “rare force and beauty, of hardscrabble lives, passionate loves, and quirky and vexed human connection,” according to Goodreads. Gay has also published many other books including the popular essay collection “Bad Feminist.” If you don’t have time to read her work, at least make time to watch her Ted Talk:

Mark Mathabane’s “Kaffir Boy” is a coming-of-age autobiography set in Apartheid South Africa. He writes honestly and courageously of his struggles and perseverance, which eventually paid off when he was awarded a scholarship to an American university. You may need to grab some tissues if you choose this book.

Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives” is Gary Younge’s tribute to the ten young people who were killed by guns on Nov. 23, 2013. In his book, Younge questions gun violence, the National Rifle Association and racial discrimination in America.

If you are looking to become more informed on politics and the history of race in the U.S., we recommend “Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons, and the Racial Divide” by Joy Reid of MSNBC (whom we also recommend you follow on Twitter).

To Watch:

Hidden Figures” is a blockbuster film about three brilliant black female scientists and the integral role they played in getting a man to the moon. This film debuted on Christmas day and is still in theaters after being nominated for several Oscars and winning a SAG award. The movie is based off the book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly.

Moonlight,” which was nominated for eight Oscars, is based off a semi-autobiographical play written by Tarell Alvin McCraney. This film aims to stop the erasure of the black and gay identities, as it follows the trepidations of a young man's coming of age in Southern Florida.

Fences” is the story of a retired baseball player whose regrets about his career leave him with family troubles. This film, which stars Denzel Washington, is based off of August Wilson's award winning play.

Add Netflix documentary “13th” to your queue. Created by the queen soldier for black representation in Hollywood, Ava DuVernay, “13th” takes a deep dive into race and the United States justice system. This piece is eye opening, something everyone with an interest in social justice should watch.

Tune in to Sports Center on Monday, Feb. 6 to see Michael Hill and Jemele Smith start their run as 6 p.m. co-hosts.

If you haven’t started watching “Atlanta,” an FX American comedy series written by Donald Glover, you’re missing out. Glover is a master of all trades, curating award-winning rap and hip hop albums as Childish Gambino, writing for shows like “30 Rock,” starring in the sitcom “Community” and acting in blockbuster movies like the upcoming Spider Man film. His most recent project has already garnered him two Golden Globes. “Atlanta” is truly a work of art, dreamily depicting two cousins in Atlanta’s attempt at launching a music career. In Glover’s own words, “It’s like Twin Peaks with rappers.”

Wednesday nights should be reserved for ABC’s “Blackish”. This American sitcom calls into question the boundaries of cultural assimilation. Written by Kendra Barris and Peter Saji, this hit show is in its third season.

Clear your Thursday nights for the rest of the semester because ABC’s TGIT is back. “Grey's Anatomy,” “How to Get Away with Murder” and “Scandal” are back and Shonda Rhimes is blessing us with weekly binge material and and a totally valid excuse to procrastinate.

To Do:

Reserve the weekend of Feb. 17-23 and head over to The Hollywood Theatrer to see the new documentary “I Am Not Your Negro.” The 95-minute film was directed by Raoul Peck and you can see it for as little as $6 if you buy your tickets in advance. The screening of this film is a part of the Portland Black Film Festival which is not to be confused with The Cascade Festival of African Films which is taking place in Portland from Feb. 3 through March 4.

If music is more your scene, check out the PDX Jazz Festival. The festival will span from Feb. 16 to 26 and will feature shows at various venues throughout the city (and some are free!).

If you are feeling called to get involved, go talk to Bethany Sills, UP’s Assistant Director for Diversity & Multicultural Programming. Join the Black Student Union and get involved today!