Thanks to Testament for these powerful words helping us reflect on Black History Month, tokenism, faith and racial justice.
This is the first installment of an exciting collaboration with writer and artist Testament. We can’t wait to see where this goes next!
Black History Has Ended
Black History Month ends.
Has Black History ended?
Time for a bit of prayer and reflection.
The end of posters printed in haste
with a Black figure in frame
who’s well respected,
for people to ignore on their lunch breaks,
yawning about diversity,
inclusion and corporate awareness.
Black History, that’s for them lot,
the Black people over there, yeah?
In fairness, most agree
how good Martin Luther King is,
but don’t talk about his faith,
or what he overcame,
or what the poor people’s campaign was,
and what he wanted to say.
This so called Christian country
ignoring the fact that
some of the world’s earliest churches were Black.
Ethiopian churches carved into rock.
Africa, a Holy Land.
Some people think perhaps
it’s bad taste to talk about slaves,
in particular how they relate to the UK.
Don’t mention police brutality
or the Stephen Lawrence case.
This month let’s just choose a Black pop star
and have a party, okay?
Put Black History in big letters
on the social media page,
but please oh please let’s not talk about race.
History ain’t far away, locked in books.
History, Black History is everywhere you look.
The reason so many banks
built their name on that trade.
The reason the Church of England
prayed for forgiveness for
complicity with that same trade.
If you know your history,
a spoonful of sugar
can come with a bitter taste.
The way those lines
were drawn on maps
is still why wars are waged.
Post racial depression,
why Black women are still more likely
to die in childbirth today.
And in Leeds,
still many don’t know the name
and why his name is a bridge
so we can move over hate.
Because if you don’t learn real history
and how we’re all interconnected with it,
we all live in ignorance.
And now more than ever,
billions are in danger
because of the colour of their skin.
And still, some people think racism
just means saying some bad words,
and then wonder why racial discrimination
stats for Black people have gone backwards.
If we are made in His image
and His love is forever eternal,
then only one month for some of his children
And if I can’t say everything I want
in this short video clicked on by someone,
then how are they going to fit all Black History
into one month?
The myriad of cultures,
the victories, the pioneers,
Instead, a token gesture,
a token effort.
Most know if you put a token in the machine,
you’re not gonna get something precious.
I’ll be your token Black guy.
In fact, I’m mixed race,
light skinned, so you can more accept it.
I’ll be your mixed race token guy.
Trying not to be offensive.
So, Black History Month ends,
so we can start to make Black History
an everyday event.
Black History Month, cool.
Now let’s look at the Black Present.