February 16




By Leslie Fields-Cruz

Making Black History Too Ubiquitous to Avoid

This new year has already been chock full of historic events:

*Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) became the first woman and first Black and South Asian American sworn in as Vice President of the United States

*Ret. Gen. Lloyd Austin was sworn in as the first Black person to serve as U.S. Secretary of Defense

*Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) and Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands) made history by serving as House impeachment managers for the Senate trial of the first American president to be impeached twice by the House of Representatives.

*Amanda Gorman became the first Youth Poet Laureate to recite her work both at a presidential inauguration AND at the NFL Super Bowl.

*And seven members of the BPM family — Keith McQuirter, Loira Limbal, Melissa Haizlip, Muta'Ali, Nadia Hallgren, Sam Pollard, and Yoruba Richen — the highest number I believe ever, have been nominated for NAACP Image awards.

BPM extends applause and gratitude to each of these trailblazers. Their work and that of others provides evidence that Black folks have always and will continue to make history. I don’t know about you, but even with our current troubles, relative to the difficulties Black people have faced in the past, I think this is an exciting time to be Black. Innovation often springs out of adversity, and based on the cultural boom that’s happening within Black creative communities, it’s clear we’re living through an extraordinarily prolific period. 

Of course, sustained states of acute adversity aren't healthy, so we all need to do what we can to ease the pressure. If you share BPM's commitment to supporting Black media makers, I invite you to participate in our Black Every Month Giveaway and support the films and programs featured on our Black History Month page. All proceeds from the giveaway will benefit the BPM Emergency Relief Fund. The more you support us, the more we can do to ensure Black makers have what they need to continue making our stories ubiquitous.

Tiffany B. Chanel
Tiffany B. Chanel

Those of you who've been eyeing our our amazing Black History Month Giveaway baskets may be pleased to know that we've added another item to each givaway: A new print by visual artist Tiffany B. Chanel. The piece was inspired by Ayana Baraka's VR experience, Greenwood Avenue. Don't miss your opportunity to be the recipient of one of these amazing gift baskets, all featuring products donated by Black entrepreneurs.

Finally, mark your calendar to attend this weekend’s BPM events: 

* On Fri., Feb. 19, BPM Director of Program Initiatives Denise Greene will facilitate a panel discussion about Melissa Haizlip’s film, Mr. Soul! as part of ITVS’ Indie Lens Pop Up Cinema. Go here for details. Mr. Soul! premieres nationally on Independent Lens Tues., Feb. 22. Check local listings for details.

*On Sun., Feb. 21, BPM will co-present the February convening of the African Diaspora Film Club, featuring Yoruba Richen’s film How it Feels to Be Free. Film Club participation is free. Go here for details and to register. 

Hope to see you soon!