Well, I'm starting to feel better, so here are the new Things To Do For Black History Month posts.
Things To Do For Black History Month Day 19: Read Some African-American Poetry
From the works of early poets such as Lucy Terry (whose poem "Bars Fight" is the earliest known piece of literature written by an African-American) and Phyllis Wheatley to works by modern poets like Saul Williams, there is a long and rich history of poetry by African-Americans. Here is a list of poets I think are very good (in some cases with the poems they are famous for):
- James Weldon Johnson: "Lift Ev'ry Voice And Sing," "The Creation"
- Paul Laurence Dunbar
- Claude McKay
- Langston Hughes: "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," "Harlem" (the poem that begins "What happens to a dream deferred?")
- Countee Cullen
- Gwendolyn Brooks
- Amiri Baraka
- Sonia Sanchez
- Nikki Giovanni
- Maya Angelou : "Still I Rise"
Things To Do For Black History Month Day 20: Watch A Black Sketch Comedy/Variety Show
If you think that Chappelle's Show was the first show of its kind, then you need to do your homework. Other black sketch comedy and variety shows paved the way for people like Dave Chappelle to do what he does so well. There were shows like The Flip Wilson Show (seen on TV Land) and The Richard Pryor Show (available on DVD). The Richard Pryor Show is notorious for only getting five episodes after NBC and Pryor argued over content. The "Back To Africa" sketch is almost worth buying the DVD alone. Then, there is the more contemporary In Living Color (available on DVD). This is the show that introduced the world to the Wayans family including creator Keenen Ivory Wayans, brothers Damon (a comedian and former SNL member), Marlon, and Shawn (the DJ SW-1) and sister Kim. It's also the show that started the careers of Jamie Foxx, Jim Carrey, Tommy Davidson, David Alan Grier and Kim Coles among others. With a new season of Chappelle's Show set to start in a month or two, take a chance and check out the shows that came before.
Things To Do For Black History Month Day 21: Look For Black History Month Programs on TV
I really should have done this one earlier, but it's not too late to see any of the Black History Month programming on TV. I won't even begin to name any programs in particular, as there are tons of programs from cable networks to PBS and local shows. However, even as only one week remains in the month, there is still plenty of programming that will be shown or repeated. Take some time and check out something that seems interesting to you.