Why We Need to Create our Own Spaces Right Now!

I’m sure we have all at one point or another, been in front of a teacher telling us that we can be whatever we want. Even the President of the United States. As a little black boy, growing up those words appeared to be an empty sentiment. After all, looking at the media in the early 2000’s, anyone who looked like me either dribbled a ball, held a mic, or played a thug on screen. The rest were criminals on the nightly news. Today however, in 2020 POC are becoming more visible, breaking barriers, and redefining the narrative.

Make no mistake, the media still tries to paint us as it always has, as criminals and degenerates. But to counteract that, more and more POC are speaking out and creating our own stories. Today, I wanted to take the time to acknowledge a few of those amazing people. As well encourage those who are hesitant to pursuit their dreams and create platforms for more POC to share their stories. Creating those platforms and spaces are crucial, and as we go on I’ll explain why. But first let’s examine some extraordinary people and see how they impacted the black community and the world at large.

 LeBron James

In 2018 LeBron James opened the I Promise School in Akron, Ohio.  This incredible school offers a quality education for kids that they desperately need. On top of that it also offers essentials such as free school uniforms and school lunches as well as bikes and helmets! It also offer resources to the parents of the children via a GED program and job finding services! It also takes care of the teachers by offering a personal trainer and making sure all classroom supplies are covered.

Obviously, I don’t need to tell you how game changing that is for the people of Akron Ohio and the POC community, but I will anyway because it makes my heart leap with joy to talk about it! Not only has he provided a way for families to become more educated, but he has also created an image of black excellence that will outlive his career as a basketball player. Imagine how many children”s lives he changed? Imagine how they might grow up going to a school they know was built by black excellence, love and support?

If I were to list all the good he has done it would be its own article, thankfully it already is! Please check out this amazing article by Stephen LaConte for more on this amazing school: https://www.buzzfeed.com/stephenlaconte/lebron-james-i-promise-school

Beyoncé

From one megastar to another we have to talk about Beyoncé and her latest work Black is King. Beyoncé has been killing the music and film industries for decades now. And nowhere is that more showcased than with her latest release Black is King. Released on July 31st on Disney+, Black is King is nothing short of a masterpiece. Featuring many African and African American artists, the visual album takes a look at the Black experience and displays it for all triumphs and tribulations. She does this by also utilizing a myriad of black designers to bring her vision to life.

No matter what angle you look at this album from, all that can be seen is pure Black excellence! As a love letter to Black Ancestry and Legacy, it’s easy to see how much care she and many others put into this project to make it something universal and beautiful. On top of giving work to hundreds of POC she also showcased the skills of many talented black creators. She also displayed an authentic black story while including the struggles that many non-black POC go through on a daily basis. This project shows some of the best work ethic of many black creators and will inspire many other aspiring POC to follow suit.

Sukriti Wahi wrote an article the goes far more in depth on the making of Black is King. I highly suggest you check it out and consider watching the visual album on Disney+: https://www.elle.com.au/culture/beyonce-black-is-king-explained-23833

 Kevin Fredericks

Let’s go to someone a little bit more relatable. Kevin Fredericks aka Kevonstage, while not being the level of stardom as those previously mentioned, has also contributed greatly to the POC community. Comedian, writer, influencer, and business man, Kevin Fredericks has built a brand on clean comedy and inclusivity. From listening to his podcast Here’s the Thing with Angel the actress, to his recent success Keep your Distance Comedy, it is apparent that he is all about owning his own content, and putting POC in spaces to create their own stories.

As a long time viewer of his content, I have seen him go from social media, to owning his own studio, to launching his own platform! Over the years he has exposed his ever growing community to many amazing POC creators, as well as putting many in the spotlight. He even started a podcast for his son Jojo! He is a prime example of a black creator who understands the value of building his own table and welcoming others!

I love his content and you should too! I encourage you to check out his podcast in the link below! It’s hilarious and insightful as him and Angel the Actress both share their opinions, insights, and growth: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_VyMH33jngaVysIivLKTlw

Why is this important?

The things that these people have made will affect the lives of thousands if not millions of POC. It helps to change the negative narrative that America has had for us for far too long. It also gives children of color new avenues to see themselves in, which will further change the face of black culture as it moves forward. That is why building our own tables is so important, because it allows us to own our voice, to put up our own stories, to educate our children, and to give them new opportunities!

Conclusion

From crafting a place to give the less fortunate better education, to teaching their children the importance of ownership, these people are prime examples of BLACK EXCELLENCE. They are also a prime example of what happens when you properly use a platform of influence, or creator your own. LeBron James, Beyoncé, and Kevin Fredericks show that with good vision, we can clear a path towards a brighter future.

Things are very different than when I was a kid. There has been an African American president, and POC dominate almost every area from sports to science. There are many POC creators that strive despite the prejudice they face every day to create spaces for others to share their voice. However, we need more! Now more than ever we need to push creators to create their own platforms and put others in positions of influence. Only by building our own tables, and welcoming others can we invite the change necessary to push the narrative forward and give more opportunities for proper representation.

All in all, looking at creators like these fills me with the light of joy, and makes me believe anything is possible. As a young black creator it’s nice to have highly visible creators who have achieved so much. It gives me something to strive for and makes me look toward the future to see what new heights we as a people can achieve! I hope it does the same for you, and I hope this article exposed you some of the great things people who look like you are doing. If so, pay it forward, expose more people to what is possible! You never know, they may be the next to achieve what our ancestors thought was impossible!

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