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Appreciating Black History Month through the Arts: A Review
By: Morgan Sauer
The Greenspring Review held a creative digital campaign highlighting various forms of art for Black History Month, 2021. The event was engaging and interactive with followers as it asked for recommendations on music, films, and books.
The campaign started by engaging followers to respond with must-see Black music and artists. There were various responses such as “PJ Morton, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Alicia Keys, Aaliyah, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, SWV, Ari Lennox, H.E.R. 6lack, TLC ” (Instagram handle: @writemeback_) and “Lauryn Hill, Lecrae, Maxwell, John Legend, Toni Braxton, dvsn, Daniel Caesar, Kendrick Lamar, Luther Vandross, Lucky Daye, Koffee, Jesse Powell” (Instagram handle: @0riginal_forever1). In addition to artists, the GSR later asked their audience about must-watch movies featuring Black directors and actors. After each post, the GSR would open up comments on Instagram’s stories to have their followers be able to interact and recommend their favorite black artists’ music and movies. The next set of recommendations was for books. The GSR asked followers to recommend some of their favorite black authors and writers.
The outcome was a success. As I was scrolling through my Instagram stories, I got to see a bunch of new artists and hear of films that I have never even heard of before. I listened to the artist Koffee, a Jamaican reggae singer, because she was highly recommended. I also had the chance to travel to Jamaica in the past and fell in love with the people and culture. Koffee’s music took me back to reminiscing and appreciating the Jamaican culture. One movie recommendation that made me absolutely cry in broken heartedness was “Just Mercy” that features the true story of Bryan Stevenson and fighting systematic racism. The actors including Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, and Rob Morgan were not only incredibly talented, but made me feel something as a viewer that made me change my outlook on this country. As for books, there was a book recommended “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou. I remember reading just excerpts from this autobiography when I was younger because it is a heavy piece of literature. It discusses topics such as racism, assault, and sexuality and I am interested in reading it fully now that I am more mature and able to educate myself more on heavy topics.
This interactive campaign held by the GSR has helped not only me, as a white Caucasian, but everyone else who viewed the stories to expand their knowledge and interests into the talent of Black artists. The GSR took an important month to celebrate the success of African Americans from all eras and times by featuring them and sharing them with the Stevenson community.