You’re probably sick of all the MLK talk today–the tweets, the Facebook updates, the quotes–you’re probably thinking, dude every other day of the year, us Iroonis are so racist. (Don’t even try to deny those ridiculous comments your parents make)!
But we’re here to say, the new generation of Iranians are not racist. In fact, we’re in awe of black people. The awesomeness they’ve achieved in such a short time, especially given the obstacles they’ve had in their way. And no, we’re not talking about Kanye or Kobe— the music industry and the b-ball court isn’t the only place where they run sh!T.
Here’s our favorite influential people of African descent (we try to say PC– sometimes).
“I think what motivates people is not great hate, but great love for other people”
Dr. King, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, the Little Rock Nine– we’ve heard all about these famous activists and there are even picture books about them.
Huey Newton was a different sort of activist, controversial and impossible to silence. A native of Oakland, he taught himself how to read after he graduated high school– he went on to get his PhD in Social Philosophy. Along with Bobby Seale, he co-founded the infamous Black Panther Party for Self Defense in 1966.
Sure, Dr. Huey Newton was jailed, tried, jailed again–(repeat) but it is hard to deny the mark that Huey, and his work, has left on the world of civil rights and urban activism.
“give light and people will find their way”
Sometimes people forget about women in the Civil Rights movement. But Ella Baker, was a true leader. She preferred working behind-the-scenes insisting that “strong people don’t need leaders”; and this had lasting effects because after MLK was assassinated, the Civil Rights Movement didn’t die. (“Martin didn’t make the movement, the Movement made Martin”)
Ella lent her voice to countless movements, beyond just civil rights, and we know if she were alive today– she’d help Iran out– FOR SURE. You’re a real woman, Ms. Baker!
Most of us grew up watching The Cosby Show, which turned out to be the highest ranking sitcom OF ALL TIME– at a time where racism still played a dominant role in people’s perceptions of African Americans. The Cosby Show broke stereotypes, it taught us (without us even realizing it) acceptance and compassion.
But Bill Cosby wasn’t just known for his hit sitcom. He held a doctorate in education and encouraged African Americans to excel in more than just sports, fashion, and “acting hard.”
Bill Cosby played an integral role in our lives encouraging US to be more educated. He was also the most Persian Dad on TV for a while.
Ruby Dee may have been before our time, but she played a significant role in defining the movement of African American culture. She was the first African American woman to ever play lead roles at the American Shakespeare Festival. She’s known for roles in A Raisin in the Sun and American Gangster.
But of course… that’s not all.
Not only, was Ruby Dee a breast cancer survivor for over 30 years, but she was one of the many who supported MLK by marching alongside her peers in MLK’s march on Washington in 1963. In 1970, she won the Federick Douglass Award for leadership toward equal opportunity.
Ruby Dee: a strong woman. An inspiration.
John Legend– DAMN. Smooth voice. Beautiful music. Well Educated. He just makes us want to Get Lifted. There really is not much else to say here, other than– John Legend makes us believe there is some hope left in the entertainment industry, beyond Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber.
You just have to listen to the above song. Soulful. It really makes you want to turn back time to the 60s, and march with Dr. King, doesnt it? Or at least, really makes you wish you were black.
“Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink and be in love”
Without Langston Hughes, there would be no Tupac, no Public Enemy, and definitely no Jay-Z. If you were lucky enough to read his poetry in school (and didn’t snooze), you already know how bomb Langston is, if not– pick up his Montage of a Dream Deferred and bask in its genius.
Langston was hiphop before it even existed.
Now you might enjoy Aunt Jemima Waffles from your local grocery store, but Betye Saar’s work on stereotyped black figures (Aunt Jemima, Uncle Tom etc) is PHENOMENAL.
GOOGLE for more please.
Did you really think we’d forget one of the most powerful men on the PLANET?! WHO IS BLACK!?
With infinite amounts of swag and critics, President Obama is definitely the culmination of centuries of activism. Say what you want about his policies and his views, but there is no denying that Barack Hussein Obama is a fuckin’ champion, a big EFF YOU to the KKK, and white supremacists out there.
And for that, even that alone, we love him.