Concerning #blackhistorymonth2018 programming this year.
When people ask me, and there have been a great many lately, the following: "Out of curiosity, why the emphasis on Black History Month this year?"
"You mean, from a cisgendered, gay white man?"
Setting aside that Black History is American History, and yes, that is a lot to set aside, my reply.
"As an openly gay man born in the late 1960's, I would not have had the opportunity to be who I am without Black people in this country. Every single major civil rights movement in this country owes an amazing and unpayable debt to the sacrifices, the struggles and the hardships that Black people had to endure first. That includes women's rights, LGBTQ rights, Native American rights, etc.
This is just little old me, with a website, a great deal of pre-recorded material and a whole lot of gratitude to tell others that whether they realize it or not, this is important in ways that impact us as other members of dispossessed communities and to say, in my own way, thank you, I am listening and I hope in some way I have made you proud in the same way that you have given me not just pride, but purpose and a voice."
28 shows in 28 days in February. I may fall flat on my face and screw it up completely, but know that the intent is nothing but honorable.
#blacklivesmatter in ways you can't even imagine. Pictured: Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to Congress, who's motto was "Unbought and Unbossed".
Love to you all.
Ben "Bear" Brown Jr.
Photo credits: Shirley Chisholm in Washington on June 24, 1972, before the panel drafting the platform for the Democratic National Convention. (AP / James Palmer)