Well y’all, we may have reached the end of the Blackity-Blackest month of the year.
Our Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok feeds were awash with Black history – and, oddly, facts about my favorite Black sitcoms. We sat through webinars honoring the movement workers of today and yesterday. Our children learned about our Black heroes and sheroes as we peel back the pages of children’s books.
But we are more than just the blood and tears we shed as we continue to push towards progress. We are allowed to just be and breathe. It was the heaviness of last year that inspired Valese Jones, a Birmingham, Ala., native, freelance publicist and owner of the Queendom Beauty Bar LLC in Dallas, to ask on Twitter: “In honor of the first day of Black history month, name one thing you absolutely love about being Black that has nothing to do with strength, survival or resilience.”
Hundreds of people responded, including Gabrielle Perry, a Louisiana woman featured in Reckon’s series “Young, Southern and Black” for creating a scholarship for formerly incarcerated women.
— Buffy Summers (@NotGeauxGabby) February 1, 2021
So I asked the same question to our audience. Here are some of their answers:
“Black humor is unmatched. It is literally the best thing. One of my coworkers is hands down the funniest people I know. The way he tells stories can keep me laughing for hours.” – JoSandra McClain
“Our individuality, uniqueness and versatility.” – Tiffany Elliott
Jones is an entrepreneur who, along with another Birminghamian, Bridgette Jones, is introducing everyone to the melanin magic within the Queendom Beauty Box, which is a subscription box pack with Black women-owned beauty brands. While the boxes goes on sale tonight, the path to success is hard to build when Black women don’t get the capital l they need to finance their businesses.
But Valese’s support system always shows out, making sure she’s still getting it. She shared with me a picture of friends and family laughing it up at Candytopia in Dallas while she was going through a tough year when she was 26.
“I love our ability to make a celebration out of anything,” Valese said. “The traditions we’ve created and share throughout the diaspora are unmatched.”
The showstopping magic of Rummorah Campbell
We have to turn up the tempo for this one.
Whenever drag queen Rummorah Lee Kreation, a.k.a. Rummorah Campbell, blesses you with her presence on stage at the Quest Club in Birmingham, Ala., you’re in for some slayage. Not only is she the LGBTQ+ club’s show director, she’s a show all by herself!
I will never forget the night I watched her dance while doing a headstand on one of the bar’s tables. But Rummorah’s showstopping talent and energetic performances are to be expected out of someone who has been polishing their moves since they started dancing to Michael Jackson at the age of four.
But Rummorah’s talent stretches far beyond the stage. Her cosplays stay on point, too. And we’re not talking about some cloth stitch together. These high-quality threads are sure to entertain you and your inner child.
So I reached out to Rummorah to tell us about some of her favorite cosplays and her connection to the characters that give her so much joy.
“Rita Repulsa from ‘Power Rangers’ has always been an icon to me. I love her silly, wicked ways and the fact that she is a moon witch. Very few people cosplay her cause of the challenges of the costume and that is what inspired me.”
Jessie from Team Rocket
“Jessie is also silly and a bad girl, but yet very cute and preppy. I became a “Pokémon” fan back when the (Pokémon Red and Blue) video game came out and the tv series. She’s so edgy and I tend to love the bad edgy girls.”
Scary Spice from Spice Girls
“A very edgy girl on the bad good side of things. Spice Girls made some good bops back in the day and plus, she is the only Black girl in the group, but played major parts of the songs and music. So I related to her and her persona fits me well! Girl Power!”
Mobile natives sits in director’s chair
I don’t know if y’all are noticing, but Black Alabama actors are coming for all wins.
Tuscaloosa, Ala., native Bradley Constant ushers in humor into our homes as he plays the 15-year-old version of pro wrestling legend and movie star Dwayne Johnson in NBC’s “Young Rock.” Madalen Mills, who also started her acting career in Tuscaloosa, gifted us with so much wonder and joy over the holiday season in Netflix’s “Jingle Jangle.” Although she is a child, her character, Journey, was a whole affirmation for me.
And then there is Mobile, Ala., native Cierra Glaude, whose rise from budding film maker to the director’s chair of one of Oprah Winfrey Network’s most popular shows was detailed in this Associated Press article. The director of three episodes of Ava DuVernay’s series “Queen Sugar,” is also queen of the hustle. Glaude dropped out of her schooling to snatch her dream job.
Since 2016, she has had her hands in multiple big-name projects since 2016 from “Selma” to “A Wrinkle in Time.” She’s even showing off her talent in music industry. She directed the music video for “High Rises” by Grammy-nominated rapper Chika.
“All three of us — the director, the DP (director of photography) and the talent — we were all queer Black women from Alabama. That was really dope,” Glaude said.
My heart swells with joy with Glaude. She was one of first stories back when Black Magic Project was in its infancy. In that story, she said these words: “Ava (DuVernay) told someone on set once, ‘This is my friend Cierra, she’s a director.’ If she can be able to call me a director, I sure better be able to say it.”
Applause. Applause. Applause for you, Glaude.
And Applause for you as well for releasing your own black magic everyday in both big and small ways. Until next week.
How are you celebrating your Black Joy? Send me an email at [email protected] and share your happiness and laughter with us! Also, take a minute to check out and join the Black Magic Project’s Facebook page where we celebrate and discuss Black culture and community.