All month, we’ve been running a program on the Urban Daily called Black History Retold. Through this editorial initiative we’ve had some of our favorite black folk in the world of modern entertainment revisiting some of the most important moments in black history in the areas of politics, poetry, and race theory.
We thought it was important to have Raheem DeVaughn, whose soulful singing is directly descended from the spirituals sung by slaves all across the country kick us off with a reading from the Emancipation Proclamation. We wanted to start there because that document encapsulates our our country’s first major step toward reconciling its original sin.
Then we had Gina Prince Bythewood read Langston Hughes’ wonderful ode to Harlem ‘Jukebox Love Song’. Of the many things Langston Hughes’ poetry explored, from the struggle of blacks in america, to the depths of our artistic strivings, love, be it for a person, place, or thing, was always paramount. Gina Prince Bythewood’s amazing work in films like ‘Love and Basketball’ ‘Disappearing Acts’ and ‘Beyond the Lights’ is in many ways an extension of Langston Hughes exploration of black love.
And finally, legendary southern-rap impresario Bun B of UGK, read one of WEB DuBois’ most famous passages from his groundbreaking masterwork ‘The Souls of Black Folk’. Bun grabbling with the the trappings of a successful rap music career against his belief and connection to a higher power echoed, for a new generation, the duality DuBois pinpointed more than 100 years ago.
Black history is American History. It’s also our history and through its constant retelling, we carry forward the traditions of our ancestors while breaking new ground for generations to come.