For Castle of our Skins, January and February are usually busy times of year. While we program year round, we often get asked to program around holidays or anniversaries specific to Black holidays and/or culture. With so many arts organizations and schools looking to fill their Black history month and MLK day celebrations with activities, it only makes sense to give us a call. Right?
We of course welcome the opportunity to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on his birthday (Jan. 15, 1929) or the federal holiday that falls on the third Monday each January (the 21st this year). We of course welcome a chance to commemorate the self-appointed birthday of Frederick Douglass (February 14) who, along with Abraham Lincoln (born February 12), were the inspiration behind the 1926 National Negro Week: a week-long tribute which later grew to become the Black History Month celebration we now know. And, being a concert series, we are well aware of National African-American Music Appreciation Month, defined in 2009 by President Barack Obama and held annually during the month of June. (This June, we are excited to celebrate with our “I Am A Man” residency at Hibernian Hall).
History and the people who shape it should be integrated into daily life. Powerful moments in time should be remembered throughout the year. Powerful people and their inspirational teachings and actions should be reflected through our own thoughts and doings. Why relegate tributes to single events, anniversaries or public holidays when it becomes a lost opportunity to keep memory and history alive if not done more frequently? I love big celebrations as much as anyone else, but I also find genuine value in small, daily remembrances and reflections.
So, as a 2019 resolution, I want to challenge our BIBA Blog readers to celebrate culture, history, and the invaluable teachings both have to offer throughout the year. You don’t need a special opportunity to commemorate an achievement, make reference to something politically current or historical, or pay homage to trailblazers. Likewise, you don’t need a special occasion to simply celebrate artistry for the sake of artistry, and program beautiful music by composers of color. Every day is appropriate. Every day is a time for celebration.