IN honour of Black History Month, people in the US will be able to watch African inspired superhero movie Black Panther in cinemas without buying a ticket this February.
The Marvel billion-dollar blockbuster that had Africans in the diaspora and on the continent in a euphoric state of pride a year ago, will be shown for only one week, at 250 AMC theatres in the US. The Oscar-nominated film walked away with a slew of gongs in hand on Sunday night at the Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG) which are seen as the curtain-raiser for the more prestigious Oscars.
Also known as African American History month, the observance to celebrate dates back to 1926 in the US when black historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association of Negro Life and History set the second week of February to be Negro History Week. The dates also corresponded with the birthdays of Fredrick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, who are big figures in US black history. But the month-long observations commenced in 1970.
In the following years, other countries that have also joined the US’ 28 day celebration of black history. It was in 1987 when the United Kingdom first commemorated the month as black history, Canada and the Republic of Ireland joined the movement in 1995 and 2014 respectively.
Like anything under the sun, Black History Month has come under criticism from a number of black American who are of the opinion that the month celebrations are defeating the purpose of having a Black History Month. Black people’s history and contribution to the US is still not in the country’s mainstream education-darkies in the US are still limited to narratives of being slaves and colonial subjects. “I don’t want Black History Month. Black history is American history,” Morgan Freeman once said.