Show some intentional honor and appreciation for those who are part of the black community by celebrating this important day: Black Love Day! Those who are black can certainly enjoy the elements of this day to foster love within their community. And it can also be a great opportunity to tear down walls and build bridges between black people and those from other backgrounds.
History of Black Love Day
Founded in 1993, the root of the spiritual holiday is connected with the honor and celebration of all things related to African and black cultures. Black Love Day was founded by Ayo Handy-Kendi, who was the creator of the African American Holiday Association. Handy-Kendi came up with the inspiration for the day after watching a movie where a black man was murdered by some other black people.
Scheduled for the day ahead of Valentine’s Day, this day offers an opportunity to set some time aside to promote peace and stop violence, not only between black people but throughout the human race.
The aim of Black Love Day has five different spiritual tenets (or loving acts), which include practicing love toward “the Creator, the Self, the Family, within the Black Community, and for the Black Race”. On this day, people are encouraged to perform simple activities that will help to celebrate, atone, and offer forgiveness to self and others.
In celebration of Black Love Day, the African American Holiday Association (AAHA) encourages people to participate in activities that celebrate the black community, including supporting black owned businesses, reflecting on the plight of black people, and working toward building peace within the black community and also throughout the world.
Each year, the organizers of this day encourage participants to celebrate with a special theme that embraces the essence of the day. Past themes have included “Reparations 2 Repair 2 Reconcile 2 Restore 2 the LOVE”, or “Healing the Wounds that Divide”.
Black Love Day brings with it a huge range of opportunity that allows people of all races, ages, and backgrounds to show appreciation for and celebrate the history and spiritual roots as well as the current expressions of black culture!
How to Celebrate Black Love Day
Enjoy getting involved and participating in Black Love Day with a wide range of different activities and plans, like some of these:
Embrace the Akoma Symbol
One of the traditional African symbols that can be displayed in honor of Black Love Day is the Akoma, which is representative of love, patience, faithfulness, goodwill and endurance. The symbol has a background that comes from Ghanaian culture, and looks like four hearts that are linked together. In addition to the symbol, the greeting “Nya Akoma” can also be used, which has a meaning that translates to “have a heart and be patient”.
Watch Some Films by Black Directors
For many people, Black Love Day may include supporting people in the black community who have created pieces of art, music or films. This type of expression is an important way that people use their artistic abilities to reveal things about and engage with their culture. In honor of this day, perhaps it would be fun to consider watching some films that have black directors behind them.
Get started with one, or a few, of these:
- 12 Years a Slave (2013). This film, directed by Steve McQueen, is a biographical drama based on a 1850s slave memoir telling the story of a free black man who gets caught up in slavery.
- Selma (2014). This historical drama film is based on the Selma to Montgomery march to support equal rights. Ava DuVernay is the director.
- Malcolm X (1992). Spike Lee brings his spin to this biographical story about the legendary African American leader, played by Denzel Washington.
- I Am Not Your Negro (2016). This German-American film is a documentary and social critique based on James Baldwin’s unfinished novel, directed by Raoul Peck.
Support Black Owned Businesses
No matter what color a person’s skin is, the celebration of Black Love Day can be made by showing support for and engaging with various black-owned businesses that are established throughout the local community. Those who live in a community where there is less access to (or simply less awareness of) these businesses might want to hop online and do a quick search to see if some pop up in the local area. Or, make an order from a black-owned business that may not be local but offers their products and services through the internet.
Attend the Black Love Virtual Summit
The African American Holiday Association (AAHA) hosts an annual event that encourages people to get more involved with Black Love Day by registering for and attending an online event. The website also offers a number of different resources that bring special opportunities for those who are celebrating the day by hosting various events.