Tony Wafford (Courtesy photo)

As we head into Black History Month, as Black people, let’s make February our beginning of the New Year.  I know for some of you this might sound crazy and for others, a little scary.  Crazy to those that don’t think for themselves and allow the calendar and the dominant society (i.e. White people) to dictate and determine what you celebrate, who you celebrate, when you celebrate and how you celebrate.

What I’m asking of some and suggesting to others is that we use February as a new beginning of thinking for ourselves, understanding ourselves (and America), leaning on and learning from our culture, and throughout the year, not to allow America’s fear (White fear) to be our Black reality.

This year is going to be one of the craziest in American history.  We’re going to see White-on-White crime non-stop, White folks savaging each other from “can’t see in the morning to can’t see at night” on every media platform known to man.

If we are not careful, we will find ourselves getting caught up in American madness and find yourself wearing an American flag, pin on your lapel while at the same time not knowing all the words to “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

Isn’t it interesting at best and crazy at its worst that White folks who hate Trump and know this guy is insane are saying that if he, Trump, were the Republican nominee, that they would vote for him even given the fact that he wants total immunity from all crimes that he may have and will commit.  I don’t know about you, but for me that’s saying ,“I’m White first even if it’s wrong.”

No, Mr. Negro, and to all my good Christian readers, I’m not suggesting that if they do wrong, we should do wrong.  I’m a man of faith and my faith teaches me, Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways,” (Proverbs 3:31) so let’s not be like him.

I’m also a Black man – remember my article, “I was Melanin Before I was American” and being Black first, I also hear the voice of el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz Malcolm X saying, “I’m willing to do the same thing for my people that you do for yours, I’m just gonna do more of it.”  That’s thinking for yourself!

Starting in February, let’s work on recapturing what makes us so great as a people and what distinguishes us from other cultures.  Let’s start with our music.  Let’s not dance, sing, or party to any song that disrespects our women or our people; regardless of how much we like the beat or the artist.

Let’s recapture our standards as a people.  You do know that there was a time when we took pride in our appearance.  I remember a time when I would leave the house, my Mom would say to me, “Don’t you go out there in them streets embarrassing me!”  That meant the way I looked, dressed, and acted around my friends as well as others in my neighborhood.  You noticed I said, “neighborhood” and not “the hood.” I grew up in a neighborhood, not a hood!

Let’s use February as our month to start acting like adults and not be afraid of having a standard that we refuse to waiver from.  Let’s not find ourselves suffering from the ‘Pontius Pilatus’ syndrome.  Let’s not be fearful of being called or recognized as old school because society can only recognize you from your children, and to all of those over 18 years old, let the bib of your cap point in the direction you’re going.

Black people, let’s not get caught up in the 11th commandment added by the prosperity gospel, “Seek ye first money, and all other things will be added onto you.”  It’s corny, callous, and shallow to see so-called rich celebrities on social media sites showing themselves holding bricks of money — do they not know they’re financially solvent?  I’m almost sure that their White accountant shared that information with them; don’t you think?

This February let’s call on the Black church to get back to the business of social justice.  You do remember that it was the Black church that produced Malcolm X (his daddy was a Baptist preacher), Mary McLeod Bethune, Martin Luther King, Jr., Fannie Lou Hammer, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Ella Baker, Gabriel Prosser, Harriet Tubman, and thousands more who saw their faith and the liberation of our people much more important than money.

And just so you know, my ability to give you all of those towering Black figures throughout history, wasn’t because of Critical Race Theory (CRT) being taught in school. I learned of those beautiful names because of Black love of self in my home, in my neighborhood, my socially conscious barbershop, and in my unapologetically Black and unashamedly Christian Church.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not going to be easy to start being Black in America, and you can bet the more we work at it, the more America will trot out some well-to-do Negro to try and get us to suffer from historical amnesia.  Do me a favor — when this happens, just check the culture of his or her spouse and you’ll get the full picture!

Let’s work at holding one another accountable and not in a dogmatic way, but in a brotherly and sisterly way and when we see one another slipping into the Negro world, let’s bring each other back to Black!

We can do this Black people!  I have faith in us.  Mary Mcleod Bethune once said, “Faith is the first factor in a life devoted to service.  Without it, nothing is possible.  With it, nothing is impossible.”

I have faith that we can do this—so let’s get back to Black this February!