Editor’s note: During Black History Month, the focus is usually on historical figures who loomed larger than life, paving the way for the progress we experience today. But black history isn’t just about telling stories of our past. History is being made every day and has been made throughout our lives; it’s not just in books. It walks among us. So this month, The Root is asking a group of writers to tell us about the personal and pivotal events from their own lifetimes in a series we call My Black History. Writer Michael Arceneaux is 32 years old but moisturizes and listens to Beyoncé regularly.
My Mama, the Heavyweight Champion of the World
I didn’t grow up with a lot in terms of money, but my mother never raised me to think I couldn’t be anything that I wanted to be. She made sure I went to black doctors and black dentists—something that I didn’t realize was a feat for some black folks until college. Even if she couldn’t afford to put me in the black private school she hoped to, I still went to public schools that had smart black teachers who pushed me to reach my fullest potential.
So, thank you, Mama. I’m sorry I don’t like vagina and have yet to produce additional grandchildren for you, but hey, I am not a self-loathing black man. Praise the Lord.
Black Night at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
I am from Houston, so even if that’s majorly just West Louisiana to much of my bloodline, there is no escaping the cowboy sprinkles spread across the city. For those unfamiliar, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is exactly as described—plus a carnival outside where you can get turkey legs, fried shrimp, lots of barbecue, and diabetes-inducing treats like fried Oreos, fried Twinkies and fried cheesecake. Don’t make that face: Fried cheesecake is worth the insulin.
Talk yo’ shit if you want, but I have seen the following over my life: Luther Vandross, Monica, Brian McKnight (actually, we left early, but still), Destiny’s Child, Mary J. Blige, Kool and the Gang, and Beyoncé.
You have not lived until you’ve congregated with 70,000 black folks watching cowboys, bulls and other wildebeests while shimmying with aunties to black-ass performers.
The Ruff Ryders-Cash Money Tour
N-word with an a!
I wish someone had told me when I started high school that there was a way to leave the state of Texas for higher education if I really planned for it. But I didn’t think it was possible. After all, I wasn’t nobody’s Huxtable. However, a very attractive man who was a recruiter from Hampton (think light-skinned, ’90s-R&B-singer bae) convinced me that I could, in fact, leave my senior.
It was the most diverse place I’ve ever been as I got to see every inch of who we are as a people.
Read the rest at The Root.