The holiday season is upon us. ‘Tis the season for giving, but with inflation and…
Note from the Editor:
“Black American experiences bring a sense of community and belonging in a society that has long rejected their inclusion. Everything from the church in which we belong to the protective hairstyles we choose to embrace is an extension of the appreciation and inclusion we have for one another. This is a side of Black culture that is not often presented to the non-Black casual consumer of film, television, or literature.
Far too often, the Black movies and TV shows that Hollywood chooses to showcase are a throwback to Civil Rights-era struggles, slavery, or coming-of-age stories in an environment filled with drugs and crime. Hardly ever do these forms of entertainment show Black people as people who are vulnerable, smart, talented and average. We are more than ballplayers, rappers or the strong Black woman archetype portrayed in the media. We’re lawyers, doctors, nurses, mechanics, restaurant managers, entrepreneurs and marketing directors.
Anti-racism is not ignoring skin color, it’s celebrating differences and culture while recognizing the contributions of a group to an inclusive and progressive society.”
-Kazia Conway, Brand & Digital Marketing Director – The Carlson Law Firm
As we close out Black History Month, we wanted to point out that the month doesn’t limit learning more about the Black American experience. Below is our curated list of media and food to enjoy throughout the year.
Black Diaspora Food Celebration at The Carlson Law Firm
Art is often a reflection of the moment.
Cuisine is a reflection of the culture.
Throughout the month, The Carlson Law Firm celebrated Black History by supporting local Black businesses in three of our communities. Check out the video below of our Killeen celebration!
The Cultural Significance of Black Diaspora Cuisine
Soul food takes its origins mostly from Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama, a collection of states commonly referred to as the Deep South. During the Transatlantic Slave Trade, enslaved African people were given meager food rations that were low in quality and nutritional value. With these rations, enslaved people preserved African food traditions and adapted traditional recipes with the resources available. Over time, these recipes and techniques have become the soul food dishes we are familiar with today. This food genre, now associated with comfort and decadence, was born out of struggle and survival.
The Carlson Law Firm hosted a Black History Month celebration by supporting a local Black woman-owned business in Killeen, Texas to cater a lunch that brought the firm together. Yeah She Rollin, a local food truck voted one of the best food trucks in Central Texas delivered an exceptional meal of chicken and waffles.
Our Round Rock, Texas location also hosted a celebration with a catered meal from MaMa’Z Soul Kitchen, a Black woman-owned business. Our Round Rock staff was treated to a lunch of smothered pork chops, BBQ chicken, mac and cheese, cabbage, cornbread and pound cake.
Finally, the Black diaspora is global. Our Waco office celebrated Black History Month with a catered meal from a Jamaican Restaurant called Tru Jamaica. They had jerk chicken, jerk shrimp, curry chicken, rasta pasta, plantains, rice & peas and red cabbage potato salad.
Uplifting Black Movies to Watch
Summer of Soul
In his debut film, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson gave the world a powerful documentary showcasing the 1969 Harlem Cultural Fest held in Mount Morris Park. The festival has often been overshadowed by Woodstock—which happened that same year. Despite having a large attendance and some of the biggest names in music at the time (Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Nina Simone and Mahalia Jackson), the festival was seen as obscure in pop culture. The documentary aims to examine its cultural impact and why it’s been overlooked for so long. Stream it on Hulu.
Black Is King
Beyonce in the Lion King received mixed reviews. The Beyhive loved her, everybody else not so much. But there was universal agreeance when she delivered Black Is King, a movie inspired by The Lion King: The Gift, an album curated by Beyonce featuring several African artists. The movie was nominated for and won several awards. Stream it on Disney+.
Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse
There’s never been a bad Spider-Man movie, but Into the Spiderverse was an instant classic! Miles Morales is an average New York City teen struggling to live up to the aspirations of his father, but when he’s bitten by a radioactive spider—he gets spider-like abilities. The movie follows his adventures with his new powers while also exploring multi-dimensions—where all kinds of Spider-Men exist.
Television for Everyone
Available on Netflix, Moesha is a Black millennial childhood favorite. Upon rewatching, you might find several issues with Moesha’s dad and stepmother, but it’s still a family-friendly show that is funny, vulnerable and worth the watch in 2022.
Black•ish, Grown•ish, Mixed•ish
Black•ish is the critically acclaimed ABC show that has given new life to the portrayal of a middle-class Black family on television. The premise of the show is Dre Johnson living in a wealthy neighborhood begins to question whether all of his success has brought too much cultural assimilation for his family. He begins to work to create a sense of ethnic identity for the members of his family that will allow them to honor their ancestry while also embracing the future.
The Proud Family, The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder
The Proud Family follows Penny Proud, a 14-year-old girl who simply enjoys hanging out with her friends. Each episode teaches lessons about the value of being respectful, listening to your parents and the issues of caving into peer pressure. The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder was revived for Disney+ and debuted on Feb. 23, 2022.
Books by Black Authors
Kindred by Octavia Butler
For many young Black girls, Octavia Butler carved out a space to exist in the sci-fi realm—a genre often dominated by white and male figures. However, Kindred, perhaps Butler’s best-known work, reimagines time travel. The novel’s protagonist moves from 20th century Los Angeles to the antebellum South. In doing so, she’s able to recuperate some of the erased histories that led to her present-day life.
The Wedding Date Series by Jasmine Guillory
Bucking the traditions that Black women don’t get married (fun fact: 75% of Black women marry before they turn 35), Jasmine Guillory is a romance writer that centers Black women in her stories as worthy and deserving of love without struggle. The Wedding Date series features several books loosely related to one woman and her circle of friends and family. The first book will make a believer out of the most ardent anti-romance novel reader.
Real Life by Brandon Taylor
Real Life is a novel written by Brandon Taylor’s own experiences. The theme of this books follows Wallace, the protagonist, as he tries to preserve himself and his sanity by distancing himself from his inner circle of friends until he can no longer do so. Eventually, Wallace has to face a series of confrontations that expose hidden currents of hostility and desire—forcing him to grapple with his childhood.