The month of February serves as an incredible staple in the Black community. It is widely acknowledged as a time to remember and reveal our rich heritage, dedicate spaces to respect our lineage, and understand the extreme sacrifices of those that came before us. Those sacrifices afforded us the luxuries we currently enjoy, and are worthy of both appreciation and celebration.
That said, the platform given to us by our ancestors is to be a foundation for forward-thinking and growing through our traumas. While the Black delegation celebrates how far we've come and how important our bloodline is in world history, other groups make it a purpose to throw trauma in our faces while simultaneously profiting off of our suffering every Black History Month.
With that, the concept of Black Future Month came to fruition: a time to showcase our current and future innovators across all facets of the culture, with newfound awareness of others' tendency to use our creativity for their benefit. An extension of our For Us, By Us movement, Black Future Month is meant to discourage the cycle of trauma from the outside in. A lot of times, we view ourselves as the trauma placed upon us, because it's thrust in our face yearly. We understand what we have been through and where we've gone.
Now, it's time for us to focus significantly more on where we need to go.
Hip Hop artists have used innovative soundscapes and direction to push us forward since the beginning of rap:
Artists like Public Enemy and A Tribe Called Quest carried their generations through new sonics, free from the influence of the oppressors (while fully understanding how much it held us back). The Lauryn Hill, Jill Scott, and Erykah Badu branch of the proverbial tree taught us to look at ourselves with love, locked in on letting go of what's burdening us.
Mainstage stars, such as Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole, have fused the brash and brazen attitude we need, with the subtleties and respectable softness we're often scared to reveal. Outkast, The Roots, and Lupe Fiasco took deep dives into the psychological space we all simultaneously reside in, offering us some of the most honest and impressive reflections of ourselves. Understated, yet incredible artists, including Saba, Anderson .Paak, and Smino, expand the sound beyond what Hip Hop's forefathers may have ever expected. That's exactly what we need.
And of course, decorated and dedicated Hip Hop legend Kanye West has made it his mission to break through barriers in the culture by any means. Realizing that your movement may be misunderstood requires a bravery that shifts the climate, allowing those that come after to move more freely and learn from your lessons. Choosing to not always be right, but to always be honest, allows failure to turn into futures.
BFM: Music That Moves The Culture is an amalgamation of our stories and steps, structured into a sonic roadmap leading into the future.
Listen to this widely varying, potential-pushing playlist below.