by Mia Harrison
- of the very darkest color owing to the absence of or complete absorption of light
- of any human group having dark-colored skin, especially of African or Australian Aboriginal ancestry.
- an intense feeling of deep affection
- The unconditional love of one’s identity, community, and environment.
Each year, the EMP museum partners with the Brandkings to put on a Black History Month experience. On February 26th, the museum hosted its third annual “Through the Eyes of Art” event with “Black love”being the focus. The night brought together people from all ages and backgrounds to celebrate our history, honor the phenomenal individuals who not only love, but serve our community, and enjoy musical performances by Seattle native Draze and Kimberly Nichole (appeared on last year’s season of “The Voice”).
The entrance gave way to a gallery full of artwork from local Seattleites, each providing their own spin on what Black love means to them. From the unification of bloods and crips to the various ways Black women wear their hair, the underlying theme of the evening was breaking societal stereotypes as we create our own history.
The event was held in the Sky Church, which couldn’t have been more fitting. The rows of chairs felt reminiscent of pews as we all congregated and joined together in laughter, song, and unity. Gospel singer Pat Wright and Gregg Alex (Matt Talbot Center) were recipients of the Servant of the People Award. Both highlighted the importance of service, and the grace necessary to extend Black love to others.
As the night progressed, Black love went from a universal concept to a day-to-day reality. A panel of four couples were chosen to discuss their personal relationship journeys and what Black love means to them. Even though the segment was comical, it was powerful to see couples whose relationships have withstood the cliché “test of time”: each mirroring the strength, perseverance, and compassion that define the Black community.
Towards the end of the night I started to ask myself what black love means to me, a non-stereotypical Pacific Northwest bred, African American woman. To me, black love starts with love of self: you must be willing to know your own worth and not settle into someone’s slanted perception of you. In other words, you are the only person who can shape and write your history. Second, love your community: love the struggles, and the successes they each make us more dynamic. Finally, black love is unconditional: instead of watching each other struggle be willing to aid in whichever way you can.
In light of the events that have happened in our community, now is the time for Black love. Define what it means to you, and spread it’s message.
Until next time South Seattle,
Mia Harrison is a Pacific Northwest native who is a music and literature fiend. She can currently be found listening to MF Doom instrumentals while reading the works of Haruki Murakami.