Kids choose a movie, book and song in honor of Black History Month | Item
Check out these black-centric pop culture picks
When it comes to recommending a favorite book, Sofia Rathjen suggests choosing a story about an important piece of Canadian history that you don’t know.
“It’s really important that everyone knows his story and that those stories are known and shared,” said the 13-year-old from Sherwood Park, Alta.
When CBC Kids News asked Sofia and two other Canadian children to recommend pop culture choices in honor of Black History Month, Sofia chose a book on Africville.
The vibrant black colony of Halifax, Nova Scotia was destroyed by the government in the 1960s.
The book Africville, by Nova Scotia author Shauntay Grant, is about a black community in Halifax that was destroyed in the 1960s (Image credit: Groundwood Books)
Africville, by Nova Scotia author Shauntay Grant, tells of a young girl visiting the area where the colony was located.
Sofia said she learned briefly about what had happened in Africville at school.
But it wasn’t until she read the book that she really understood the significance of what happened when the community was bulldozed.
The book is “a story about hope, resilience, community building and the Canadian experience,” said Sofia.
Sofia Rathjen reviews BIPOC authors’ books on Instagram at @the_technicolour_bookshelf (Image credit: Sofia Rathjen)
Sofia has a parent who is Colombian and Afro-Colombian and another who is white.
She wants to see people from all cultures represented in the books.
She opened an instagram account to showcase Black, Native and Colored Authors (BIPOC), and in January, she won a $ 2,000 grant to stock her school library with more diverse books.
“I think it’s very important that we have black representation and that we have a wide range of black stories to tell, because black people and the black community are by no means a monolith.” -Sofia Rathjen
Sofia said the Africville story is “an example of systemic racism in Canada that I really don’t think we talk about enough”.
Systemic racism is a form of racism that is ingrained and woven into society to the point where it is considered normal.
It can lead to discrimination and affect things like jobs, health care and education.
When Marvel released the Black Panther movie in 2018, many black kids finally saw a portrayal in a superhero that looked like them. (Image credit: Mark Lennihan / The Associated Press)
Samuel Yohannes, 15 from Toronto, recommended the film Black Panther.
The film, released by Marvel Studios in 2018, features actor Chadwick Boseman as a superhero in the fictional African country of Wakanda.
Samuel said he liked the film because of the way “it represents the story”.
In particular, he said, it teaches an important lesson about what the world would be like if black people had not been uprooted from Africa by colonialism and the slave trade.
Beginning in the 1600s, millions of people were robbed from African countries and shipped to countries like Europe and North America, where they were forced to work as slaves.
The film tells “the truth about what happened with our ancestors,” Samuel said.
Samuel Yohannes, 15, recommends Black Panther like a film that represents a positive cultural and historical message. (Image submitted by Hannah Yohannes)
Samuel said the film, which was directed and produced by a black director named Ryan Coogler, may have helped increase respect for blacks in the film industry.
“Now it’s more diverse and now people are more tolerant.”
Black Panther was a huge hit in theaters, grossing over US $ 1.3 billion at the box office, according to Box Office Mojo.
Black directors and producers weren’t used to having “that much love,” Samuel said, “no matter how good the movie is.”
He said he likes to think Black Panther helped change that.
Bob Marley, who was born in Jamaica, is considered the singer who made reggae mainstream. (Image credit: The Associated Press)
One song Jahniya Diamond, 10, from Toronto, thinks everyone should listen to is one Love by Bob Marley.
Why? Because “Bob Marley uses his music to connect people.
Marley is considered the father of reggae music, having sold over 20 million records and making the genre popular with people around the world.
The song one Love was recorded in Jamaica in 1965 by Marley and his band, The Wailers.
Here is an excerpt from the song’s lyrics:
One Love! A heart!
Let’s come together and feel good
Jahniya said the song inspires her to achieve her “dreams and goals”.
Marley even inspired her and her brothers this year to start a group called the Hooligans.
Jahniya said she hopes the song will inspire others as well.
Look up the term Black History Month on our website: CBCKidsNews.ca for more inspiration!
Correction: When this story was originally published, we identified Sofia Rathjen as black. She identifies as Colombian, Afro-Colombian and Caucasian. This story has been updated for clarity.