(people chattering quietly) - I really like your lipstick, it's like the perfect shade of purple.
Where'd you get it from?
- Oh thanks, it's just Maybelline.
- I like your locs.
- Oh, they're crochet.
- Like 6.99 a pack.
- Okay, I see you head wrap.
- Oh, do you?
- Darkest shade in the collection.
- What is it, like, mahogany, mocha?
- It's just called dark 003, but okay, push through, cheekbones!
Okay, give me angles.
Hit, hit, hit, hit, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh.
(timer dings) My enchiladas.
- When you hear the words black pride, what comes to mind?
Maybe vintage ads with glistening Afros, this GIF, black panthers, definitely the now-infamous Issa Rae quote.
- I'm rooting for everybody black, I am.
- But what does it mean to love being black?
Why does this concept exist and is there still a place for black pride in today's cultural climate?
- I'm Azie.
- And I'm Evelyn.
- Let's discuss on our first episode of Say It Loud.
- (snaps fingers) James Brown, I also think of James Brown.
- Yeah, that's where the title comes from.
(funk music) ♪ Yeah ♪ - Pride is defined as deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.
I Googled that one.
(Azie laughs) But for black, well, I'll Azie define that.
- Okay, basically slavery took humans across the Atlantic Ocean to the Western Hemisphere.
Tactics included mixing people up and stripping them of their unique ethnic or geographical identity and referring to them exclusively by skin tone.
Over time, diverse languages faded away and specific ethnic identities were erased.
Descendants of enslaved Africans emerged with new cultures based on new regions but still unified by the atrocity of slavery.
What that means is, in the US, black is both an ethnicity and a race.
- Wow, you did that.
That was perfect.
Okay, so together, black pride is choosing to celebrate the things that are socially, culturally, and are even legally deemed undesirable, negative, or illegitimate.
Black pride has everything to do with embracing yourself and nothing to do with hating someone else.
No tiki torches are involved.
The unofficial anthem of the black pride movement in the United States belongs to the godfather of soul, James Brown.
(both snap) The year is 1968.
- That was a year, y'all.
- We're coming fresh off superstar athlete Muhammad Ali publicly refusing to be drafted in the Vietnam War.
Anti-war riots intensified.
Martin Luther King is assassinated and Richard Nixon is gonna become the president.
- And just like celebrities now might feel pressured to take a public political stance, we can imagine that popular black entertainers in the '60s and '70s faced a similar dilemma.
James Brown was not making no songs to march to.
But according to his autobiography, a grenade was left at his doorstep by who he believes were black militant activists.
- They tried to kill him?
- Mm, not quite.
The pin was still in the grenade, so it looks like they just wanted to scare him and it worked because the next night, he wrote "Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud".
- Wait, so this reluctant song goes on to become a massive hit?
- Oh yeah, it was number one on the R&B charts for over a month and peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Black folks didn't wanna be polite about discrimination anymore.
After all, the biggest advocate of nonviolence was just murdered.
- Shouting I'm black and I'm proud was the public statement those alleged militants probably wanted.
It joined the ranks of Black is beautiful and other messaging that sought to encourage a group of people who had every reason to feel otherwise.
If you wanna learn more about what James Brown actually thought about the song and its impact, we'll link some resources below.
Spoiler, he wasn't too pleased.
- And neither am I, I'm really hot.
- Yeah, it's kinda, you wanna get out of this?
- Yes please.
(both snap) - Now we know what black pride is and where it comes from, but is there a place for racial pride today?
- Oh, are we sharing personal opinions, or-- - Sure, let it flow.
- Okay, well, I think as long as someone lives in a society where they're associated with negative traits, there will always be a need to remind yourself that you're valuable.
- Historically, we've not been in control of our image, black pride is a way to reclaim authority over how we're seen, to ourselves and to the world.
Ideas like black girl magic, black boy joy, and perhaps the most contentious, black lives matter are all different manifestations of black pride.
- #melaninmondays, #blacklove, (gasps) We should really do a black Twitter episode.
- I think even like Beyonce's Lemonade and BeyChella, both performances boldly incorporated imagery and references from black American experiences and although some might think mentioning your race is divisive, Black people in America are in a unique position.
Our culture is also our race.
Having black pride is similar to marching in the Saint Patrick's Day parade if you're Irish or giving the salutation of your people if you're Vulcan.
- Vulcan is not affected-- - I think black pride shows that our histories are intertwined.
You can't have your pop star without a little hot sauce sprinkled on the top.
And you can't tell the story of America without also telling the story of black folks.
- You know that feeling when you watch the Olympics and you root for athletes despite their country?
That's a form of black pride.
(crowd cheers) - [Crowd] Defense, (claps) Defense.
(claps) - Yeah, Iceland!
- Go Iceland!
- You got people there?
I don't think we got people there.
- What, no.
- For me, it's when a black girl in the grocery store or a gas station or a public restroom compliments my features, like, I stand a little taller.
- Black pride movements will continue to take new forms as technology, current events, and pop culture shift.
The history of this country is such that loving the skin you're in is considered controversial.
So if you're gonna say it, you might as well say it loud.
- Subscribe, follow social media, etc., and we'll see you next week.
- [Both] Bye.