In light of Black History Month beginning and the many Black icons that are paid heed to during this time of year, as well as general commentary surrounding Black topics, I want to discuss the internalized experience of Black excellence.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, Black excellence is a Black subjective term in cohesion with the perspectives of the Black community. In essence, it’s the ability to encapsulate the charismatic image of success, assurance, and confidence that Black culture has curated in all its splendor. Black people as a whole are disenfranchised due to a history of oppression, which has contributed to the capitalistic rhetoric of success attached to the image of Black excellence.
Excellence in the capitalistic sense of monetary gain, fame, and approval is incredibly difficult to obtain in comparison to our white counterparts. There are so many statistics that Black people are expected to beat from birth because of the individualistic rhetoric that capitalism perpetuates. You have to pull yourself together because everyone’s done it…right? The problem with this mindset is that we’re running a race that wasn’t set up for us, nevertheless by us, and if we’re behind and can’t catch up we’re deemed as gangsters, thugs, no-gooders. But, if we do win the race, then we’re championed and tokenized as a figure of success that every Black person should attain. “Black excellence” is an imaginative thought that makes it easy and justifiable to dream about circumstances outside of the boxes we’re socially accustomed to.
The phenomenon of Black excellence has many nuances that I will be organizing in a series of three acts to use as a mirror of introspective thought into this conundrum of an idea pertaining to the expectations and limitations that come with it. Whether it be the glitz and glamour of being Black and excellent, or the perilous downfall of failure regarding not encapsulating this vision of excellence—I intend on addressing every facet of Black excellence in their entirety.