By Bill Kray
Black History Month, also known as African-American History Month in America, is an annual observance in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom for remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. It is celebrated annually in the United States and Canada in February and the United Kingdom in October.
With 61 films to his credit, my favorite actor is Sidney Poitier bringing life to Walter Lee Younger in A Raisin in The Sun (1960). Most of Poitier's roles have spotlighted inequalities. Consider The Defiant Ones, A Patch of Blue, and In the Heat of the Night. In each, a white person was struck by this black man, which had to be one of the most shocking things to witness in the era when the films were produced. In The Slender Thread and To Sir, with Love Poitier demonstrated superior deductive reasoning to save the day. Over his lifetime, he endeavored to garner increasing respect for his race.
Poitier, is the first African-American actor to win the Academy Award for Best Actor (for Lilies of the Field in 1963). He also received an (honorary) Academy Award "for his extraordinary performances and unique presence on the screen and for representing the industry with dignity, style and intelligence" in 2002. If his acting accomplishments weren't enough, he was appointed as the Bahamas Ambassador to Japan in 1997. Despite this, I don't generally associate February with any particular race or pay undue homage to humans.
Is Saturday Night Live Skit Funny or Thought Provoking?
Saturday Night Live actors may not compare with Poitier, but with the recent hire of African American actress Sasheer Zamata, many eyes are on the show with high expectations. CNN anchor Don Lemon has even tasked her to be "a whole lot funnier than she is black."
Perhaps not quite with 'dignity and style' Poitier would have portrayed, in its usual irreverent manner, SNL makes light of BHM with a rap skit highlighting '28 reasons' to hug a black man. Through audience participation, it evokes a roller coaster of emotions that include amusement, embarrassment and guilt depending upon the viewer's heritage. Watch Jay Pharoah (lead), Kenan Thompson, and Sasheer Zamata (background) sing "28 Reasons." And don't overlook Kate McKinnon as the classroom teacher who gets her groove on to the beat of this catchy refrain. Afterwards, share your thoughts. Then share this article with others.