Joy Balmana, ARTS COLUMNIST
With only 28, or sometimes 29 days in February, it feels like there is a lot to do in so little time.
For students, it is a time for midterms and of the much anticipated reading week. For couples, it is a time to celebrate their love or love-hate of the corporations that profit off love. For Manitobans, it’s a time to HEHO our hearts away. However, the internationally celebrated and widely debated Black History Month seems to be overlooked by people who believe they have no stake in the discussion. What’s unfortunate about my observation is that it includes many of Manitoba’s news outlets.
This year, there are a handful of media outlets that have only briefly highlighted any Black History Month events in Manitoba, despite the large variety of performances, panel discussions, and ongoing movie series put on by community groups.
While I am a bi-racial heterosexual female who can only speak on the behalf of my own experiences, I also believe I can act as an ally and call bullshit when I see it. What I see as bullshit is the media’s lack of attention or representation of events put on by many different people of colour.
Manitoba has a reputation of celebrating cultural diversity, but this only seems to be true for two weeks in August.
I understand the hesitation to write about identities that aren’t your own. However, we need to be challenging ourselves to create ongoing discussions about race and bridging gaps instead of not talking about it at all.
While it doesn’t always have to be about politics, we have to be conscious of the way we represent everyone in our writing. Does adding black or indigenous need to be a precursor to a talented musician, author, or public speaker? It’s a question that can only be answered in “it depends” or answered on a case-by-case basis.
With only a few days left, I hope that you will support, listen, and find allyship through one of many events happening in Winnipeg for Black History Month. You can catch events being put on by Black Space Winnipeg this last week of February at Cinematheque with the double screening of I Am Not Your Negro, or a collaboration between Raw Colours & Stream WPG at Fools & Horses Coffee Company focusing on four musicians at different states in their musical career.
Joy Balmana is a Public Relations major in Creative Communications.
Her free time is spent wandering around Winnipeg’s downtown galleries,
other cites across the world, or her kitchen figuring out what to cook next.
See the world her way on Instagram at @byoj
or hear what all that muttering is on Twitter @_byoj.