In the United Kingdom, Black History Month falls in October, in contrast to February in the United States. I only recently found out about this, and as is the standard procedure I assume, I have gone out and researched black history and tried to learn a thing or two.
While that has proven to be interesting, it came to my attention that October 2019 itself will go down as an amazing month in black history. It felt like almost every other day, someone was breaking a barrier or setting a new standard on my social media feeds. In case you missed the news, or just never saw it, here’s a list of people who have made October 2019 a truly great month for black history:
Tyler Perry’s achievement is truly monumental. The iconic, actor, writer and producer opened his own film studio earlier this month, and in true Tyler Perry fashion, it is larger than life.
The 330-acre plot in Atlanta has 12 sound stages, and is larger than Warner Bros., Disney, and Paramount’s studios COMBINED. All sound stages are named after iconic black actors, including Denzel Washington. To celebrate, he hosted a star-studded gala featuring the likes Oprah, Spike Lee, Colin Kaepernick, and Whoopi Goldberg.
The studio is also culturally significant because the facility it’s built in once served as a Confederate army base. Today, it’s a monument of black history. Perry is the first black American to own a major studio entirely, and will surely go down as one of the greatest to ever do it.
Abiy Ahmed Ali is the fourth and current Prime Minister of Ethiopia. Earlier this month, he was awarded with the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize “for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea.”
Abiy Ahmed was sworn in as Prime Minister in 2018, and has been promoted unity throughout his political career. Since entering office, he took massive steps to reform Ethiopia, most notably ending the two-decade state of war with Eritrea, surrendering disputed territory and re-opening the land border with their neighboring East African country.
These political moves caught the attention of the Nobel Prize committee, and he is regarded across the continent and now the globe as a promoter of peace.
In Vienna on October 12th, 34 year old Kenyan marathon runner Eluid Kipchoge made history.
The Olympic gold medalist and world record holder became the first person in history to run 26.2 miles in less than two hours. He completed the feat in an incredible time of 1 hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds. Though the run was not in official IAAF conditions, Kipchoge sent shockwaves throughout the sporting world in terms of what people thought was possible. (He holds the official record anyways, he ran the Berlin Marathon in 2018 in 2 hours, 1 minute and 39 seconds). Though tis run was tailored for him to have near perfect conditions, it is nonetheless is a remarkable human achievement and reminder of the capability of the human mind and spirit.
“Personally, I don’t believe in limits“, he told TIME magazine.
After giving birth less than a year ago, American track athlete Allyson Felix broke Usain Bolt’s record for most gold medals at the World Championships (12). In her first season as a mother, she has shown no signs of slowing down.
Felix underwent an emergency C-section to deliver her daughter, and admitted to struggling to balance being a world-class athlete and being pregnant. Back on the track however, nothing has changed, and her name is now in the history books as the most successful athlete at the World Championships.
Tokyo 2020, here she comes.
Last, but surely not the least, is the ever-smiling, Simone Biles. Biles first made headlines for her stellar performance at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, where she collected an astonishing 4 gold medals. Earlier this month, she became the most decorated gymnast in history.
Biles won her 25th career medal at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships. The record was previously held by Vitaly Scherbo of Belarus, who had 23.
If you’re looking for modern references for black history, October 2019 is a good month to start.