So let me share the source of the inspiration for The Soul Bowl! In conversation with different people, it came to my attention that not EVERYONE was a well-versed in Black History as I am (and I’m not claiming to be THAT knowledgeable). To be honest I took for granted that everyone just knew about people like Dr. Charles R Drew, Garrett A Morgan, Madame CJ Walker, and Benjamin Banneker! What I found is that unless you happened to be children of parents who made you research historical Black people, had a copy of the Ebony Pictorial History of Black America, and/or happened to grow up in a predominantly Black city/School District like the Detroit Public Schools, you MAY not be aware of all the wonderful contributions Black people have been making to the world since the beginning of man’s history!
While in middle school at Alonzo W Bates Academy, I had the pleasure of participating in Bates Battle every year. Bates Battle was a quiz bowl that pitted homerooms against one another to win the championship for your grade. At the time we didn’t realize it was a ruse for us to learn lots of Black History facts, and we didn’t care. Competition is fun and who doesn’t love bragging rights?!!
What I didn’t realize until more recently is that the way I view myself and my people has truly been shaped by my knowledge of the depth and breadth of who we are and what we do and have done. The concept that Black people are not smart, do not excel academically, or in business has never been one that I entertained because I knew differently. If and when people would of any race would attempt to denigrate Black people I could always respond in the negative and have the facts and knowledge to back me up. I am and have always been proud to be Black AND being Black has been synonymous with resilience, brilliance, creativity, and strength.
the way I view myself and my people has truly been shaped by my knowledge of the depth and breadth of who we are and what we do and have done…..Black has been synonymous with resilience, brilliance, creativity, and strength.
Sadly this is not so for everyone 🙁 . So about 13 years ago (yes I said 13 years) when I became aware that many of my peers were uninformed about the many contributions Black people have made to the world, my sister and I had this AWESOME idea to create a fun way to educate people about Black History. At the time we were running our event planning company and doing our annual Ski Weekend, King of the Mountain. Each year we made sure to have fun and interesting activities for people to do outside of skiing and given that the trip took place during February (Black History Month) we wanted to include a competition in the event. We came up with the name “The Soul Bowl, and while this was an inspired concept it never unfolded exactly the way we envisioned. Fast forward to 2014. All of a sudden I was hearing about all this violence and police brutality in the media again. While the precarious relationship between police and people of color is nothing new, for the first time in quite a few years, YOUNG PEOPLE were being made aware that the struggle continues. Many people in my generation and younger had been lulled into a sense of safety, especially those of us who are educated and may no longer live in communities where police brutality is more common.
While the social action fire was being ignited, there was/is also in many a sense of futility. As if this has always been and will always be our situation. Unaware that people of African descent visited the Americas LONG before Columbus and crew stumbled upon this land, they felt that the horrors of slavery and it’s grandchildren Jim Crow and institutionalized racism defines us. Many feel like these images of thugs, thots, and baby mama/daddy drama is a reflection of our true self. #EPICFAIL. So I was inspired to bring into fruition that dream of ours from long ago. While my sister is no longer with me, her spirit lives on. Last year I got to work on the Soul Bowl and am excited to bring it to the world for 2016 and beyond. You are invited to join me on this journey to educate, entertain and empower. There are/will be many ways to contribute so stay-tuned for updates, opportunities, and developments.
~Yours in Soul,
The SMART Sista