January 26, 2023
Reading and watching stories that celebrate our culture helps us remember and see ourselves.
Celebrating Black excellence can -- and should -- happen year-round. But February is a special time to tap into the inspiring achievements and legacies of our ancestors and present-day history makers. Reading and watching these stories encourages us to reflect with our family on all we've overcome and the bright future that lies ahead. As you take time this month to enjoy movies, shows, and books that honor our Black experience, consider these tips to nurture your child's heart and mind.
- Despite a checkered start in Hollywood (no to blackface, yes to Hattie McDaniel!), from the very beginning Black people have found a way to tell our own stories and make our voices heard. While there's much more work to be done, we know that helping our children find movies, TV shows, and books where they can see themselves in the characters has a positive effect on their self-esteem.
- A child's imagination is an essential part of their social, emotional, creative, and academic development. Exposing them to Black contributions in STEM, arts and culture, sports, and beyond opens their mind to a world of possibilities.
- The beauty of our Blackness comes in all colors, shapes, and sizes. Connecting to Afro-Latino heritage and kinfolk across the African continent gives your child an inclusive view of Black history and leaders in America and across the diaspora.
- When watching or reading real and fictional accounts of tragic events, keep in mind your child's ability to understand and process these difficult images and facts. Consider finding age-appropriate books and movies to introduce and discuss these topics, and be aware that triggering images can sometimes be more traumatic for Black and Brown kids.
- Check out ratings and reviews in advance to know what to expect from a movie or TV show on sensitive subjects. And, when possible, watch together with your child to share the experience and explain what they're seeing.
- Be prepared for tough conversations about racial violence, and remind them of the everyday heroes and activists who persevered and fought bravely in the name of justice.
- Finding those moments of Black girl magic and Black boy joy lets your child know they matter, and that our stories are worth telling.
- The idea of remembering where you've come from to know where you're headed is familiar to many. Storytelling through media is a great way to pass down our collective knowledge and values from generation to generation.
- Have fun as a family discovering and learning together. Seek out online activities and stories to spark conversations about Black history, including your own family's history.
Common Sense Media rates movies, TV shows, books, and more so parents can feel good about the entertainment choices they make for their kids. We offer the largest, most trusted library of independent age-based ratings and reviews. Our timely parenting advice supports families as they navigate the challenges and possibilities of raising kids in the digital age. Learn more at www.commonsensemedia.org.