Black History Month is an annual event honoring the many vital contributions of Black Americans, something the TMX Finance® Family of Companies is proud to celebrate. What started as “Negro History Week” in 1926, observed on the second week in February to honor Abraham Lincoln’s and Frederick Douglass’ birthdays, has turned into a month-long devotion to celebrating Black Americans.
We honor diversity through celebrating the heritage and traditions of our Team Members. In turn, we leverage cultural holidays like Black History Month to inspire Team Members to learn more about the history, themselves, and their Team Members. To honor the history of this month, we connected with some of our Black and African American workforce on their favorite pieces of arts, culture, and music that have made a lasting impact on their lives and the world.
In your words, what you’re favorite part of your culture?
“The stories of perseverance.” Ted Newman, General Manager
“Being able to persevere.” Kendall Wheeler, General Manager
“My favorite part about Black History Month is being able to celebrate and represent African Americans as a whole. This is not just the time to celebrate the negative, but a time to recognize all of the African American leaders that have given us hope.” Patricia Cofer, General Manager
“It’s a VIBE!” Kelley Frazier, General Manager
Who are some musicians who have made an impact on you?
“African Americans have been producing mind blowing sounds for years. From the complex sound of James Brown to the smooth sound of Otis Redding. Al Green brought husbands and wives together with a little ‘Love and Happiness.’ Earth, Wind & Fire still makes you dance at a cookout or family reunion. Biggie (Notorious BIG) and J. Cole paint mental pictures as they tell their stories about their lives from their perspectives. I could literally go on and on about how great the music we as African Americans make.” Giovonta Logan, General Manager
The team also recommends “Mercy Me” by Marvin Gaye, “Before I Let Go” by Frankie Beverly and Maze, “I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired” by Rev. James Cleveland; “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke, TuPac’s entire catalog, and “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” which has historically been deemed as the “Black National Anthem.”
Which Black authors should we check out?
“Read and understand the true culture of being Black and how it contributes to many of the things we take for granted.” Kendall Wheeler, General Manager
Our team recommends checking out these authors and their works: Ta-Nehisi Coates (“Between The World and Me”) Tayari Jones (“An American Marriage”); Terry McMillian (“Waiting to Exhale”); James Baldwin (“If Beale Street Could Talk”) and widely-celebrated poets Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Langston Hughes.
What movies or shows have made an impact on you?
“’Hidden Figures’ directed by Theodore Melfi. It shows what can come from unity.” Kelley Frazier, General Manager
“’Cornbread, Earl and Me’ is a story about a young, Urban, up-and-coming high school basketball star who is shot my mistake. Lawrence Fishbourne’s character was a witness and the police to try get him to lie and threaten him.” Ted Newman, General Manager
“Spike Lee’s ‘Do the Right Thing.’ It speaks volumes to how much has not changed since it was released.” Kendall Wheeler, General Manager
“Actor Nate Parker and prestigious director Spike Lee recently collaborated and made a movie called ‘American Skin.’ This movie strategically discusses police brutality and gives the reality and perspectives of law enforcement and the victims.” Giovonta Logan, General Manager
“Black dramas, documentaries, and films based on a true story (‘Fruitvale Station,’ ‘The Kalief Browder Story,’ ‘12 Years a Slave’) are educational but always bring me to tears! ‘Living Single’ and ‘Girlfriends’ are my palette cleansers for when I need a good laugh. ‘Coming to America’ remains one of my favorite movies; although fiction, it represented what it meant to be Black in the 80s.” Heather Sueirro, Senior Talent Strategy Manager
Join us in learning more about Black History and how to celebrate this rich heritage in our Black History Month series.
Thoughts and opinions listed here were collected from members of our Black and African American workforce at the TMX Finance® Family of Companies. The thoughts expressed in this article are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the TMX Finance® Family of Companies.