I recently stumbled on a song called Black Made That on Instagram. I only heard a snippet of it so immediately started clicking around until I found the full song on YouTube. What I found was a rap song and video that, in such an incredible way, educated listeners about black inventors and their inventions that have changed the world. Griot B, also known as Brandon Brown, and the School Yard Rap movement instantly captivated my daughters and I. Like clockwork, I now hear, “Mommy, turn on Black Made That!” during our daily designated learning time.
After a few more clicks I discovered Griot B had created an entire album, Ourstory, dedicated to educating people of all ages, especially school-aged students, about black innovators, current racial events, history and an overall appreciation of black culture. This discovery has made my job as a homeschooling educator a little easier. Teaching history to five and six year olds can be challenging. At those ages, history can be deemed boring if not presented in a creative way for easy comprehension. My daughters constantly sing and dance, so this album was the answer to our not so exciting history lessons.
Brandon “Griot B” Brown is an educator in California and knows music is one of the best ways to get a message across to young people. With the album, Ourstory, he has done something that I have never seen before. He has taken rich history and culture of black people and has placed it in a format that translates to children and adults in a world that is heavily influenced by a Hip Hop culture. The album is 18 tracks of black history and culture, inspiration and affirmation. It’s more than just simple words thrown together and put over a dope beat. Unlike many of the mainstream music of today, Ourstory includes lyrics and flow are eye-opening and lack gimmicks. Our children needed this work of art yesterday.
Why the World Needs to Hear It
I wasn’t introduced to black history outside of Martin Luther King, Jr., Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks or encouraged to fully embrace it until high school. My African studies teacher, Mrs. Owensby helped change my perspective of people of color. She introduced me and thousands of other students to HBCUs across the country and encouraged us to take pride in who we were through how we behaved in and outside the classroom. Although I am grateful for the introduction, I wish it had happened earlier.
The world needs to learn the truth as early as possible. As a society we have historically been fed falsehoods about many communities and people of color. It’s due time our children learn historical facts, develop a love and appreciation for black culture, and receive inspiration for their bright futures.