By Glenn Townes

Earlier this week, I was driving down the New Jersey Turnpike (NJT) and had the classic tune from James Brown blaring on my car stereo–“Say it loud, I’m Black, and I’m Proud, Say it Loud, I’m Black, and I’m Proud.” My head was bouncing up and down and rocking side to side. I tapped the steering wheel and lip-synced the words, and tried to sound just as good as James. I ignored the curious glances and stares I received from other motorists zooming by on the traffic plagued Turnpike.

The month of February has always been special to me for many reasons. For one thing, it’s my birthday month; it’s also my mother’s birthday month—she will be 90 years young in a few weeks and still has pep in her step; and it’s Black History Month–a time to celebrate and enjoy the long history of people of color. With memories of the tragic loss of people like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, and too many others to mention, still fresh in my mind, Black History month 2021 is unique.

After the complicated, tumultuous, and disastrous history—with a particular reference to events in the past five or so years, as a man of color, I feel thrilled, blessed, and grateful to be here. I could ask for little more than celebrating this Black history month while being in relatively good health and being with those near and dear to me. After all of these years, I never thought that I’d still be doing what I have always loved to do since grade school–write about what I want to and thrive while doing it!!

A lot of work still needs to be done to correct the many mistakes of an absolute recent dictator and his cohorts. For the first time since 2017, I’m hopeful and feeling pretty good about America’s positive direction—with an eye on Black and Brown America.

Sing it, James Brown! “…, we can’t quit until we get our share…”all the work I did was for the other man. Now we demand a chance to do things for ourselves. We tired of beating our head against the wall workin’ for someone else. Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud!” I am and always will be!!

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