"An artists's duty, as far as I'm concerned, is to reflect the times. I think that is true of painters, sculptors, poets, musicians. As far as I'm concerned it is their choice, but I choose to reflect the times and the situations in which I find myself; that to me is my duty. And at this crucial time in our lives, when everything is so desperate, when every day is a matter of survival, I don't think you can help but be involved. Young people, Black and White, know this. That's why they are so involved in politics. We will shape and mold this country, or it will not be molded and shaped at all anymore. So I don't think you have a choice. How can you be an artist and not reflect the times? That to me is the definition of an artist."

Public figures have played a very important role in social justice movements over the years. Many have used their voices and wielded their public power against issues that affect their communities. Zora Neal Hurston, Langston Hughes, Nina Simone, Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé, Colin Kaepernick, Common, Yara Shahidi, Jackie Aina, and so many others, have brought attention to discrimination where it exists, and just as importantly, they have celebrated Black people in their own unique ways. 

Today, we share a few influencers who are celebrating Black History Month using their platforms. If you know of any other creatives celebrating Black History Month in a special way, please leave their social media handles in the comment section. 

Monroe Steele - Fashion Blogger

In honor of Black History Month, Monroe is highlighting some of her favorite Black fashion designers and Black-owned businesses. On her blog she says, “It’s imperative that we support our own in addition to fighting for inclusion and demanding diversity.” She encourages people to support these designers in any way they can. Check out some of Monroe’s features on her Instagram page - @monroesteele.

Gracie J. – Nail Artist

Gracie J. is the creator of The Editorial Nail, “a platform for the everyday woman to keep up with nail trends relatable to their personal style." On Feb. 1st, 2018, she kicked off Nails At First Sight™: Day 1 of Black History Month. Every day in February, Gracie J. is sharing her unique creations, featuring books, art, historic events, and more, related to Black histoy. Check out some of her work on her Instagram page - @theeditorialnail.

Maya Washington – Creative Producer/Youtuber

Among her many talents, Maya is also known for her amazing makeup transformations on Youtube. This month, she is celebrating Black History Month by “transforming into fierce inspiring icons.” She channeled the iconic Josephine Baker in her first piece. - @mayasworld

Aaron Hutcherson & Meiko Drew – Food Bloggers

Aaron of The Hungry Hutch and Meiko of Meiko and the Dish, teamed up for the second annual Black History Month Virtual Potluck. In total, 28 Black food bloggers collaborated “to celebrate the diversity of black food.” Check out some of the amazing creations below. @thehungryhutch and @meikoandthedish.  

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