Black History Month has reached it’s midway point, which means that celebrations are still in abundance throughout the nation. One of the must attend events to hit up when it comes to your town is the AT&T 28 Days speaker series.
The series kicked off on Thursday, February 7th at the historic Lincoln Theater in Washington, DC. What a fitting place to have this Black History Month event, as the venue is located on the historic U Street, which in the past was known as DC’s Black Broadway for it’s rich Black entertainment culture.
AT&T 28 Days host, comedian and nationally-syndicated radio personality Rickey Smiley, kept the crowd in stitches. Smiley mixed is southern humor with southern Black pride, as he reflected on the days of growing up as a young boy in Birmingham, Alabama and how much Black history has helped shaped him.
“Black History Month means everything to to me,” said Smiley in a video press conference held the day before at the AT&T Innovation Center. “I do comedy, but I have a serious side. When it comes to Civil Rights, I take it very serious.”
The featured speaker of the night, activist and author Kevin Powell, takes it very serious as well. Powell is known for bringing a balance of political views mixed with an hip-hop perspective.
“The same passion you have about Beyonce’ lip synching is the same passion that you should have for your history,” he said during the AT&T 28 Days press conference.
Powell also revealed that growing up as a kid in New York, he did not know much about Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks, and didn’t know who Malcolm X was at all. With such limited knowledge as a youth, Powell is determined as an adult to make sure that other young African-Americans don’t grow up knowing as little as he did.
The sharp-dressed Powell hit the stage delivering motivating words that left everyone in the Lincoln Theater ready to start a revolution. His speech had the swagger of a Southern Baptist preacher meshed with the grittiness of a hip-hop b-boy from the hood. Powell touched on everything from being raised by a single mother, to changing his poor eating habits and living a now healthier lifestyle.
One of the biggest points that Powell hit on is that African-Americans need to have more dialogue with each other about problems in our community.
“We need to create spaces where we have conversation about what is really happening in our community and figure out ways to come up with solutions and not just say ‘Well, that’s just the way it is’,” said Powell.
The AT&T 28 Days speaker series makes it way across the country through February, and will feature other notable guests such as legendary rapper MC Lyte, soul singer Elle Varner, MSNBC’s Jeff Johnson, and many more. Visti www.att.com/28Days for full schedule and details. And stay tuned as DCMumboSauce will be giving away an AT&T 28 Days prize pack.