Understanding Black Excellence
LAST UPDATED: 21 APRIL 2021
Black Excellence is the term used to praise Black individuals for their accomplishments. Many do it in passing, on social media or even weekly on podcasts to constantly praise different individuals in the community. Black people striving to be and do better daily alone is excellent. We at B.E.N want to help the next generation of Black individuals reach their own definitions of excellence.
“The definition of Black Excellence by B.E.N is ‘the prosperity and positive accomplishments of people in the Black community.’ Others have used words such as ‘progress’, ‘representation’, ‘empowerment’, ‘inspiration’ ‘success’ and ‘unity’ to describe what Black Excellence is. “
Personally, I see the term as a form of praise and acknowledgement given to people in the Black community for the accomplishments they have made or are making.
All these definitions encapsulate the origins of the term and what we want it to be but is Black Excellence recognised as this now?
Society tends to pick and choose when to use the term Black Excellence, if the career revolves around achievement in academia specifically STEM subjects, prestigious institutions, conventional careers and many more professions like these this term is likely to be used. In our own small environments, we may not see or feel like this is true. I myself am surrounded by creatives and I do see the term Black Excellence used for people in such professions. However, this term only reaches a larger audience or receives larger praise when the achievement correlates with what is widely acknowledged in the mainstream. So we can understand why some may not like this term as sometimes it can feel like Black Excellence is only for specific people in the community.
This being said, we cannot dismiss the need for Black Excellence as Black people are not given the accolades they deserve by wider society. So we must let each other know that we see one another. That our achievements are not just passing over our heads and that we are not ignoring them either. It is needed and should be used for all Black people who are trying to be and do the best they can, whether in their careers or personal life.
This means that Black Excellence is not subjected to academia but is for all types of greatness. It also means that just because we can recognise and acknowledge those who are accomplishing great things this does not mean our work is done. I see the term as a support system, one that is needed in our community, to encourage and lift up one another. It does not eradicate oppression neither does it change the system that we live in but changes the hearts and minds of people. It may inspire equal access but it does not solely create this access that is needed.
“Black people have achieved so much all around the world and it is only right that we should acknowledge them and their work. As well as understanding that Black Excellence alone will not solve the injustices that we face.”
– Olamide Taiwo
So what can you do?
Support – Supporting Black organisations and businesses is a form of awarding Black Excellence. You’re letting that organisation know you stand and support them, this encourages them to keep going and to do more.
Donate – Donating to causes and organisations like B.E.N, which aim to uplift the voices of Black individuals.
Educate – Educating yourselves and others about the injustices that all Black people face in society. Solidarity with no knowledge will result in no action against such injustices.
LAST UPDATED: 21 APRIL 2021
My name is Olamide and I am BEN’s new blogger. I am a first-year at the University of Oxford, St Anne’s College studying Classics.
My aspirations for BEN’s blog is to show Black Excellence in its entirety. Excellence in the Black community exceeds what we believe and see it to be, by merging the creative and non-mainstream industries with the already academic side of BEN we will be able to see this.