To kick off Black History Month, comedian Felonious Munk, whose real name is Dennis Banks, decided to challenge his online community to redefine stereotypes. In a now-viral tweet, he encouraged black men to share photos of themselves smiling.
“Today let’s share some pics of #BlackMenSmiling,” wrote Banks. “Like big goofy smiles. Happy (even if just for a moment) with life smiles. Normalize happy. #BlackHistoryMonth where your teeth at?”
Today let's share some pics of #BlackMenSmiling. Like big goofy smiles. Happy (even if just for a moment) with life smiles. Normalize happy. #BlackHistoryMonth where your teeth at? pic.twitter.com/lMmmjybfAU
— Ra'sclat Al Ghul (@Felonious_munk) February 2, 2018
In just a few hours, the hashtag was the No. 1 trending hashtag in the Twitterverse. Hundreds of people Joined the comedian posting heartwarming selfies of black men of all ages, from newborns to grandfathers, sharing a smile. Including beloved actor Terry Crews.
— Jaythoven™ (@JayWilli7) February 3, 2018
— Dr. Eddie Connor (@EddieConnorJr) February 3, 2018
— Tro’ (@Trojuan_) February 2, 2018
— Nia Jones (@Golden_girl725) February 3, 2018
In a series of tweets, Banks opened up about why he started the trend. He said it is because he noticed that he rarely smiled in photos, even if he was happy. “Just sharing joy in bhm [Black History Month],” he wrote. “Doesn’t invalidate black pain. Isn’t an attempt at being accepted or disproving anything.”
“If nothing else #BlackMenSmiling is opening my eyes to how rare it is to catch a Black man smiling on camera. It’s like we can’t leave evidence of our happiness,” Banks wrote.
The hashtag is definitely a great way to start the Black History Month celebration, and thousands of people agree.
— MOla Darling (@maurachanz) February 3, 2018
— April (@ReignOfApril) February 2, 2018
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