Here at Maison Septem, we celebrate US Black History Month. You may wonder the reason since our founders are not African Americans. Our founders lived in several countries, different continents, and guess what, they are black. One of our founder’s lived shortly in the US, where he was confronted with ignorant racism. We celebrate Black History Month because we are deeply influenced by black American culture, and we also share the struggle of being judged based on our skin color.
These life experiences taught our founders the value of resilience. Things move when someone starts challenging the status quo. By refusing to comply to segregation on the bus, Rosa Parks challenged the racial norms in her time. Anyone has the potential to make a difference.
Originated in the US and prevalent in Canada and the UK as well, Black History Month allows us to focus on memorializing black achievements together with the world.
People of color have been facing a grim environment in the USA for decades. Because black people were misunderstood and overlooked in a society that was rife with racism, the world was silent about their achievements.
Carter G. Woodson started the movement to celebrate black history, with the intent to bring people's attention to the contributions of black people to the history and culture of the United States.
The movement gained recognition, and many universities recognized Black History Month by the 1960s. Later, President Gerald Ford officialized the event in 1976 and encouraged the public to do so.
Since then, honoring Black History Month has become a tradition. Each celebration has been focused on a particular theme related to black culture.
This coming month, we celebrate black achievements together with Maison Septem, our luxury start-up proudly founded by black entrepreneurs.
“So basically, we felt the need to address this matter this year due to our personal experience in the world of luxury. It made me realize how important it is to believe in my dreams and fight for them. A lot of African Americans are originally from Africa, just like me and despite whichever obstacles we are facing as part of the black community, it's only up to us to make the choice to become whoever we really want to be. Most of the great black personalities made history by going against all odds, trusting what they thought was the right thing to do. And today, there are honored, having their names given to streets, universities, foundations, and so on, thanks to their actions which impact the world that we are living in. This has been a motivation to take on projects in order to uplift our own circle and support black communities. We hope to build a future forward together”, according to one of our co-founders.
The African Diaspora
Even though black people are descendants of Africa, it can be difficult to define one's identity when it comes down to individuals.
Despite differences in their locations and regions, African Americans are part of one ethnocultural, and linguistic community based on the same racial origin. Most do not see themselves as products of a diaspora trying to integrate into American society. Most African Americans consider themselves Americans. They are the only people whose ancestors came to America against their will.
By contrast, Africans regard themselves as migrants in America.
The consciousness of an African diaspora is a topic that has been recently raised to awareness. This describes a collective consciousness of black people living in the Western Hemisphere who see themselves as Africans and seek to find their African roots. They also view their destiny in the same way as Africans.
Since the beginning of the 19th century, black Americans in America had argued that slavery should be abolished. They would not be able to live a happy and free life in the United States, where racism is so severe.
The Pan-African Conference in London, which took place in July 1900, was what made the term Pan-Africa and this concept popular.
To dispel any prejudices against Africa, the conference spoke loudly about Africa's rich history and civilization, in an effort to counter the discriminatory discourse against people of African descent in the 19th century.
Exploring cultural identities that come with the diaspora
With emigration out of the African continent in different historical periods of time, people of African descent in different regions and continents have formed their distinctive identities and cultural consciousness.
Being black in Europe engenders a different experience than being black in America, while an African American person traveling to the continent of Africa might have a shocking cultural experience or the biggest spiritual connection ever.
Oftentimes, being of African descent, being in your own skin can call for different reactions when you live in different countries.
Having studied extensively in France, one of our co-founders also had the chance to spend 3 years in the US and Canada. The experience in these two countries were the polar opposites, with the US being tougher for a young black kid, demanding anyone to prove his worth.
While the other co-founder, born and raised in France, had to learn how to navigate in a world where unconscious bias and sometimes blatant racism were a constant obstacle. She wanted to prove the bigots wrong. Despite being told to undertake a menial profession in middle school, our co-founder, encouraged by her proud African father, insisted that she had better potential. Against prejudices and adversity, she eventually obtained a law degree through perseverance and resilience. Today, she is a proud qualified French lawyer.
Maison Septem celebrates Black History Month together with you. We honor your achievements, and we encourage you to not hold back in the celebration of your meaningful milestones in life.