Black History With The Seawrights

Jalen Seawright

Jalen Seawright

Former Troy Worship Leader
I urge every parent to teach their kids about our shared history. Even if you don’t know much yourself, choose to learn with them.

Black History With The Seawrights

Many of our social media feeds have been full of two darling little girls this month.

In fact, they’ve been on local news stations, the Washington Post, and Access Hollywood. Karington and Kaidance Seawright, ages 3 and 2 respectively, have become a sensation as they celebrate Black History month in the garb and character of notable Black women from the past and present, such as Rosa Parks, Amanda Gorman, Diana Ross, Ruby Bridges, and Shirley Chisholm. We asked Jalen to share more about what the month of February has been like in the Seawright home:

More Than Dress Up

This year my wife, Keyonna, and I wanted to be able to celebrate Black History Month with our girls in an experiential way.

Karington, my oldest is 3 and a few months ago we started realizing that she was noticing the differences in skin color as she has been one of a few black kids in the Kensington staff kid care group. We wanted her to start learning about women who look like her who have changed or are changing the world.

My Heart For Reconciliation

For me, like many others, the past year has really opened my eyes. I’ve realized that when it comes to relationships and community, very little of our time and effort is spent on deeply knowing one another.

I believe in order to truly love one another (in the way that Jesus asks us to) we must first know each other. I want to dedicate my life and time to healing the divides in our world that are there simply because we do not know each other – specifically in the conversations and initiatives surrounding racial reconciliation.

So, this past month I’ve been working on my speaking, studying, meeting with mentors and leaders, and doing this nebulous work of finding my voice and place in this battle for reconciliation and equity in the metro Detroit.

We believe it is so important to start teaching children about Black History early because they begin to notice the color of their skin much earlier than we think.

I think a lot of the issues in our world today happen because people, regardless of their color, have failed to engage with our shared history. I’ve heard it said, “those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”

I want my girls to grow up knowing that the reason why they are able to experience the freedoms that they have are because of the women that came before them. And, I want them to be inspired and motivated by the black women who are making history today so they feel empowered to change the world too.

Karington as "Shirley Chisholm."

They celebrated Black History month in the garb and character of notable Black women from the past and present, such as Rosa Parks, Amanda Gorman, Diana Ross, Ruby Bridges, and Shirley Chisholm.

Dream Without Limits

Keyonna and I knew we wanted to be intentional about Black History Month and teaching our girls to dream without limits. We began by choosing women based in the metro Detroit area.

Our first figure was Rosa Parks. She lived the latter years of her life here in Detroit and the actual bus on which she refused to give up her seat to a white man is here at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. We wanted them to dress up and play pretend – pretend you are great, noble, and strong Black women.

These educational projects also needed to be experiential. We wanted to be able to go and do something. So, we went to places like the Motown Museum. We also felt it was very important to include Black women who are currently making history like Claressa Shields and Amanda Gorman. 

Media Coverage and National Interest

Our projects have gotten a lot of traction on social media and have been shared on news stories across the nation including the Today Show and E News. On Friday, February 26, the girls were featured on Access Hollywood.

The thing that especially excites me is that others are watching and learning.

Someone recently commented on a video I posted to Instagram, “I love your account! You may have thought you were teaching your girls about Black History, but you are also teaching a 50 year old white woman in Canada to read the background of the women you are featuring! Thank you!”

We are realizing that the impact we are having – just this month – stretches far beyond our two girls and beyond the month of February.

I Wish That All Americans...

African Americans have been more than just influential to our country’s success, we’ve been essential. From the involuntary work of slaves, to the voluntary contributions in industry and innovation, Black men and women have helped to build the America of today.

I wish that all Americans – no matter their skin color – would engage with Black History. Our history is shared but it’s incomplete when our stories go untold. Much is still being discovered and brought to light about Black History because documentation was a low priority during the times our nation considered Black men and women as less-than-human.

Black History is American History.

Jalen is a part of the Kensington community, former Director of Worship Arts at Troy campus, and often shares his gift of music from stage at churches in metro Detroit. When not making music and talking with local leaders about racial reconciliation, he can be found cooking! One of his recent ventures is a cooking show – follow Jalen on Instagram at seawright__

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