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*BLD is not something for African-American´s ONLY. All are encouraged to consider this celebration*  

Nya Akoma - (pronounced Knee ah Ah-coma) is the slogan and greeting used on BLD, meaning “Get a heart! Be patient!”

Traditionally, February 14th is a day when men & women all over declare the day a day for lovers & love. A day in which it's not uncommon to get a card, candy, flowers and for some lucky women, an engagement ring. A premature version of Valentine's Day, Black Love Day (BLD) held a day before on the 13th, is a commemorative, holiday or “wholly” day of observance, celebration, reconciliation, forgiveness, atonement and demonstration of love within & for the Black community.

The concept behind Black Love Day was established in 1993, by Ms. Ayo Kendi. Feeling the strong need & desire for more expressions of "black love" among those in the community, Ms. Kendi quickly organized the first Black Love Day public observance in Northeast, Washington, DC. Her idea, vision & efforts were widely accepted by the public and the media in its inaugural celebration. With this success, the following year, BLD became an official day of recognition, observance and celebration by Mayoral Proclamation in DC.

Black Love Day is meant to serve as an alternative to Valentine's Day. BLD is meant to be a celebration of all Black relationships...from self-love first to love for the family to love for the community & the race to finally love for The Creator. Instead of the trademark colors of red & pink for Valentine's Day, people should wear or display the color purple for spirituality or black which is the blend of all of the colors.

Just as how Kwanzaa is growing & being observed more by blacks, Black Love Day is being recognized & accepted by more in the community every year. To many, it's a refreshing break from the commercialism of the traditional "love in the month of February" celebration.

The objectives of Black Love Day are as follows:

1. To establish a day to focus on love in order to rejuvenate all of our relationships

2. To demonstrate love in action and service by performing at least five (5) specific loving acts - Love for the Creator, love for self, love for the family, love for the community, and love for the Black race

3. To create new traditions that are based on our African and African-American culture to provide an alternative to Valentine´s Day

So if Black Love Day is all about "love" like Valentine's Day, why celebrate it? BLD offers more than romance and tokens of affection as on Valentine´s Day. On BLD, love is demonstrated through service, celebration, rituals of forgiveness and public reconciliation. Participants of Black Love Day are expected to involve themselves in the performance of 5 specific acts of love within the 24 hours of February 13th.

Black Love Day Pledge:

To show love for The Creater
To love myself first and to erase all traces of self- hatred for when I love myself, I therefore can love others.
To develop moral principles to stand for
To forgive myself for past acts of unloving behavior and move on
To show love for my family
To show love for my community
To show love for the race
To show love for myself, the community, and the race
To commit to the "Nguzo Saba" (The 7 Principles of Blackness) and to practice these principles on a daily and year-long basis not just during Kwanzaa: Umoja - Unity; Kujichagalia - Self Determination; Ujima - Collective Work and Responsibility; Ujamaa - Cooperative Economic; Nia - Purpose; Kuumba - Creativity; Imani - Faith.

African American Culture Site
Ruthe McDonald
BellaOnline’s African American Culture Editor
Guest Author - Stephanie L. Ogle


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