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Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Quincy Jones Quote and Global Racism Inspires Historic Trilingual Black History Calendar

Nathaniel Biko, creator of trilingual Black history calendar

Nationwide — Nathaniel Biko marveled at his friend Tshalinu Kala, who whenever they would get together would give him some powerful information out of Black history, either about an event or a person of significance. At one point he told his friend, you must put this into a calendar of some sort so that there can be one source for all this information, instead of me waiting to meet with you again.

An idea was born and Kala elicited the help of his friend in the project. It ended up becoming a very special partnership built on a passion for recalling Black excellence.

“The things he was talking about I literally have rarely seen…. anywhere!” says Biko. “It is amazing to think in 2020 it’s still very difficult to find positive unapologetic Black products and images.”

Nathaniel and Tshalinu realized they were on to something special. This was not just about creating a calendar it was an opportunity to document Black excellence in a useful way that everyone could appreciate. He recounted, “I remember watching a documentary when Michael Jackson died.” It was talking about the story of the making of the Thriller album. In it, Rod Temperton, who was a main songwriter for the project talked about the day that Quincy Jones walked in. He told all the musicians: “Listen… we are not just making music here; we are making history!” According to Temperton, the room changed, and you could feel some of them shaking with a fear of what that could mean, but they rose to the occasion and they delivered Thriller. The rest as they say is history…. over 100 million albums later.

As the calendar was developing, they were constantly reminding themselves of the quote from Quincy Jones, “We are making history.” This idea became critically important as they were inspired to do the calendar in three languages. They decided creative input would be represented from a Black person in the UK, one in North Carolina, one in Belgium and one in Mexico as well as people from African countries including Nigeria and Kenya making the project truly Pan-African. In doing this they were fulfilling one of the dreams of Marcus Garvey, of Black people from different parts of the world working together.

Things become more challenging though, when they were trying to put the calendar together after compiling the images and information. The went to a popular outsource site only to be turned down because of their positive Black content. Nobody wanted to work on the project once they saw Black images Biko recounts. As a matter of fact, when they told one designer that the calendar was based on an African calendar the freelancer suggested to them that Africans don’t have a calendar. Another one they tried to work with saw the powerful Black images that they had showed him and decided to help them out by putting white images in their place on the calendar. Furthermore, when they finally found someone who could put the calendar together, they got rejected by companies on three different continents, all refusing to print positive Black images which they labeled racist. Even the Black-owned companies were quietly declining to work on the project Nathaniel believes out of fear of the ramifications of producing something unapologetically Black.

Finally, they had to turn to China and that’s where they got the printing done. It took extra patience and commitment to create history, and finally get this calendar done which has already been endorsed by Runoko Rashidi noted African Historian out of the US, Doumbi Fakoly Writer and African Religion Specialist of Mali, Marco Polo Hernandez Cuevas Afro Mexican Professor at Temple University, Kalala Omotunde, an African Historian from Guadeloupe, Israel Reyes Larrea, Afro Mexican based in Mexico and head of Africa AC – an organization leading the fight for recognition of Afro-Mexicans.

Nathaniel sees this calendar as an invaluable reference for anyone who educates children or who knows the importance of instilling pride as an antidote to the scourge of negative self-hate reinforcing images that await our children in popular culture.

As a way of ensuring access to all Kala set up the website in a way that anyone could download a free sample of the calendar to get a glimpse of how important it could be to your children’s educational repertoire or you can order it and have it shipped to your door. The bottom line for him is to continue the tradition of raising greatness in our young ones so that they one day make history themselves. We must first reveal the legacy of history makers in the Black world. Kamit Kalenda is one very powerful tool in that arsenal.

Nathaniel Biko and Tshalinu Kala are the creators of Kamit Kalenda, a first of its kind trilingual Black History calendar. For more information or to schedule them for an interview, please contact Marcus Malcolm at (404) 720-8120 or infos@kamitkalenda.com . You can also follow them on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter.


Marcus Malcolm
(404) 720-8120