I recently watched a video of a young woman that was ashamed of her mother because she was black. The young lady was light skinned and associated herself with Caucasians. She made it known that she’s always been ashamed of her mother because she cleaned white people’s houses and didn’t have an education. She referred to her mother as “those” people.

When I first watched the video, I wanted to jump through the phone and whoop her ass. I mean, fresh out the shower, skin still wet, leather belt, type of ass whooping. My blood was boiling from this young woman’s disrespect. However, the second time I watched it, my perspective changed.

This mother cleaned homes, among other things, to ensure her daughter attended the best schools, received the best education and was college educated; something she was not. She did so much to put her in the circle of “elites” that she adversely impacted her knowledge of who she was, where she came from and her culture. This is something that I think has happened to quite a few African Americans. However, my theory is if people know the greatness they come from, they wouldn’t be ashamed or embarrassed of their people; they wouldn’t want to disassociate themselves from “those” people.

I was blessed to attend a private Christian school that was founded by a black man that ensured students were taught black history as a part of the curriculum. We pledged allegiance to the African American flag EVERY morning, along with the Christian and American flag. We learned about black inventors, writers and musicians. At a young age, I knew that the majority of the enhancements to this country were because of black people. Home security? A black woman. Thermostat? A black woman. Caller ID? A black woman. Air conditioner? A black man. IBM computers? Ablack man. Voice Over Internet Protocol? A black woman. Automatic elevator doors? A black man.

We even had to watch movies about slavery.

When talking with my dad about this, he said, “I’m grateful they allowed you all to watch those films, but I’m tired of seeing slave movies.” I understood where he was coming from, but the reality is if we stop recreating them, the generations after us won’t know about our race’s struggles or achievements. Society will have these children believing they don’t have a culture — believing foolery like, Christopher Columbus discovered America and the Kardashians are the creators of cornrows.

It’s up to us to teach the next generations about what our people created, helped invent and patented for this country. It’s up to us to teach the next generations how our ideas and creations were stolen, and how the media has a way of making it look like “they wear our black better than us!” (Crystal Valentine & Aaliyah Jijhad, Hide Your Shea Butter). Unlike the young woman mentioned earlier, take the time to learn about your culture, its struggles and its achievements. Learn about the greatness you come from.

“When I hear the Power of Your Melanin, I think of strength and resilience. For decades, we’ve seen our men and women bend backwards in the word of survival. We have something in us that no other race does and that’s the power to withstand.”

— Jasmine

“When I hear of the Power of Your Melanin, I truly think of every strong black fierce individual that paved the way for us to be where we are now. I am often sad but overly grateful to be apart of a race that has been torn down to shreds but we strive for excellence in everything we do! We are literally made from gold! I wasn’t proud to be black until I started realize who I was and whose I was.”

— Blessing

Your melanin is more than pigmentation. The blood that runs through your veins, is far from average. You come from creators, inventors, fighters and greatness. You come from royalty. I challenge you not to be proud just because of the social media hype (#BlackLivesMatter, #BlackisBeautiful, #BlackGirlMagic and #BlackBoyJoy). Be proud because you genuinely know the power you possess and what it means to be black. You are so powerful that the world felt it necessary to tear our families apart and dump drugs in our communities, so we could become our own enemies and use badges to justify genocide. Understand that you fill needs and enhance communities. There is POWER in your melanin. You are culture. So, whenever you hear, “Make America great again,” respond with, “It was great from the beginning, because we built it!”