Black History Month: An Introduction to African American History & Culture

Filed Under: Best Practices, Market Research, Black / African American


Ashleigh Williams

Senior Director, Online Qualitative Research

As you may know, February marks Black History Month in American culture. Within today’s context, this time of the year has an even greater meaning for many in this country, as the momentous social dynamics and political events elevate the awareness of racial and ethnic discourses. While minorities have historically been unrepresented or misrepresented in media, they have had an enormous influence and made meaningful contributions to societal trends and traditions that are current today. It should come as no surprise to some that African rhythmic tribal beats have preceded the birth of many music genres that have defined popular culture and shaped many generations, including: rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and jazz, just to name a few. Nevertheless, the contributions and impact of the Black/African-American collective and various other cultural groups often go unnoticed as they become part of mainstream America. In marketing and market research in particular, it is important to understand the root and nuances of these influences and patterns in order to get a good handle on how they touch other cultural groups, effectively becoming a multicultural phenomenon.

At the core, Black History Month is more than a focus on Blacks in America, but an introspective moment set aside to understand basic human empathy and a remembrance of the struggles that are met in the journey to achieving universal rights for all people, regardless of their innate characteristics. It not only honors overcoming these struggles but also the strong vibrancy of a people and the achievements they have contributed to help build this society. In that sense, for market researchers and the marketing community, Black History Month is not about marketing; it is about understanding each other. It’s about building a genuine sense of empathy.

To partake in the celebration of this month, join us for a series of blog posts that will highlight specific lifestyle dimensions within this group, to discuss context (past and present) and how we think marketers can leverage these insights to bring value to their brands that communicate not only with this community but with cultural groups who are affected by their struggles, triumphs, and daily cultural practice.

To start you off, we invite you to view our video, “Being African-American”; a short, yet powerful, look at the opinions of millennial African-Americans or view our infographic highlighting information on Black History Month and what it means for marketers. And, join us every week this month as we touch on various topics that are important to the African-American culture and as we share insights into how marketers can better speak to these consumers through their products and marketing.

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