Strivers' Row
Strivers' Row

BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2019

HABITUAL BE

The PREMISE

Authenticity is one of our core values at Strivers’ Row. We don’t believe excellence has a uniform, and we certainly don’t believe brilliance means exclusively speak Standard English. However, Black speech is one of the most stigmatized aspects of our existence. This simply isn’t fair, or right.

Ebonics, the commonly used term for African-American Vernacular English (AAVE), is a dialect with a complex set of rules and distinctive features, despite often being called “lazy” and “sloppy.” It is the only dialect in the world with a verb tense to describe a repeated action or embodiment of a trait, known as the Habitual Be. Using an example from a famous study conducted with five-year-olds, even if the Cookie Monster is not eating a cookie at the moment, the Cookie Monster be eating cookies.

In pursuit of our passions and purposes, we all pause and sometimes get off track, but it’s special to have language to express being what we have done frequently or over time. In fact, Ebonics is special. It is different. But different does not mean deficient.


The campaign

How do you approach Black History Month with a community of people aiming for the history books themselves? You gather Strivers and friends of the family to make a declaration about the present that affirms our culture and honors those who have blazed trails for us. We aren’t new to this, our people are true to it.

Throughout Black History Month, our visuals appeared on nearly 150 Links across NYC. On Instagram, we rolled out the figures who have inspired each doer, some from past eras and others still carving out their legacy today.

To close out the celebration, we hosted a special BHM/Habitual Be edition of our networking, but not the stuffy kind, event.


PARTNERS