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60 Seconds of Blackness

Grad student creates social video project in honor of Black History Month


A BU graduate student has put her considerable poetic talents to work in honor of Black History Month. Since the beginning of February, Lynae Bogues has tweeted out daily one-minute spoken-word videos about famous African Americans and issues facing African Americans for a project she’s named “60 Seconds of Blackness.”

“One thing I’m learning is there’s a whole lot we don’t know; there are a lot of holes and gaps, and a lot of popular history that has been told incorrectly,” says Bogues (GRS’18), who is earning her master’s in African American studies. “This project is the perfect opportunity to do something and use what I came to school for; that is, learn what I can in the classroom and transform it in ways that makes it accessible to people who don’t have access to a classroom.”

By way of example, in the video she posted last Monday, Bogues shared that Harriet Tubman led more than 300 slaves to freedom, something most kids learn in elementary school. But she included a little-known fact: that Tubman did so while suffering from epilepsy and narcolepsy.

Bogues’ Valentine’s Day post was dedicated to strong black marriages, like the Obamas’ and Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s. But she also paid tribute to a less well-known marriage, that of Dred and Harriet Scott. “We have all heard of the Dred Scott decision, where Dred sued for his freedom after traveling to a free state with his master,” Bogues says, looking straight into the camera. “But little do people know that his wife Harriet filed a suit first and pushed Dred to file a suit for himself. Harriet’s case was dropped, which largely had to do with her being a woman, but Dred’s case went to the Supreme Court, but they found that the black man had no laws that the white man was bound to respect.”

Bogues has written her own poetry since she was seven and says the idea for the project came to her as she was looking for a way to publicize her poetry. It takes her about 10 minutes to decide what she wants that day’s post to be about, and then she spends up to an hour recording, trying to fit everything into a taut 60 seconds without fumbling over her words.

She sees the project as a complement to her current research at BU: critical race theory and black feminist theory. She intends to “analyze the impact of historicized social oppressions and their impact on the formation and manifestation of black masculine and feminist ideals.”

“I would like to decipher how these identities interact, engage, and behave, and understand how those interactions influence capacities for black intimacy,” she continues. Bogues hopes to eventually become a professor, and published author and poet, and says “being an activist is going to be embedded in that.”

The 60 Seconds of Blackness Project is Bogues’ way, she says, of encouraging others to discover little-known African American heroes and clear up misconceptions that people take as fact. “With the Black Panther movie coming out, we’re learning that representation matters, and the more we know, the more we know is possible,” she says.

Amy Laskowski, Senior Writer at Boston University Marketing & Communications editorial department
Amy Laskowski

Amy Laskowski can be reached at amlaskow@bu.edu.

6 Comments on 60 Seconds of Blackness

  • Randy Ellis on 02.21.2018 at 6:57 am

    the four videos posted here are excellent. Well done Lynae.
    Where can the other postings in this series be found?
    When I google
    Lynae Bogue “sixty seconds of blackness”
    I only get this BU Today link.

    Thanks for helping publicize this interesting work.

    • Lynae Bogues on 02.21.2018 at 7:41 am

      Hello Randy, thank you for your kind words and encouragement. The rest of my videos can be found on my Twitter page at the handle @_lyneezy. Thank you in advance for watching!

  • Dan on 02.21.2018 at 8:46 am

    Great story about a great project!

  • Foreign citizen on 02.21.2018 at 5:14 pm

    How about instead trying to educate the audience about the modern day slavery that is alive and well in Africa and the Middle East? Or maybe that’s too in-PC to be discussed at the university campus?

  • amab on 02.21.2018 at 7:34 pm

    Honestly a really great piece. Keep up the good work both Amy and Lynae. Even though I do not have twitter I will look out for the rest of your videos. Very educational and interesting! :)

  • cangel on 02.22.2018 at 9:22 am

    I love this and thank you for sharing!!!

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