Black History Month has been full of moments that have placed themselves into the pages of our lives. Beyonce, Cam Newton and Von Miller are representatives of how amazing this month has been by consistently raising the bar of achievement higher and showing the world what black people have the ability to do. Jurnee Smollett-Bell is surely included in this list of greats because of what she represents. As a child of interracial parents she has grown from the ranks of being a child star to one of the most consistent a respected actresses of her generation. Recently, Jurnee made a visit to Chicago in order to take part in the Macy’s Black History Month celebration and to also promote her new series on WGN titled “Underground.” The series focuses on the the Underground Railroad from the slaves and abolitionists’ perspectives. It is a period piece with a modern feel similar to that of Django, as it uses music from modern times. Kanye West’s song “New Slaves” plays in the opening sequence.
Television personality/journalist Robin Robinson hosted the evening and helped to moderate a panel discussion that consisted of Jurnee and actress Serayah from the hit show “Empire.” When asked about her thoughts on Black history, Smollett-Bell explained her heritage and how she is very proud to be who she is. Her mother is from New Orleans and her Dad is a Jewish man of Russian and Polish descent; the two met during the Civil Rights movements. In an interview she did with Macy’s, Smollett-Bell says, “I have a complex heritage: my mom is African American and my dad is Jewish. Both were activists and they met during the movement in the ’70s. I’ve always been proud that I come from people who were activists, who have this indomitable spirit. I am proud to have inherited the spirit of resistance and revolution.”
Serayah performed one of her songs from “Empire” and Smollet-Bell’s brother Jussie Smollet surprised his sister and fans by showing up to support her during the event. After the panel, Smollet-Bell was gracious enough to take pictures with the guests.