The first day of February traditionally marks the start of Black History Month, but Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace doesn't believe in that name.
"When you look up 'Black' in the dictionary, what do you see?" World Peace asks.
Merriam-Webster offers several definitions for the word, including "of the color black," "dirty, soiled," "thoroughly sinister or evil," and "very sad, gloomy." In an example, the dictionary even uses, "His face was black with rage." After listing the definitions of the word next to his exuberant personality, World Peace points to his dark black shirt and says, "If I'm not the color and I'm definitely not the definition, then, I don't know how I am black."
It's true that the black shirt did not match World Peace's tan skin, but the observation would likely end there for most people. As a reminder, World Peace is not like most people. The socially conscious and publicly outspoken personality decided he wanted to share his concept of "Brown History Month" with a discussion in a classroom on the campus of UCLA.
"I'd rather be a person of love," World Peace explains why he identifies with "Brown History Month" rather than Black History Month. "It's all shades of brown. I think we're all shades of love, the love color—which is brown."
For "brown," Merriam-Webster offers the definition of "Having color like coffee or chocolate" and "having dark or tanned skin."
World Peace clings to this definition when he explains his stance, "Black history: that means we have a problem. That means it's a person with rage's history, when I'd rather have chocolate history or love history."
This, however, is only a small aspect of World Peace's uniquely thought out world view, which derives from a rehabilitated life that could have turned out so, so differently. As he tells it, his family business was selling drugs. By the age of 13, World Peace, known as Ron Artest at the time, says he had learned how to cook and sell crack cocaine.
"My family had no other way to eat," World Peace says, while explaining that he doesn't agree with the drug glorifying lyrical content of modern music. "But it's not cool to glorify it because there's nothing cool about it."
Of course, he openly admits to using misogynistic lyrics on records he made when he was younger, but World Peace regrets those words. While he won't play that type of music in his car anymore, the 36-year-old will still dance to those types of songs at the club because he likes going to the club, obviously.
Like Kobe Bryant, World Peace meditates. Unlike Bryant, World Peace took time to lead meditation classes with inmates at San Quentin State Prison. As World Peace put it, meditation "changed my life," and the positive feedback he received from prisoners serving life sentences had an impact on his own outlook.
"It needs to change in prevention," World Peace says. "You can't wait until people are in jail to try and change them. You got to do it now."
Over the course of several hours of talking on preset historical and cultural topics with interviewer Drea Avent and taking questions from the audience, World Peace's proactive outlook becomes increasingly clear. Why is he speaking for "Brown History Month?" He believes in bringing attention to issues before they become hot button topics that require attention. In his own way, World Peace is doing his part to better his community by donating his time and donating his positive thoughts.
"Brown History Month" serves as a platform for World Peace to have a positive impact and discuss issues that deserve attention. So, for all 29 days of February, World Peace is celebrating "Brown History Month" with daily videos touching various topic on his Youtube Page. You can see the first video below: