Historical & Current Events dictionary

Black excellence

or Black Excellence or #BlackExcellence [ blak ek-suh-luhns ]

What does Black excellence mean?

The term Black excellence refers to a high level of achievement, success, or ability demonstrated by an individual Black person or by Black people in general.

The term is often used to highlight and celebrate specific examples of such achievements and abilities, especially as the hashtag #BlackExcellence.

In some cases, the term is used to refer to an aspiration or goal to be achieved, or to a mindset used in the pursuit of such success.

The term Black excellence is sometimes used in discussions about the disproportionately high levels of work that Black people must do and the abilities they must have to achieve the same success as white people as a result of the anti-Black racism and oppression of white supremacy.

Relatedly, the concept is sometimes discussed in critical contexts that point out that people who are considered to exhibit Black excellence often face unreasonably high expectations and standards, especially when they are held up as representative of the entire Black community. In this way, anything less than excellence or perfection may be viewed as failure, creating an impossible standard. Such pressure is often discussed as being detrimental to mental health and overall wellbeing.

Still, the term itself is typically used in a positive way in the context of the achievements and success of Black people. This is especially the case when it’s used as a hashtag.

Black excellence is often used in the same contexts and in similar ways as other positivity-focused terms like Black joy and Black Girl Magic.

Related words

Black History Month, Black joy, Black Girl Magic

Where does Black excellence come from?

scientist in a lab, blue filter.

The term Black excellence as it’s defined here has been used since at least the 1970s, emerging alongside other similarly structured terms, such as Black power, that grew out of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. However, the concept that Black excellence refers to can be traced to the writings of many earlier Black thinkers.

Use of the term greatly has increased in the 2000s, likely due in part to its use as a hashtag.

Examples of Black excellence

Serena Williams is the greatest athlete of all time. Naomi Osaka has a bright future ahead of her. I’m glad I’ve had the chance to watch both of them. I’ll continue to do so. Black excellence will always be the wave.
@XLNB, September 8, 2018
The Games will continue to go on with Black Excellence remaining very much alive and well. The performances will indeed be impressive, even more so when you consider their exceptional play comes at a time when the Olympic Games’ leaders would much rather muzzle their voices when it comes to social justice.
A. Sherrod Blakely, Ebony, August 4, 2021

Who uses Black excellence?

The term Black excellence is often used by Black people to highlight and celebrate the accomplishments and abilities of other Black people, especially as a hashtag on social media.



Just Added

Black Music Appreciation Month, Older Americans Month, Mental Health Awareness Month, Jewish American Heritage Month, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month


This is not meant to be a formal definition of Black excellence like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of Black excellence that will help our users expand their word mastery.