Artist: Who needs ‘Black History Month’?

Hank Willis Thomas has a problem with the way blacks have been exploited in advertising (and he also has a problem with Black History Month). Catch him at the Brooklyn Museum on Feb. 5.

Take your Black History Month and shove it.

This imperative comes, ironically, from the star of this Saturday’s “Black History Month” program at the Brooklyn Museum, a night that will feature music, films and, apparently, frank talk.

“The focus on African-American history is so plain in the United States,” said artist Hank Willis Thomas, whose Feb. 5 talk will focus on the way blacks have been portrayed in advertising. “We were written out of history books and then someone felt the need to write us back in, so they created a month to honor that legacy.”

Thomas’s exhibit, called “Unbranded,” features advertisements from 1968 to 2008. To look at the ads is to see how the ad world exploits and markets to blacks. But on Saturday night, Thomas says he wants to do more than lecture.

“I wasn’t around for a lot of the advertisements I found,” he explained. “So I’m interested in hearing from the people who have experienced them when they were displayed.”

And in hosting the event, Thomas hopes to play a small role in never having to host one again.

“One day, I hope the history books will tell everyone’s stories — and our history will just be considered American history,” Thomas said.

Celebrating Black History Month at the Brooklyn Museum [200 Eastern Pkwy. at Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights, (718) 638-5000], Free. Feb. 5, 5-11 pm. For info, visit www.brooklynmuseum.org.

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