#BlackMenSmiling helps kick off Black History Month

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then these are sending quite the message.

Comedian Dennis Banks, who goes by Felonious Munk, started sharing the hash tag #BlackMenSmiling on Twitter after looking through his own pictures and realizing he was not smiling.

“In places where I’m definitely happy, like I remember that as a happy time, my face didn’t reflect that. I looked like I was trying to be cool or trying to intimidate someone behind the camera.

So he tweeted, “Today let's share some pics of #BlackMenSmiling Like big goofy smiles. Happy (even if just for a moment) with life smiles. Normalize happy. #BlackHistoryMonth where your teeth at?”

With that, the smiles started showing — lots of them.

Pictures of President Barack Obama, writer James Baldwin, Nelson Mandela, and Malcolm X and Martin Luther King shaking hands, came through the thread.

Even entertainers Terry Crews, Ice Cube and Kevin Hart got in on the fun.

Most of the photos are not celebrities or the politicians, though. They’re just normal guys getting their grin on, which Banks said, depending on your circumstances, isn’t always easy to do.

“You don’t have time or the opportunity to be happy if you’re poor or if your struggling or if you’re in the wrong environment, but the counter to that is sometimes joy is the only thing keeping you afloat in those difficult moments,” the comedian said.

On Friday, the hashtag #BlackMenSmiling was trending.

If you want to see more of these pictures, check out the Twitter and Instagram handles @blackmensmile.