HAPPY NEW YEAR! We’ve officially made it through the first week of 2017. I can tell you I’m looking forward to some new breakthroughs this year along with a few disappointments. In fact, one of those upsets will occur as soon as January 20th! Anyhow, before we can fully appreciate the awesomeness that I’m going to claim for 2017, I have to look back at the moments in 2016 that Blacks rocked and shocked. Grab a cup of hot tea, sit back and relax and recollect the top 10 Black moments in 2016 with me.
Nate Parker, Birth of a Nation VS the World
Ever since Nate Parker began to promote his film Birth of a Nation, his past became more important than the film. Nate wrote, directed and starred in this movie which was a true story about a slave that led a historic rebellion. A movie that was supposed to teach Blacks and others about not just slavery but also perseverance was over-shadowed by Nate’s rape allegations that occurred almost two decades ago. He was acquitted of the charges and rebounded but the movie did not.
Undoubtedly, two of the most prolific entertainers/activists were called Home in 2016. Muhammad Ali “The Greatest” died in June 2016. His death at the age of 74 was attributed to complications of Parkinson’s disease. The iconic Prince died in April of the same year at the age of 57. Speculations were and still are swirling around his death. The cause of death was ultimately declared as an overdose.
Opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture
After 13 years of hard work, it has finally came to fruition. The National Museum of African American History and Culture opened its doors in 2016. The historic landmark which is located in Washington D.C. features some of the most compelling, tear-jerking reminders of the cruelty and inequality Blacks dealt with in the past.
The #BankBlack Movement
In light of the increase of police involved shootings of unarmed Black men, a massive call to action by celebrities, community leaders and the like called for Blacks to move their money to Black banks. Doing so will grow funds at the banks which will allow them to loan money to under-served Blacks for a business, new home, etc. thus creating more Black wealth in our communities. Check out a list of Black owned banks in your area here.
Back in April 2016, Queen Bey blessed us with a visual project that debuted on HBO titled Lemonade and then her album dropped shortly thereafter. There’s no question that this project had everyone buzzing! Had every chick side-eyeing her man and even had Rachel Roy ducking for cover as the BeyHive swarmed in on her like killer bees after it was assumed that she was the “Becky with the good hair” in Bey’s hit song “Sorry.”
#BlackGirlMagic at 2016 Olympics in Rio
Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Simone Manuel, Claressa Shields and several other talented Black females showed up and showed out at the 2016 Olympics. #BlackGirlMagic was in full effect as these women set and broke records in gymnastics, boxing, track and swimming. Can you say #BlackGirlsBeWinning?
Finally, a show WE can relate to! Insecure debuted in 2016. It’s a must-see for all women, particularly African-American. Insecure tackles everything from being Black women working in Corporate America to fitting in with other Blacks to dating in a society obsessed with small brains, pretty faces, big boobs and even bigger butts. Issa packages all of these topics in an upbeat, relatable, comedic manner. Look out for Season 2!
Jesse Williams’ BET Humanitarian Award Acceptance Speech
Who can forget the powerful speech Jesse delivered at the 2016 BET awards? Although he may be a fair-skinned, blue eyed, handsome man of mixed race, he recognizes the sacrifices of Black women, the injustices Black people face as well the need for those getting money and in positions of influence and power to do more. Reading the transcript of his speech still gives me goosebumps. See for yourself here.
Colin Kaepernick Takes a Knee
One of the most talked about moments of 2016 was undeniably the moment that Colin refused to stand for the National Anthem. Instead, he chose to take a knee and vowed to continue to do so until racial injustices subside.
Death of Philando Castile Captured on Facebook Live
July 6, 2016 is a day that not only the girlfriend of Philando will never forget but also millions of others across the world that witnessed a law-abiding Black citizen take his last breath live on Facebook. Philando was fatally shot several times, while seated in the passenger seat, in front of his girlfriend and her young daughter. Officer Yanez shot Philando because he reached for his license as instructed although he disclosed that he was licensed to carry.
Now that we’ve revisited some of the top Black moments of 2016, it’s time to hope for the best but prepare for the worst in 2017. Yes, we will have trying times but we will also have some remarkable ones. It’s all up to you and what you choose to do in and with your life. My hope for you is that your 2017 will be filled with happiness, health and prosperity.