2016’s Most Memorable and “Lit” Black Moments
2016 has been full of ups and downs, lefts and rights, blessings and drastic challenges, but overall it was a great year for Black people. #BlackGirlMagic and #BlackBoyJoy were at an all-time high this year as Black people of all shades and backgrounds banded together in the most beautiful ways imaginable.
Here are some of the best Black moments of 2016, I’m sure they will be memorable for years to come:
The [Black] Block Party at the White House
Never in the history of Blackdom has there been a party quite like this. BET Networks partnered with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for a star-studded celebration. The event, BET Presents Love & Happiness: An Obama Celebration, aka ‘the Obama Block Party’ was hosted by Terrence J and Regina Hall and included musical guests such as Usher, Common, Janelle Monae, Leslie Odom Jr., The Roots, De La Soul, Jill Scott, Yolanda Adams, Bell Biv DeVoe, Michelle Williams and Kiki Sheard.
Other big name celebrities such as Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett, Bradley Cooper and Jesse Williams were also there to share their sentiments about the Obamas and what they meant to them.
“Our country has been led for the past eight years by an extraordinary President and First Lady,” said Debra Lee, Chairman and CEO, BET Networks. “We have all witnessed history in the making and I am humbled by this momentous opportunity for BET Networks to join the Obamas for this musical celebration.”
I mean, when is the next time we’ll be able to “Swag Surf” at the White House?
This year, my TV screen got wayyyyy more action since The Cosby Show, A Different World and Martin originally aired. I found myself tuning into shows like Queen Sugar, Greenleaf, Atlanta, and Issa Rae’s Insecure and getting all up in my feelings on Twitter about each of these shows. And that’s not event the half of it.
With the introduction of Black AF Marvel characters Black Panther, Luke Cage and Misty Knight to the big screen, and powerful performances by the cast of Fences and Moonlight, children and adults alike had more reasons to attend the movie theater and activate their own Netflix accounts because of all of this amazing content.
And let’s not forget our amazing Black Emmy Winners, Regina King, Viola Davis, Uzo Aduba, Sterling K. Brown, and Courtney B. Vance’s epic shout out to his wife Angela Bassett:
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how much more colorful the Golden Globe nominations are this year. Nominees include Trace Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson of black-ish, Donald Glover, Issa Rae, Ruth Negga for her role in Loving, and the film Moonlight brought in 6 nominations in different categories.
The Return of Dave Chappelle
This almost sounds like an urban myth, but this actually happened in 2016. After a loooooong hiatus from the B.S. of the entertainment industry, Chappelle made his comeback to prime-time television as the host of Saturday Night Live.
The long-time comedian opened the show with a hilarious and also brave monologue related to the election of Donald Trump, and the current state of the American society. He also resurrected some of his most famous characters from The Chappelle Show in a parody of the hit show The Walking Dead.
Chappelle spoke painful truths during each of his segments on SNL and even brought A Tribe Called Quest back from their hiatus to perform the leading single from their latest album on the big stage.
We missed you Dave!
Musicians and artists kicked it up a notch this year and carved their own path, not only with their music but also with their visibility and exclusivity. One of the fastest up-and-coming performers is making all types of noise in the industry. Chance The Rapper from Chicago has found a way to win with his latest album Coloring Book that features collaborations with artists such as Kanye West and Lil’ Wayne. Coloring Book also earned Chance seven Grammy nominations and made history for being the first streaming-exclusive album to hit No. 8 on the Billboard charts.
Beyoncé took a more political stance this year with the release of her single “Formation” in February. The singer/songwriter released her song just a day before she was set to perform at the halftime show at Super Bowl 50 with Bruno Mars and Coldplay. The video for the single featured images of Beyoncé’s creole ancestry, anti-police brutality, and Blue Ivy rocking her cute ‘fro. Her halftime performance also stirred some controversy as she performed with her team of dancers — who were dressed in all black and beret hats, a look reminiscent of the Black Panthers signature uniform– in front of millions of viewers.
Drake also made history this year by leading the way for the nominations at the American Music Awards. He surpassed Michael Jackson’s previous 11 AMA nods with a staggering 13 nominations in a single year. Jackson held the record since 1984 but Drake shattered his numbers following the release of his album Views.
Sports Made A Huge Impact
Colin Kaepernick came through the door kneeling in protest to the National Anthem. The NFL quarterback bravely defied the notion to honor the anthem due to its racist lyrics and the overwhelming accounts of police brutality in America. Players in different sports leagues across the country followed Kaepernick’s lead such as other NFL players, the WNBA, NBA and even high school teams.
Black people won big at the 2016 Rio Olympics, as athletes all over the world came to compete for the Gold. Notable winners and history makers include Ebony Power 100 honoree Simone Biles, Simone Manuel, Michelle Carter, Daryl D. Homer, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Kristi Castlin, Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali, Allison Felix, and Usain Bolt.
The Greatest Piece Of African-American History Ever Built
170 years after the Smithsonian’s founding, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) was built to educate and display the history of the African-American journey while here in the United States. With classic and never-before-seen artifacts, the NMAAHC is a proven staple in African-American history.
Watch as Chairman Emeritus of EBONY Media Operations talks about her involvement with the construction of the NMAAHC and what it means for Black people, past and present: