Making History in 10.3 Seconds

It only takes a moment to change the world, to challenge and inspire. For all of the work, preparation, failure and success, when the moment comes to bring it all together, extraordinary people throughout history have focused that energy into one defining and life-changing moment in time.

It only takes a moment to change the world, to challenge and inspire. For all of the work, preparation, failure and success, when the moment comes to bring it all together, extraordinary people throughout history have focused that energy into one defining and life-changing moment in time.

Born in Alabama the son of a sharecropper, Jesse Owens’ family moved to Ohio when he was still a child, eventually leading to him attending Ohio State University, where he excelled in track and field events. Most famously, a 21-year-old Owens set a trio of world records (the 220-yard dash, the 220-yard low hurdles, and the long jump) and tied a fourth (the 100 yard dash) during a 1935 meet against University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in what’s been called “the greatest 45 minutes in sports.”

One year later, Owens would dominate his events at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, including taking just 10.3 seconds for him to run the 100m sprint and win the first of four gold medals in the face of Adolf Hitler (who was in attendance) three years before the start of World War II.

Owens’ achievements are particularly notable given that he was able to accomplish them in the face of crushing racism, often relegated to blacks-only hotels and restaurants as he traveled across America to competitions that he typically dominated. When he went to Germany for the Olympics, the Nazi regime was in full bore, as Swastika imagery was prevalent throughout Berlin while Owens competed. The Nazis ridiculed black athletes as not only inferior, but even as less than human.

It was under this backdrop of institutionalized racism and prejudice both in America and abroad that Owens found the fortitude and determination to rise above and make history.

Much like Owens, these 10 brave souls flew in the face of adversity, traditional and often conventional wisdom to utilize the world’s stage as a platform to change the course of history while remaking it in their own image.

Martin Luther King Jr. delivers “I Have A Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial

After debuting the speech in Detroit two months earlier, Dr. King defined the American civil rights movement by delivering the life-changing final version on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. His words painted a vivid picture of possibility, and gave generations of people hope and something to strive for towards a brighter future and equality for all Americans. It was the “I have a dream” line specifically that brought it all into focus, a concise and succinct moment in time that has transcended time and forever remains as King’s vision that lives on as a shared dream around the world.

Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising the Black Power salute at the 1968 Olympic Games

American track and field athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos took their social protests to the podium of the Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City, raising gloved fists in Black Power salutes while the American National Anthem played after they won the gold (Smith) and bronze (Carlos) medals in the 200m race. Australian silver medalist, Peter Norman, showed solidarity with their cause by wearing a human rights badge on his tracksuit. The moment bonded the three for life, with Smith and Carlos serving as pallbearers at Norman’s funeral.

Macklemore, Queen Latifah and Madonna oversee the marriage of gay couples at the Grammys

When Grammy-nominated artists Macklemore and Ryan Lewis presented their marriage equality song “Same Love,” at the 56th annual Grammy Awards ceremony in 2014, they set out to make it a special and momentous occasion. Alongside Madonna, the duo and guest vocalist Mary Lambert performed the single as Queen Latifah officiated the surprise mass wedding, a mix of 33 gay and straight couples all tying the knot simultaneously. "When such a critically acclaimed and popular rap artist puts marriage equality center stage at one of the biggest events of the year, it is the latest in a long line of signs that our nation not only accepts, but celebrates the love and commitment of gay couples today," beamed GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis after the show.

DJ Kool Herc and the first hip-hop beat

Utilizing two turntables in the early 1970s, DJ Kool Herc developed a singular style of switching between the instrumental drum breaks on different records to make a new rhythm, essentially creating the world’s first hip-hop beats. Using just a few seconds from one record and a few seconds from another, Herc turned these quick snatches of sound to create the building blocks of New York’s burgeoning hip-hop culture that would become the inspiration for artists and musicians from that moment in time through today.

Lou Gehrig stating, “I’m the luckiest man in the world” after ALS diagnosis

One of the greatest to ever play major league baseball, New York Yankees hero Lou Gehrig’s stellar career was cut short in 1939 when he was diagnosed with the debilitating disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which would also come to be known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Announcing his retirement soon thereafter, July 4th, 1939, was designated as Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day. The first MLB player to have his number (4) retired, Gehrig would bravely address the sold-out crowd at Yankee Stadium telling them that despite everything, he considered himself “the luckiest man in the world,” showing that even in the face of death, greatness can still rise above and inspire the world.

Michael Jackson introduces the moonwalk during the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever show

In May of 1983, Motown Records’ legends gathered for a massive NBC TV special, with performances from Marvin Gaye, the Four Tops, and a reunited Diana Ross and the Supremes. It was Michael Jackson, however, who stole the show with his electrifying performance of the Thriller single, “Billie Jean.” While Jackson’s smooth moves and silky vocals excited the crowd, when he revealed his newest move, the moonwalk, it was the single-most galvanizing moment in pop music history since the Beatles’ appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Hank Aaron’s record-breaking 715th home run

Babe Ruth’s record of 714 career home runs in Major League Baseball was one many thought would never be broken, and just as many felt strongly should never be broken. As baseball legend Hank Aaron closed in on the mark during the 1973 season, he was besieged with hate mail and even death threats from those who didn’t want to see an African-American rewrite the history books. On April 8, 1974, Aaron sent a pitch from Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Al Downing over the outfield wall, launching himself into MLB history en route to a career 755 home runs, eclipsing Ruth’s previous mark.

Jimi Hendrix sets guitar on fire at Monterey Pop Fest

Jimi Hendrix had already redefined rock guitar playing with his sound, having stunned a star-studded crowd in London in January of 1967 at a show that the Who’s Pete Townshend claimed, “turned the rock world upside down.” While the guitarist had pulled the stunt previously, when he set fire to his Fender Stratocaster during a showcase performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in June of the same year, he truly became a star in America. Elevating not just the sound but also the extremes of live performance, Hendrix’s singular style and vision solidified his status as rock’s greatest showman of his time.

China’s “Tank Man” single-handedly halts a fleet of army tanks in Tiananmen Square

China was still reeling from the Tiananmen Square Massacre, where government troops violently retook the space from pro-democracy protesters who’d been there for weeks, leaving scores of civilians and even some soldiers dead in the process. On June 5, 1989, the day after the massacre, a fleet of tanks was heading into the square when a man carrying shopping bags walked in from the procession, effectively stopping it. When the tanks moved to go around him, he moved to stay in front of them and halt their progress. The whole tense ordeal, which lasted several minutes, was broadcast on live TV before concerned onlookers finally dragged the still-unidentified man away to safety. His image standing in front of those hulking tanks has become an enduring symbol of resistance and freedom around the world.

President Obama being sworn in as President of the United States in 2009

After winning the historic 2008 election in a landslide, the inauguration of Barack Obama as America’s first African-American President in January of 2009 signaled a profound and significant moment in U.S. history. Breaking through a seemingly impenetrable glass ceiling to assume the highest office in the free world, Obama’s inauguration felt like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech had been in some ways finally realized.

Jesse Owens' courageous story at the 1936 Olympics is detailed in the upcoming biographical film RACE, due in theaters on February 19. For more on the film, check out the official trailer below. 


From the Web

More on Vibe

You’re Invited: VIBE VSessions in Los Angeles with Casey Veggies, Kodie Shane, and Buddy

Calling all Los Angeles teens! We are gearing up for our third and final VIBE VSessions — a FREE live concert series in partnership with Fresh Empire, a lifestyle brand dedicated to encouraging youth to reach their goals tobacco-free. The show is open to music lovers ages 13 to 19 and will host some of the most exciting up-and-coming names in hip-hop.

The VIBE VSessions event will feature full sets by LA's own Casey Veggies, Lil Yachty-endorsed Atlanta prodigy Kodie Shane, and rising star Buddy. Host DJ Hed will kick off the night. Attendees at the show will have the chance to take part in on-site giveaways, artist meet-and-greets, and more.

Join us on Saturday, May 13th from 5:00 - 9:00 pm at Hyde on Sunset Boulevard.

Mandatory RSVP at Vibevsessions.eventbrite.com for tickets. Please note entrance is based on capacity so get there early!

Continue Reading
Paul R. Giunta

Metro Boomin Rocks Fresh Empire and VIBE's VSessions Feat. YG, Speakerfoxxx, and DJ Jelly

VIBE VSessions descended to Atlanta for a highly-anticipated night of high-powered DJ sets. In an effort to promote a tobacco-free lifestyle, teens ranging from ages 13-19 filled the dance floor at The Loft's Center Stage, a premiere concert venue located in the heart of midtown. V-103's Big Tigger served as the host setting the tone for the Fresh Empire “lituation.”

While attendees laced up with free swag and photos ops, the show kicked off with Southern Style DJ's own DJ Jelly spinning a 45-minute selection of old and new school hip-hop bangers, ranging from legendary rap collective the Dungeon Family down to trap superstar Young Thug. The energy in the room was pure pandemonium leading to the flawless introduction of Speakerfoxxx, better known as “The Queen of ATL.”

“There is no better place than performing at home,” she said while jumping into her set playing an eclectic mix of hip-hop infused electronic records. The Atlanta native made sure concert-goers enjoyed every minute of their escape from the parentals. Whether she was playing the latest from Gucci Mane, Lil Uzi or 2 Chainz, the crowd just couldn’t stop dabbing to the beats.

Speakerfoxxx kept the momentum going for one hour before her close friend and headliner Metro Boomin hit the stage to wrap up the evening. His cult following began shouting, “If Young Metro don’t trust you,” and from that point, the vibe in the crowd skyrocketed to 100 - real quick. It was only right that he began his set with songs from close comrades Future and Drake like “Where Ya A** Was At,” “Jersey,” and the ultimate ATL anthem “Bad and Bougie” by Migos.

Popular YouTube dancers Meechie and Toosi came and kicked it along with upcoming rapper Sahbaii who performed “Pull Up Wit Ah Stick," the latest hit single Metro is co-signing as next to top the charts. West Coast rapper YG also popped up and rapped a few bars from "Who Do You Love" on his studio album, My Krazy Life and more.

Before the show ended three lucky teens got the chance to win a meet-and-greet with Metro himself. The Atlanta edition of VIBE's VSessions was certainly one for the books and the perfect interlude before the Falcons played in the NFL championship on Super Bowl Sunday.

Fresh Empire's national campaign promotes tobacco-free living while educating youth about the health risks with smoking cigarettes. According to the CDC, each day in the United States, more than 3,200 youth aged 18 years or younger smoke their first cigarette, and approximately 2,100 youth and young adults become daily cigarette smokers. Additionally, if smoking continues at the current rate among youth in this country, 5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 will die early from a smoking-related illness.

Continue Reading

You’re Invited: VIBE VSessions, Atlanta

Calling all ATL teens!  — We are gearing up for our second VIBE VSessions – a FREE live concert series – in partnership with Fresh Empire, a lifestyle brand dedicated to encouraging the youth to reach their goals tobacco free. The four-show series will be open to music lovers ages 13 -19 and feature some of the biggest artists in hip-hop.

The VIBE VSessions show, hosted by Big Tigger, will feature V103's DJ Jelly, Atlanta's own, Speakerfoxxx, and headliner Metro Boomin,. At the show, attendees will have the chance to take part in on-site giveaways, artist meet-and-greets and more.

Join us on Friday, February 3rd at 7pm at The Loft. Mandatory RSVP at Vibevsessions.eventbrite.com. Please note entrance is based on capacity so get there early!

Additional VIBE VSessions showcases are planned in Los Angeles and Chicago throughout 2017. Stay tuned for artists and dates to be announced.


Continue Reading

Top Stories