This Is Fine: 50 Moments Of Black Magic From 2016

Features

If right now the only thought about 2016 that comes to mind is “good riddance,” then we don’t blame you. At all. For a lot of us, this year was a less than cheerful reminder of one, our standing as it pertains to our respective races and two, the country that we (sometimes grudgingly) call home.

Since the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012, the black community seems to have been taking hit after hit in the justice department. The low amount of indictments, guilty convictions and jail time doled out to law enforcement have been disproportionate to the amount of black men and women who have died at their hands and guns this year. We’ve lost cultural behemoths across all fields with the passings of Prince, Muhammad Ali, Phife Dawg, Natalie Cole and lead singer of Earth Wind & Fire’s founder, Maurice White. And Election Day 2016 felt like the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back.

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But through all the fu**ery, there were some luminous moments that happened within the black community. We dug way back in the happy corners of our minds (and consulted Atlantic Records staffer Mike Hamilton’s dutiful cultural tally) to commemorate this year’s yasss-worthy moments of black magic.

Let’s not let the lows dull the shines of the high. Chin up and dive in below. —Stacy-Ann Ellis 

50. Cast of Hamilton sweeps Tony Awards with 11 wins

 

49. Blac Chyna’s reign over the Kardashians 

 

48. Bad Boy returns with comeback tour

 

47. Mike Yung wins over the web with “Unchained Melody” cover

46. The NBA stands up for police brutality

 

45. Elaine Welteroth inspires us with EIC position at Teen Vogue

CREDIT: Getty Images

The well-deserved crowing of Elaine Welterorth over at Teen Vogue in May helped usher in a mix of diversity in fashion and entertainment. With cover stars like Yari Shahidi, Simone Biles and Gabby Douglass, readers felt the love, inspiration and black girl magic from Welterworth’s vision. The 30-year-old’s mission crossed over to television when she starred as herself in a nepotism-inspired episode of Black-ish. Her creative and fashionable approach to Teen Vogue is not only an inspiration for the journos out there, but the for the young girls finally identifying with a major figure within mainstream print media.

44. Misty Copeland scores her first Barbie doll

 

43. Dee-1 wins over Sallie Mae 

 

42. 11-year-old lands contact with Whole Foods for her lemonade

 

41. Diddy donates $1M to Howard University, opens charter school

 

40. Beyonce honors the Mothers of the Movement in Lemonade and IRL

CREDIT: Instagram

39. Muhammad Ali is commemorated in Manhattan, as is Phife Dawg In Queens

 

38. East Coast’s first black, female comic bookstore owner lands cover of ‘Invincible Iron Man’

 

37. Hip-hop shines during late night circuit

Over the years, hip-hop acts have infiltrated the late night circuit and given us grooves with the help of a live band. This year was no exception. Kendrick Lamar premiered “untitled 03″ on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Bryson Tiller made his major television debut on Late Night With Seth Meyers and Chance The Rapper revealed a soulful blend of male talent with “Blessings (Reprise)” on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. There were plenty of others who injected beats and rhymes in the living rooms of the masses, proving hip-hop’s continued driving force in American culture.

36. Tamara Hunter is named VP of casting at Sony

 

35. Dwayne Lee Holland Jr. is named the first hip-hop teacher at Boston Conservatory 

 

34. Deshauna Barber shines as Miss USA

 

33. Kevin Hart is world’s highest paid comedian, lands star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

CREDIT: Getty Images

32. Big Sean advocates for Flint water crisis victims

 

31. Keith Ellison’s bid for DNC chair 

 

30. Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy moment

CREDIT: Getty Images

29. Filmmaker Stanley Nelson announces the coming of an HBCU documentary

 

28. Simone Biles owns the Summer Olympics in Rio

 

27. A Tribe Called Quest drops superb project, We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service

 

26. George Zimmerman and Dylann Roof catch fades on President Obama’s birthday

 

25. The use of Facebook Live

Facebook’s first ad for their live component might’ve focused on touching moments like a child’s first haircut and exposing hidden talents but overall, the tool has become a driving force in bringing issues of police brutality and the massive #NoDAPL movement to center stage. The tragic aftermath of the shooting death of Philando Castile was captured on the social platform by girlfriend Diamond Reynolds while Korryn Gaines’ final moments were seen by millions. It may not have been what the company had in mind, but the urgent need to film in hopes of justice inspired others to do the same. Protests for Castile and Alton Sterling flooded the platform and Standing Rock allowed the rest of the nation to be informed about the trouble the Dakota access pipeline would have done to sacred tribal lands. The rollout is expected to continue with the current planning of the Million Woman’s March for January 21, 2017 and the inauguration of president-elect Donald Trump.

24. Deray Mckesson inspires with Baltimore mayoral run 

 

23. WNBA’s refusal to give up on #BlackLivesMatter

 

22. Patience Carter exudes strength after ‘Pulse’ nightclub tragedy

21. Moonlight sheds light on black gay identity

 

20. Ava Duvernay sheds light on mass incarceration with 13th documentary

 

19. Frank Ocean’s on-wax nod to Trayvon Martin

18. African-American female voters dominate election turnout

 

17. TV’s illustrious blackout

16. Gucci Mane comes home and urges fans to vote 

 

15. The ultimate DNC black selfie

14. Robert F. Smith becomes Carnegie Hall’s first African-American chairman

 

13. Black-ish takes on police brutality in “Hope”

CREDIT: Getty images

12. Jay Z Donates to BLM, helps plans to tell Kalief Browder’s story

 

11. University of Vermont hangs BLM Flag

10. “The Challenges” hilariously provide interactive distractions

CREDIT: YouTube

9. Kamala Harris wins U.S. Senate seat

 

8. Ryan Coogler’s MLK Now event educates the youth

 

7. Smithsonian opens National Museum of African American History & Culture

 

6. Dave Chappelle gives all the feels in SNL monologue 

 

5. Swag Surfing happens at The White House

4. Solange gives us A Seat At The Table

 

3. Michelle Obama’s “We Go High” speech

2. Colin Kaepernick’s National Anthem protest

 

1. President Barack Obama’s mic drop

CREDIT: Giphy

This year, we saw some of the boldest moves in President Barack Obama’s eight-year tenure as Commander-in-Chief. His final White House Correspondents Dinner was all about zingers aimed at president-elect Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and most of all his haters. Obama made sure to laugh at himself and finally let his hair down. His mic drop serves as a friendly “f**k you” to those who attempted to slander his name. Obama won’t let up and neither should we in 2017.

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