2016 brought many headlines that were depressing to say the least. Instead of reminiscing on the negatives, we wanted to focus on the positive accomplishments made by African American men throughout this past year. Here's our list of sixteen ways African American men won big in 2016.
1.) Barry O's Clean Slate - In 2008, America made history by electing the first ever African American president, Barack Obama. While not perfect, Barack managed to end the war in Iraq, passed the Affordable Health Care Act and finished 8 years of service scandal free. I'm sure Barack had tons of women sliding in his DM's, but managed to remain faithful to Michelle during his entire term. Sorry, Bill.
2) The Return of Guwop - Despite serving three years in the federal penitentiary, Gucci did not waste time getting his life in order. In the span of six months, Gucci returned to the spotlight in the best shape of his life, proposed to his girlfriend of seven years Keyshia Ka’oir, and gave us two dope albums.
3.) Childish Gambino's Trifecta -Childish Gambino hit every mark possible 2016. He became a father, created and produced FX’s hit show Atlanta and gave us pure funk on his album Awaken, My Love! I'm convinced Bino has the Midas touch.
4.) Virginia is For Hustlers - Pharrell Williams bossed up and made some power moves in 2016. Early in the year , Pharrell was appointed Chief of Imagination for G-Star denim. In October, he became the Creative Director for American Express. Closing out the year, Pharell made black history by producing the soundtrack for Hidden Figures: a fiction drama that takes place near Pharrell's hometown of Va Beach. The movie tells the story of three African American women who were instrumental in assisting NASA in putting John Glen on the moon during the late sixties.
5.) Driving Change - In 2016 Thomas Moorehead kept his feet on the gas. Mr. Moorehead became the first African American car dealer to acquire Lamborghini and McLaren franchises. Mr. Moorehead is already a pioneer in the automotive community among African Americans car dealership owners. This acquisition join’s his well established portfolio of BMW, Rolls Royce and Harley Davidson brands.
6.) Signature Fade - Black-tech entrepreneur and founder of Bevel kept 2016 classy. Tristan Walker continued to grow his brand by enlisting an endorsement from hip hop legend Nas. Tristan also managed to successfully launch of the Bevel trimmer and established a partnership with HBCU Collegiate Athletes. The Bevel became the official grooming product of SIAC division sports teams.
7.) Chicago's Son Shines Ultra Lite Beams - Chance brought the gospel on his 2016 mixtape release, Coloring Book. Young Chancelor continued to make history hosting the very first music festival on the South Side of Chicago. He finished the year by earning six Grammy nominations. Very impressive for an artist who has remained indie.
8.) Dave Chappelle Returns to Prime TV- Dave Chappelle made his long awaited return to prime time TV. For the first time ever he was the host of Saturday Night Live. His opening monologue about the the 2016 election was some of the best social commentary of the year.
9.) Building Pyramids - The National Museum of African American History and Culture opened its doors in 2016. Designed by black architects Phillip Freelon and David Adjaye, sixty percent of the museum is underground. The museum is divided into three self guided categories: culture, community and history.
10.) Black Beatles - Rae Sremmurd had everyone, including your grandma, doing the mannequin challenge in 2016. What started out as a viral video made by high school students in Jacksonville, Florida, became a worldwide phenomenon. It all started when the duo was performing their single "Black Beatles" at a concert, where they decided to incorporate the mannequin challenge as a part of their set. The rest is history. This simple act helped them gain their first number one record on the billboard hot 100.
11.) Savage and Secure - Lawrence was applauded by brothers across the country for manning up and not dealing with Issa's crap. Yes, four of the five years of their relationship Lawrence was bumming it. However, he was a good dude who did what he needed to do to get back on his feet. When he found out Issa was dragging him along, the only thing he left hanging was his Best Buy shirt.
12.) King James Ends The Curse - Coming back from a 3-1 deficit, King James rallied the Cavaliers to win the 2016 NBA championship. Lebron was able to bring the first sport championship to Cleveland in over 52 years.
13.) Compton's Scholar -TCU safety, Calyn Moore, has overcome a lot. Despite growing up in poverty and being the son of a convicted murderer, he's a star on and off the field. In 2016, Caylin was one of thirty-two students to be awarded the Rhodes Scholarship. He's studying economics and carries a 3.9 GPA.
14.) Colin Takes a Knee - In 2016, Colin Kapernick used his influence to make a statement about police brutality that has plagued African Americans. Reminiscent of the days of Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown and Kareem Abdul Jabar, Kapernick used his profile to make a social stance by taking a knee during the national anthem. This led to athletes everywhere showing their voice against racial injustice in our country.