We all know that #BlackGirlsRock and they sure did rock in 2016. Viola Davis gave us an impeccable performance in Fences. Rihanna released Anti. And who could forget the perfect manifestation of Black Girl Art with the album releases of Beyonce and Solange. Black women truly had a great year this year. Fortunately, they were not the only ones that had a good year. Many black men had magical moments as well. We don’t see the celebration of black men as much in media as we do other demographics. Because of this, I thought it was imperative to highlight some of the best moments of African American men of 2016.
With that said, here are:
10 Times Black Men Were Lit in 2016
The Release of Moonlight
Based on the play, In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, Barry Jenkins directed a jaw-dropping, heartfelt film. The movie, Moonlight is a drama that follows the journey of a young black boy maturing through manhood. The film stars Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders and Award winning actor, Mahershala Ali. Moonlight holds a score of 99 out of 100, based on 48 reviews on Metacritic. The film also has a 98% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes respectfully. Moonlight was a success at the Box Office earning $12.1 million after being produced for only $3 million. It is impressive that a black male narrative depicted on screen has received such critical acclaim. Kudos to this lit cast and production team.
Dave Chappelle’s Netflix Deal
It put a smile on the faces of many when Dave Chapelle hosted Saturday Night Live on November 12th, 2016. The episode delivered the season’s highest overnight ratings and the best 18-to-49 ratings for the show since 2013. This was an impressive achievement, but Dave Chapelle made an even bigger splash in the world of entertainment with his new comedy special deal with Netflix. According to the press, Chapelle was offered a jaw-dropping $60 million for delivering three comedy specials to Netflix. These specials are expected to be released in 2017. Kudos to this brother who will be laughing his way all the way to the bank. This is a huge inspiration for all the young comedians out there who hope to obtain financial success through their art.
Chance The Rapper’s Evolution
Chance the Rapper arguably had the best year in 2016. From hanging with Beyonce, to releasing a stellar album, to embarking on a World Tour. Chance the Rapper and his decision to maintain an independent artist is inspiring to any up and coming rapper. After his appearance at the VMA’s and #BlackBoyJoy moments, young black men everywhere were able to see first hand that you can unapologetically be yourself no matter what. Chance the Rapper had an impressive year in 2016 leaving us all anxious to see what he will do next.
Brendon Gauthier’s acceptance to Cornell University
Everyone saw the viral video of high school senior, Brendon Gauthier getting accepting to Cornell University. The young black scholar shared a video on Facebook checking his admission status to Cornell. After learning that he got accepted his entire family jumped and leaped for joy as they bombarded him with love. There was one part of the video where Brendon jumps into the arms of a man who seems to be his father. This video is an excellent representation of black scholarship, love, and family. Brendon’s video was truly one of the most lit moments of 2016.
President Obama’s Last Year As President
This list would be incomplete if it didn’t mention the presidential G.O.A.T. himself, President Barack Obama. 2016 is the last full calendar year that Obama will serve our country as the commander-in-chief. President Obama’s presidency has been one of class, dignity, and grace. From his mic drop to his clap backs at the State of the Union address, President Obama is the coolest president we have ever had. He will surely be missed once he leaves the White House.
Denzel Washington Directing Fences
Denzel Washington stated that August Wilson is, “one of the greatest playwrights in the history of playwriting.” His adoration was taken to another level when he decided to direct the adaptation of August Wilson’s Fences for the big screen. Critics have claimed that Fences is one of the best movies of the year and the film has even gained Oscar buzz. To see a black man at the forefront of a team that has produced this phenomenal film is indeed lit. If you have not seen Fences, it would behoove you to do so as soon as possible.
Lebron James Is Named MVP
For the first time in franchise history, the Cleveland Cavaliers are NBA Champions. Under the leadership of Lebron James, the Cavaliers overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 for the title. After a unanimous vote, Lebron James was selected as the Most Valuable Player of the NBA Finals series. This is his 3rd time being named the NBA Finals MVP also winning in 2012 and 2013. James became the third player in history to have a triple-double Game 7 of the NBA Finals joining Jerry West and James Worthy. Lebron shows every black boy out there that you can achieve athletic success through hard work and dedication.
Michael Tubbs Is Named Mayor of Stockton, California
Michael Tubbs has been lit his entire life. As a scholar in high school Tubbs excelled and then attended the illustrious, Stanford University on a scholarship. During his time at Stanford, Michael Tubbs interned with Google and the White House. He then was appointed as a councilman in his city. Following this role, he was elected as the first black mayor of Stockton, California in November. At the age of 26, Tubbs will serve as the city’s youngest mayor in history. Congrats to this lit politician and inspiration.
The Launch of the NMAAHC Museum
On September 24th, 2016, The National Museum of African American History and Culture opened. The museum consists of close to 37,000 objects relating to performing arts, civil rights, and slavery. The museum is directed by Lonnie G. Bunch an African American man from Newark, New Jersey. The building’s lead architect is David Adjaye, a Ghanaian man who lead the physical construction of the beautiful facility. With the leadership of Lonnie Bunch in the beautiful building built by a man from Ghana, the NMAAHC museum is a national monument that will inspire many African Americans.
Donald Glover Creating Atlanta
On September 6th, FX showed the first episode of the innovative comedy, Atlanta. The show follows the journey of two cousins navigating the Atlanta rap scene. After only two weeks of the release, FX announced that Atlanta had been renewed for a second season. The show is produced, written and created by Donald Glover. His creativity helped make the show critically acclaimed and won him the award for Best Actor in a Comedy Series at the 7tth Critics’ Choice Television Awards. The show also has a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Donald Glover is breaking barriers with his fresh writing and leadership. It is indeed lit to see a young brother running a successful show on FX.