2017 has been a motherfucker of a year. Despite this fact, blackness has flourished. We’ve seen a resurgence of pride and excitement in blackness that is reminiscent of the Black Power movement of the ’60s. From #BlackGirlMagic to #BlackBoyJoy, Dead Mike from mythical rap group CB4 is outchea looking like a damn prophet as so many of us have woken up this year and recited his famous chorus: “I’m black, y’all, I’m black, y’all, I’m blacker than black, and I’m black, y’all!”
That’s been blackness in 2017.
You see, it’s not that black folks won’t stop; it’s just that we can’t stop doing blackness like we’re doing it for television. Over the course of 2017, circumstances have allowed for and presented themselves as ideal moments to always bet on black, per se. And collectively, we did not disappoint.
Here is a list of the 10 blackest moments of 2017 (so far—C.P. Time is a real thing, so we have a week left for the thunder and the rain to come down):
LaVar Ball’s appearance on CNN was equal parts “Fuck the man” and “What the fuck?” Love him or hate him—and he is easily one of the most polarizing people in America—Ball basically went on television to tell the motherfucking PREZ-O-DEN “Fuck you and the horse Roy Moore rode in on” (I’m paraphrasing). And I don’t care where you are or who you is; that’s some black shit.
A film about the black experience won the Oscars’ most coveted prize; and, of course, white folks tried to take it from them because that’s what it’s like to be black in America. Moonlight was a film that spurred so many different types of conversations, from whether or not the film was any good (depends on whom you ask) to what the central theme of the movie even was (sexuality or manhood ... manhood, definitely), but when the dust settled, a movie about blackness was a central conversation piece AND the last film standing, and that’s a hell of a win for African America.
In July, 28 members of the Beta Alpha chapter of Delta Sigma Theta at FAMU decided to celebrate 10 years of sisterhood with a trip to Costa Rica. That trip resulted in a photoshoot seen round the world. Dubbed “Melanin Illustrated,” the women all wore similar-toned bathing suits and had all of us appreciating their beautiful blackness. I guess that’s what Rotary Connection was singing about on “I am the Black Gold of the Sun.”
Sometimes, keeping it real goes wrong, but sometimes keeping it real results in a black man using a motherfucking filing cabinet as a grill. I’ve seen some black shit. Hell, I still carry around a Crown Royal bag to hold prized possessions (I really do this), but file-cabinet grilling? That’s some black ingenuity on par with George Washington Carver’s work with peanuts. Somebody get this man a Negritzer Prize.
Words won’t do this justice; you just need to watch the clip. This is master-class-level petty. This is what Merriam and Webster had in mind when they added “petty” to the dictionary. Using a national stage to remind folks you have zero fucks to give? Super-Saiyan-level petty. Angela Rye, we salute you.
5. Donald Glover thanks the Migos for making “Bad and Boujee” as part of his Golden Globes acceptance speech for Atlanta.
Donald Glover had a hell of a year. His album Awaken, My Love! (released in December 2016) was nominated for a Grammy Award for Album of the Year. His hit television show, Atlanta, caught the hearts and minds of black America and won Best Television Series, Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globes in February. And what did Glover do in his thank-you speech? He thanked motherfucking Migos for making “Bad and Boujee” because it’s, like, the best song ever. Migos, who are a black-ass group even down to their familial connections as both uncles and cousins and other super-black shit, saw a huge spike in streams and sales of the single after. That’s paying the blessings forward, which is a black-ass way to give back in our community.
Damon Young already did a bang-up job explaining the 20 blackest moments of the Sharon Reed clapback video, so I won’t reinvent the wheel. Finger pistols of death on live television. That’s some black shit.
You know how you can have some folks fucked up? You know who you NOT gon’ have fucked up? Issa Rae. When asked who she was rooting for at the night’s Emmys, she made it very clear that she was rooting for everybody black (probably one of THE truest statements of all time—also applies to the Olympics, elections and nonblack movies with black characters), setting off a viral round of “Yaaaassssssssss” and T-shirts and catapulting her right into position as everybody’s favorite black person for a solid at-least-two weeks. Basically, she was the opposite of Omarosa. The ONLY reason this isn’t No. 1 is because, well, blackness seeks its own level.
2. Shannon Sharpe pulls out a Black & Mild and talks about bein’ off that “yak” (Hen Dawg in particular) on The Undisputed, Fox Sports 1’s live sports talk show.
Listen, Linda. Listen. Sharpe said he likes to celebrate with cigars and yak and put a Black in his mouth ON TELEVISION. Even Joy Taylor knows that Black & Milds aren’t real cigars. But that didn’t stop Sharpe from going on about his love for Hen Dawg and Milds. That, my friends, is blackness seeking its own level. Those are the moments in blackness you don’t see coming, which makes them special. Blackness is not here for you; it’s here for the shenanigans.
1. A black woman named Keisha whose father was a professional R&B singer; who went to a Westside Atlanta high school, Frederick Douglass, then an HBCU, Florida A&M University; and who is a member of Delta Sigma Theta was elected to be the next mayor of Atlanta, the capital of black America.
Hate it or love it, ladies and gentlemen, that is easily the blackest moment of 2017.