Mia Love (center) celebrates with her father Jean Maxime Bourdeau after winning the race for Utah’s 4th Congressional District on Nov. 4, 2014 (Photo Credit: AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File).
The Year that Was
The year 2014 might have seemed volatile at times for the Black community.
News cycles told countless stories of unarmed Black men killed by police officers and athletes like Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson accused of heinous crimes.
And in the political spectrum, President Barack Obama seemed to face unrelenting criticism regardless of what he accomplished.
Nevertheless, many positive and groundbreaking stories came from the Black community last year.
The year symbolized the phrase, “It was the best of times and the worst times.”
Regardless, RegalMag.com chooses to recognize the best of times during 2014 with a retrospective of 10 great things that occurred last year.
- 1) Pro athletes stand up for equality—The names Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Donald Sterling reminded Americans that it still suffers from that cancer called racism and inequality. However, athletes like LeBron James, Derrick Rose and members of the St. Louis Rams and Los Angeles Clippers encouraged us by using their platform to demand social change.
- 2) “12 Years a Slave” makes history—The door to Oscar’s house has been completely kicked in thanks to Steve McQueen and John Ridley’s film adaptation of Solomon Northup’s memoir “12 Years a Slave.” The heart-wrenching, and sometimes hard to watch biopic, won the Academy Award for Best Picture, a first for a “Black movie.”
- 3) Lupita Nyong’o wins Oscar and hearts—It is not that Lupita Nyong’o won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress (“12 Years a Slave’) because Whoopi Goldberg (“Ghost”), Jennifer Hudson (“Dreamgirls”), Octavia Spencer (“The Help”), Mo’Nique (“Precious”) and Hattie McDaniel (“Gone With the Wind”) had already blazed a path for her. It was what she did with her platform that made it special. She let young Black girls know that they are beautiful just the way they are and People Magazine and others agreed.
- 4) Russell Wilson joins Doug Williams’ exclusive fraternity—Doug Williams (Washington Redskins) stood alone as the only starting Black quarterback to win a Super Bowl for almost 30 years. Donovan McNabb (Philadelphia Eagles) and Steve McNair (Tennessee Titans) had gotten the closest to admission, but it was Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson who finally became the second member. The elusive passer has the Seahawks poised for another Super Bowl run this season too.
- 5) Black Republicans make their presence felt—Voters in Utah showed Mia Love much-deserved love by electing her as the first Black female Republican in Congress’ history. Love was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. to Haitian immigrants and is of the Mormon faith according to Slate. She replaces Democrat Jim Matheson who left Congress after 14 years in office.
- 6) Black dramas take center stage—Do you remember when Hollywood faced criticism for having too many Black sitcoms and not enough Black dramas? My, have the tables turned. While sitcoms like “Black-ish” are popular, Black dramas are where it’s at from “Scandal” to “The Haves and Have Nots,” “Power,” “Being Mary Jane,” “If Loving You is Wrong” and “How to Get Away with Murder,” real Black life is finally being depicted accurately on the small screen.
- 7) “On the Run” Tour runs straight to the bank—Jay-Z and Beyoncé epitomize the Black power couple and if money is power, they achieved more power in 2014 with their joint stadium tour. In only 19 shows, the Brooklyn-born emcee and the diva from Houston earned $96 million according to the Houston Chronicle.
- 8) Annie is Black—Elizabeth Taylor can portray Cleopatra on film but Quvenzhane’ Wallis cannot play Annie? Interesting to say the least. Despite the criticism, the Jay-Z and Will Smith produced version of “Annie” is an instant classic according to RegalMag.com and a hit with audiences nationwide. At Regal press time, the film had earned $45.8 million domestically over two weeks according to the New York Times.
- 9) Black R&B is not dead thanks to Pharrell—While singers like Tank cried a river in 2014 because of low album sells, Pharrell Williams experienced enough happiness for the entire genre thanks to “Happy,” which ranked as the top song on Billboard’s Hot 100 songs in 2014. While we feel Tank’s pain, Williams proved that timeless themes usually lead to timeless anthems and a lifetime of money for singers.
- 10) “Stronghorn” Nation—Although it was another mediocre season for the Texas Longhorns football program, Charlie Strong is the right head coach to right the ship in Austin, Texas. Strong was hired to replace legendary coach Mack Brown at the University of Texas, making him the first Black head coach in the program’s history, which is the most lucrative in all of collegiate football at $131 million according to Forbes.