Here is my Top 5 countdown to the good, bad, and shocking things that happened in 2015. A black whiz kid, a trash-talker, and a gender swap are on my list. What’s on yours?
THE GOOD OF 2015
5. Cuba and the United States are friends again
Why it’s important: One of the most politically contentious relationships in the universe has to be the one between superpower America and little dynamo island of Cuba. President Obama and President Raul Castro made peace – this, after nearly 55 years of great conflict brought on by a failed invasion.
What does this mean for us: While there are still limitations on the newly–minted “friendship”, we will continue to see great restoration to our diplomatic relations. Plus, we will soon be able to travel to Cuba without restrictions.
Most of you will probably go for the food or the cigars. As for me, it’s all about the classic cars!
4. Black television
I am not talking about BET. I’m talking about blacks in television. 2015, was the year for blacks in entertainment. One of the most-watched shows on TV today is “Empire”. This show, with an all-black cast, depicts the sometimes, (OK, most of the time) dysfunction of a family whose members make every attempt to seek the top power spot of their music record company. It’s very Dynasty – glitzy, glamorous, with a heavy, I mean, heavy dose of fighting and scheming.
The show is riveting, not only for the complexity of characters they produce in Cookie Lyon for instance, who is definitely the black Alexis Carrington (Joan Collins’ character on dynasty, who would probably put on her biggest diamond ring before bitch–slapping you), but also because, despite the drama and back–stabbing, you can feel the love they all have for one another.
Miss Shonda Rimes, the first black female producer to have three, yes, three primetime shows on TV. We can thank her for the Scandal/How to get away with Murder/Grey’s Anatomy (now in it’s 12 season) Thursday lineup. The lovely Viola Davis also saw her first Emmy Award as star of “How to get away……” – a well-deserved win.
What else: There is “Power” starring Omari Hardwick and produced by rapper 50 Cent, Regina King on American Crime (she won an Emmy this year), Uzo Aduba on Orange is the New Black (also won an Emmy this year), Trevor Noah who is the new Daily Show host, Wesley Snipes on The Player (a good comeback for him, he needed it), Morris Chestnut on Rosewood, and the list goes on.
3. Pope Francis takes New York
I think most New Yorkers could agree that Pope Francis’ late–autumn visit to our little town brought a great energy and vigor to the otherwise, chaotic city climate. Despite, the heavier-than-usual traffic, and crowds of locals lined up in front of any important landmark to (maybe) catch a glimpse of the holy man, the atmosphere of the city was unusually pleasant. The pope was hard at work – he must have visited at least a dozen places including, general assemblies, schools, and churches all in one day.
Why it was important: Well, because it was the Pope. And it was this Pope. Unlike his predecessors, Pope Francis has been intentional about bridging divides among people of different races, ethnicities, and walks of life. He has also been commended on his swift and active approach to tackling the sexual abuse scandal that has brought dishonor and reproach to the steps of the Catholic Church.
Regardless of faith, creed, or the lack there of, the folks of New York tolerated congested sidewalks and gridlock for the 266th Bishop of Rome.
2. President Obama officially running out of damns to give
In his State of the Union speech, he was met with some salty applause from Republicans when he stated that he had “no more campaigns to run” to which his response was, “I know, because I won both of them”.
For 6 years, I have been waiting for President Obama to give the political middle finger to all his haters, and he did – most sophisticatedly.
It was a good day.
1. Harold Ekeh
Who is he: the 2nd black teenager in two years to get accepted to all eight Ivy League schools. This genius from Nassau County, NY came from Nigeria at age 8, speaking very little English, faced with the uphill battle of having to adjust and acclimate to a culture, very different from his own.
Where will he go: Probably Yale.
How smart is he: Mr. Ekeh has a 100.5% GPA, an SAT score of 2270, plays the drums, volunteers for a social–justice campaign, and is salutatorian of his class.
What will he study: Biochemistry. He hopes to become a neurosurgeon and find a cure for Alzheimer’s, a disease that his grandmother was diagnosed with.
In his own words: “I don’t see it as an accomplishment for me. I see it’s as an accomplishment for my community. I hope it inspires the younger generation, not just in Elmont, but overall.”
Well done, Mr. Ekeh. Well done.
THE BAD OF 2015
What we learned: you can commit a crime, cover it up, have someone else take all the blame, be found guilty (because, honestly, no one believes you), appeal the verdict, then have your punishment lifted, continue on with your life like nothing happened, make money, smile for the cameras, and hop around on a field throwing “(no) air” balls. This could be your life. That is, if you’re Tom Brady!
4. Donald Trump
He says that Mexicans are rapists and killers, China is the enemy, women look the best when they are on their knees, and the best part: He is running for president.
3. The Assault on Haitians in the Dominican Republic
Question: How do you get kicked out of the country you were born in because of the color of your skin?
The abridged story: Haiti and the Dominican Republic share one land called Hispaniola. Many Haitians moved over to the Dominican Republic in search of a bettr life, escaping poverty and the lack of opportunity that riddles that half of the island.
Dominicans, who are probably half a shade lighter in complexion decide that they no longer want them (Haitians) in the country and are forcing them to leave, even giving a deadline.
The silver lining: Since the devastating earthquake that ravished Haiti six years ago, the people have been more dedicated than ever to seeing improvements to their country in education, social reform, and financial growth. Haiti is well on its way to becoming the Caribbean gem, it once was – with tourism booming, giving way to more employment opportunities and positive changes to the education system, the exiled Haitians from the D.R. very well, may have the last laugh. Soon, folks from around the world may look to Port-au-Prince, instead of Punta Cana, as the new vacation hotspot!
2. America, the be-careful
You might get shot and die here!
That is the reality.
Guns have become an epidemic in this country. Mass shootings are occuring at alarming rates and no one is doing anything about.
President Obama has tried to get Congress, the NRA, and others to compromise regulations and safety reforms to no avail.
Most tragic case: A white 21-year old man, Dylann Roof opened fire in a black South Carolina church, killing nine African Americans while they attended a weekly bible study.
What happens now: It is hard to say at this point. Things will not change until the powers-that-be decide that human life is more important than an amendment that probably needs amending.
1. The Police vs. Black America
Interaction with a police officer = Death.
Only to a few.
WHAT-THE-WHAT? OF 2015
5. Donald Trump
Question: Do you want to know what is worse than a man who is running for president, but hates everyone?
Answer: his supporters.
Despite Mr. Trump’s ongoing diatribes about minorities and others who do not align with his beliefs, he has vile supporters who cosign his ignorance.
You can check out a video on YouTube of a Trump protester being tackled to the ground by security at his rally, while a supporter yells in the background to burn him alive.
You can’t make this stuff up!
4. College rape culture
Sexual assault at college is a major issue in this country. But like most problems, no one is doing anything about it. Victims who muster up the courage to report their assaults are met with skepticism and lack of support from school officials. The sexual offenders are usually frat boys and college athletes, who college administrations protect to no end because of the amount of money, sponsorship and revenue they bring in.
Many victims state that the attack was, unfortunately, not the worst part of their ordeal, but rather what followed. Many are antagonized by fellow students and sometimes ostracized to the point of suicide.
What will be done: Your guess is as good as mine.
3. Paris attack No. 1
In January, the headquarters of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, were attacked, resulting in the death of 12 people. The city of Paris was paralyzed for two days, as a manhunt to find the perpetrators were underway.
2. Bruce Jenner
Bruce Jenner < Caitlyn Jenner.
1. Paris attack No. 2
Just 10 months after the Hebdo massacre, Paris was attacked once again. In a series of coordinated terrorist attacks, suicide bombers struck near the French stadium, as well as, mass shootings at restaurants and a concert hall. The day’s tragic events claimed the lives of 130 people, injuring hundreds more.
The takeaway: It was definitely a tough 2015 for the people of France, but they are a resilient lot. These tragedies will not prevent them from continuing to progress and grow as a nation.
My 2015: Has been a year of great challenges, but also, great victories. It is impossible to go through life without pain and sorrow. I think it makes you appreciate the good times even more.
There will be dark days ahead and stormy weather on the horizon, but you made it to another year for a reason.
You are here with purpose and you have just been given more time to discover what that purpose is.
Happy New Year and God Bless.
Share your best and worst moments of 2015!
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