2015 will end in just two days. Incredible! It feels as though it was just a few weeks ago that we were doubled over in laughter in response to Two Thoozin’s hopes and prayers that “evultin will be vibely on Nachurrr Gawd!” – and yet a whole year has gone by!
This year has been fraught with memorable events, both good and bad. Personally, 2015 marked what I consider the best year of my life to date. I mean that earnestly. I connected with wonderful people, achieved an astounding number of professional and personal goals, and finally experienced what it was like to walk in divine favor. I believe these successes had a lot to do with my decision to choose to be more selfish this year. I wouldn’t consider myself a “people pleaser”, but I do acknowledge I have a near uncontrollable propensity to come to the ready rescue of others; whether they deserve it or not, whether I am fully equipped to “save” them or not. This has repeatedly cost me heartache and money in the past, and this year I just said “NO!” to all of it. It is the first time in my life I have felt empowered and comfortable with saying “no”. Those “nos” also affected what I decided to write about. I chose less weighty topics for the majority of the year, and it’s done wonders for my psyche and my spiritual health.
I have not yet decided if I will return to fighting form in 2016. Honestly, I’m a little scared to.
Plus, I got to focus on writing and completing a bunch of books!
But this post isn’t about my year. It’s about our year as an online family! I’ve asked a number of you to share what you consider to be your most impactful moments of the year and have compiled them here. I have to say, I agree with ALL of them. Some were amusing, others disturbing, some soul-rending and all of them truly stirring. So without further ado, I present to you – in no particular order – the most important moments of 2015, according to the MOM Squad!
The Circumstances Surrounding Sandra Bland’s Death: Sandra Bland’s death (some say murder) rocked the conscience of the entire nation. It set us ill at ease. Sandy is but one of many persons of color who lost their lives to police brutality under suspicious circumstances. We were left feeling less safe; more certain that we are being hunted in this country. It didn’t matter that she was “woke”, or knew her rights, or that she hadn’t committed a crime other than resisting arrest while not being under arrest in the first place…she still ended up dead in a rural Texas jail cell. Never forget Sandra Bland.
Key & Peele Perform Negro Town Skit: Like 2014 (and 2013 and 2012 and…1643), 2015 saw its fair share of public executions of unarmed citizens. Through it all, we used music and/or comedy as a balm to soothe a never healing wound. Often criticized for their failure to/fear of addressing brutality against the Black community specifically, comedy duo Key & Peele ended the five year run of their show with a sketch called Negro Town, a brilliant response to the many ills affecting the Black community frequently wrought by racism. Hilarity did ensue. We were comforted, grateful…even hopeful. A couple of us are still trying to navigate our way to this fabled town.
POTUS pop off play list: Please…! Don’t pop off about President Obama’s response to ISIS or any policies regarding it unless you have some alternatives. If not, get ready for that clapback!
100 Black Pastors shame us: This was a low moment for the Kingdom of God and all who call themselves sons and daughters of the King. 100+/- Black clergymen and women pledged to endorse a hate-mongering bigot and wearer of a strange hairdo. Yes, we are talking about Black pastors who publicly support Donald Trump for no discernible reason other than the fact that he “can’t be bought”.
Judas tried to return his 30 pieces of silver after betraying Jesus, and for a moment, he couldn’t be “bought” either. My Lord n’ Savior still ended up battered on the cross though.
Music and Entertainment
Reggie and Bollie nearly win X Factor: Ghanaian music duo Reggie and Bollie catapulted themselves to international fame on the sheer power of vim and determination. While energetic and wildly entertaining, it can’t be claimed that the beloved pair are musically gifted or truly possess any musical talent. They are, however, the ultimate live performers. And they nearly succeeded in carrying out the ultimate coup – and borga fantasy – when they came dangerously close to winning the top spot on the popular English TV show, X Factor. Vim!
Viola Davis’ Harriet Tubman quote at the Emmys: This moment was the epitome of Black Girl MAGIC!!! You hear??? Everything about this moment was magical – from her dress, to her hair, to Taraji leaping from her seat and bearing Viola up with the sister love of the ancients. Just…just watch it again. Relive the moment and fall back in love.
Jem Movie Boycott: I have never seen another movie so roundly rejected. Have you? This movie was doomed to fail from the moment they released the trailer depicting Synergy as an iPhone accessory instead of the intricate holographic program she was designed to function as. There was no saving this film. The words “source material” and “fraud” were bandied about with good reason: the Jem movie offered the ultimate disrespect to all who grew up with and loved the show. The boycott was proof that Hollywood should refrain from screwing with iconic characters, especially if they are female. May the sales numbers serve as a warning – a proverbial head on a spike to all who dare to screw with Jem (or My Little Pony or Punky Brewster) in the future!
The Hamiltones Sing the Hits: God bless Anthony Hamilton and the Hamiltones for sprinkling Lawry’s Seasoned Salt and bacon grease on these pop hits and making them even Blacker and better. Genius!
Wizkid, Drake, Skepta ‘Ojuelegba’ Mix: For as long as anyone can remember, there has been tension between Africans in the Diaspora and those on the Continent, despite the intermittent spurts of effort to reverse that trend. (Think Nkrumah, Ali, Mandela, Maya n’ dem.) This year, the author of a certain article went further in flaming the fans of unnecessary tension by claiming that Blacks in the Diaspora and African Americans (in particular) ought to stop “appropriating” African culture, because reasons. But in all that noise and clamor, 3 artists quietly collaborated to reprise Nigerian hit-maker Wizkid’s Ojuelegba in a stunning mix of simple creativity and cross-cultural partnership that hasn’t been witnessed in recent history. Naija, UK and Canada one track? Come ON, now!
Walaba U Girl: This child singlehandedly got an entire nation to look within, reflect and ask their neighbor/hater to do the same with the repeating of one, singular, probing question: Walaba yew?
The Wiz Live: We needed The Wiz, and we needed it at the moment that it aired. We needed to see a star being born. We needed all that Black Excellence on screen and in our homes, and on a mainstream platform. The Wiz Live is/was our crown jewel this year. Watching it with all of America felt like being in a giant living room, filled with love. We needed that moment of unity, even if it came with 4,000 commercials between scenes and a few dozen inbred racist Twitter trolls.
Patti Pies: Unknown to the rest of the world, Miss Patti Labelle’s sweet potato pies had been on shelves at Walmart for months with tepid sales. Then a little known backup/jingle singer named James Wright Chanel did a review that went viral and one Patti Pie was sold per second for 72 consecutive hours, netting just under $1 million. On that weekend. Never underestimate the power of your voice and a bedazzled hat.
Adele’s Comeback with ‘Hello’ and all the Parodies that Ensued:
Black Twitter featuring #ThanksgivingClapBack, #AskRkelly #masculinitysofragile #BlackLivesMatter #YouOKSis: As Black Twitter is not done doing the Lawd’s work as 2015 has not yet come to a close. In the meantime, I invite you to get online and check out these and other hashtags for yourself in order to witness the glory!
Rachel Dolezal makes ‘Transracial’ a thing: This chick doesn’t deserve any of our energy, and yet, here we are. That’s all I have to say about that.
Events Shaking Africa
John Boyega: Young Mr. Boyega is doing the entire continent proud, and is the latest centurion to join the Nigerian Actor/Mogul World Domination Force (NAMWoDomF). We’re looking forward to seeing what he does in his career in the future!
Burundi: The violence that has broken out in Burundi – a nation that has already seen its fair share – has all of us watching nervously and waiting.
Nelson Baani loses Parliamentary Seat: Known as the ‘Sharia MP’, the man who proposed stoning adulterous women as recompense for cheating on their husbands in 2014 lost his re-election bid almost to the day his absurd utterances came to light. Karma is sweet.
Burkina Faso has issued an international arrest warrant for ousted leader Blaise Compaore in connection with the murder of former President Thomas Sankara. Sankara’s death has never been properly investigated, nor justice done on his behalf. This is a day many Africans have waited for for decades.
Africa Trumps Ebola and Sends it to America: This isn’t something to celebrate. This is actually very serious. Considering that Republicans (and closeted racist Democrats) lobbied hard to close off Africa while this disease ravaged an entire region, but then ended up having Ebola resurface in the US by proxy of American carriers was the ultimate boomerang.
StoreFoundry rips up the online merchant game in Ghana: There’s not much else to say about this. SF is KILLING the game! And if the competition doesn’t get their act together, they will find themselves a distant third in the POS market. (Of course, I confess I’m biased, because they serve as my exclusive online retailer on the Continent. 🙂 )
Kantanka Cars Available for Commercial Sale: At long last: Cars made in Ghana for the Ghanaian market (and hopefully, beyond). What’s not to love?! Let’s hope 2016 sees this pioneer building a website as part of their brand marketing. I mean…because it’s 2016.
Serena Williams: A picture is worth ALL my words.
Biggest upset of the year: Rhonda Rousey got the smack smacked out of her by a woman who seemed to rise out of the mist like a phantom. In the biggest upset in women’s MMA history Holly Holm handily handed Rhonda Rousey her ass. With a kick to the neck. It was unbelievable. I don’t think Rhonda still believes it.
The Heavens Unify the Globe
The world gathered to see the Blood Moon: This was my personal favorite moment of all of 2015. The entire world gathered to watch a historic cosmic event, and for those few hours, we weren’t Christians or Muslims or atheists or pro-gun or anti-abortion. We were just human beings trying (in vain depending on geography) to get a glimpse of a rare blood moon on a cloudy night. Many of us had to rely on technology to get a glimpse. (That’s how I got this shot.)
We congregated in awed silence to witness nature’s majesty…and for those few hours, nothing else mattered: Not our political positions, not our race, not what the Kardashians were wearing to their weekly anal bleaching session.
It was a monumental moment of unity, and it gave me shivers.
We all lost a number of good friends, family, villains and heroes this year. Not wanting to claim that the passing of some people is/was of more importance than others, I opted not list any names out of respect for all. Most will be missed dearly. Other people left the Earth in a better (happier) position with their passing. That’s our reality. If you lost a loved one this year, may fond memories of them forever live in your heart.
What were your favorite moments of 2015? Did this year turn out the way you had hoped, or better?
Well, this is my last post for the year! What will be your last comment? Here’s to a healthy, prosperous, fulfilled 2016, MOM Squad! You all mean the world to me.