Forty years ago this February, President Gerald Ford, was the first to recognize “Black History Month.” This period of acknowledgement evolved from “Negro History Week,” that was created by historian Carter G. Woodson, and other prominent African-Americans. This installment of the FUNKALICIOUS blog, is a retrospective of some American and Internatinal “Black” History accomplishments and occurrences, throughout 2015…
1/1/15: Singer-songwriter Ben Harper (45) weds social advocate Jaclyn Matfus.
1/6/15: Pedro Martínez is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
1/7/15: At least 2000 people are killed after Boko Haram raze the town of Baga, Nigeria.
1/15/15: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on this day in 1929. Assassinated in 1968, it marked the 86th anniversary, of his birth. In August of 1983, The House of Representatives passed the King Holiday Bill, enabling King’s birthday to be observed on the third Monday of every January.
1/19/15: Serena Williams’ winning year began at the Australian Open and ended with the 2015 US Open. Williams entered the season as the number one ranked player and the defending champion at seven tournaments. She became the first person since Steffi Graf in 1990 to hold the top ranking for two consecutive years. It is also the fifth time that she’s ended as the number 1 player in the year. On December 14th 2015, Sports Illustrated named Serena their 2015 Sportsperson of the Year, the third solo woman given that title. On December 22, Serena was declared the 2015 ITF World Champion for the sixth time in her career. In addition to winning the Australian Open, Williams was the top contender at the Miami Masters, The French Open, Wimbledon, and the Cincinnati Masters. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3DpBq9Y4F0
Bill Duke’s documentary “Light Girls” airs on OWN. The follow-up to his critically acclaimed documentary “Dark Girls,” both films take an in-depth look at colorism and racism, among black people and American society.
1/31/15: Don Covay [Donald Randolph], American R&B musician and songwriter (Chain of Fools), dies at 78.
Black History Month, or National African-American History Month, the annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history marks its 39th year. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as “Black History Month.” Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history.
2/3/15: Professional golfer Charlie Sifford dies at 92.
2/6/15: The 46th NAACP Image Awards: “Selma” wins Outstanding Motion Picture.
2/11/15: President Obama formally seeks authorization from Congress to conduct a three-year campaign against ISIS. The request covers airstrikes and limited ground troops. It specifically says the U.S. would not “engage in enduring offensive ground combat operations.”
2/12/15: An article titled “Fashion’s Racial Divide” by Vanessa Friedman is published in the New York Times. It discusses the lack of a black presence in the fashion industry, despite the fact that black people are, and always have been trendsetters when it comes to fashion. Friedman notes the black designers of the day including: Tracy Reese, Afro-Caribbean Carly Cushnie – co-designer of Cushnie et Ochs, Maxwell Osborne – one-half Public School and Shayne Oliver of Hood by Air. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/12/fashion/fashions-racial-divide.html?_r=0
2/18/15: Actor and comedian Mike Epps tells Larry King that he is honored, ecstatic and scared to play the role of legendary comedian Richard Pryor. The film will be produced and directed by Lee Daniels and co-star Oprah Winfrey as Pryor’s grandmother – Eddie Murphy and Kate Hudson are also among the cast. On Sunday, August 24th of 2014, Winfrey posted a picture on her Instagram of herself, Daniels and Epps, after the trio had completed a first read-through of the Richard Pryor movie. Daniels did the same shortly after on his Twitter, confirming Epps’ starring role. http://www.ora.tv/larrykingnow/2015/2/18/mike-epps-clip-3-0_3bfxedpgiy20
2/26/15: Earl Lloyd, first black person to play in the National Basketball Association in the 1950–51 NBA season, dies at 86. Two days later (2/28) Anthony Mason, NBA forward (NY Knicks, Charlotte Hornets), dies at 48 of a heart attack.
3/10/15: A jury awards Marvin Gaye’s children $7.4 million, determining that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams copied Gaye’s music to create “Blurred Lines.” It was the biggest song of 2013, earning over $16 million and counting.
3/20/15: The controversy surrounding Robin Thicke and Pharrell’s “Blurred Lines” and Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up” causes a major spike in sales of Gaye’s music. According to Billboard, his greatest hits album “The No. 1′s” released in 2009, lands in the Billboard 200 chart at No. 175. The album moved 4,000 units. The site reports, “54 percent of its points were earned from track equivalent albums, fueled by sales of the song ‘Got To Give It Up (Pt. 1).’” The song recorded its biggest sales week ever with 10K downloads – an increase of 246 percent – and jumps back into the R&B Digital Songs chart at No. 18.
3/13/15: Entertainment Tonight releases exclusively that Eddie Murphy is in talks with Lee Daniels for a role in the untitled Richard Pryor biopic. Murphy will portray Pryor’s father, LeRoy “Buck Carter” Pryor, a former boxer. ET also confirms that Kate Hudson will play Pryor’s wife, Jennifer Pryor, who is a producer on the film.
3/30/15: Entertainment mogul Jay Z announces his plans for Tidal. A subscription streaming service, he recently bought for $56 million, the majority of the company will be owned by artists. Tidal is to be a home for high-fidelity audio and exclusive content. “This is a platform that’s owned by artists,” Jay Z said in an interview, “We are treating these people that really care about the music with the utmost respect.”
It’s announced that South African comedian Trevor Noah will succeed Jon Stewart as the host of “The Daily Show” television program on the Comedy Central network. Noah gets a slew of negative press in the following days for what are said to be “Anti-Semitic” comments he’s made and/ or tweeted. His defense is that he’s a comedian. Although Noah is not a black American comedian, he’s verbally assaulted and bashed, liken to the treatment of black people in this country.
4/5/15: Beverly Bond’s “BLACK GIRLS ROCK!” celebrated 9 years since its inception in 2006. Hosted by Traci Ellis Ross (Diana Ross’ daughter) and Regina King, it airs on BET, First Lady Michelle Obama was in attendance. The honorees included: Nadia Lopez, Dr. Helene D. Gayle, Erykah Badu, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Ava Duvernay and Cicely Tyson as the year’s “Living Legend.” The award show celebrates the accomplishments of exceptional women of color who have made outstanding contributions in their careers and stand as inspirational and positive role models in the community.
4/7/15: Marks the 100th anniversary of Billie Holiday’s birth. Born on April 7th, 1915 in Philadelphia, her innovative vocal style has influenced a multitude of singers around the world, over the past century. Molly Johnson’s “Because of Billie” and Cassandra Wilson’s “Coming Forth By Day” tribute albums are released. Jose James’ “Yesterday I Had the Blues: Music of Billie Holiday” became available on March 31st. The three records are the latest among several in memory of undisputedly one of the greatest singers of all time. Eleanora Fagan, better known as Billie Holiday, made her transition on July 17th, 1959 at the age of 44. http://museumofuncutfunk.com/2015/03/31/happy-100th-birthday-billie/
North Charleston, S.C., officer Michael Thomas Slager, is captured on video, firing a volley of bullets into the back of Walter Scott who was running away. The incident is recorded by Feidin Santana and is first released by the New York Times. The footage resulted in Officer Michael Slager, 33, being arrested and charged with murder. “I won’t deny that I knew the magnitude of this, and I even thought about erasing the video,” Santana said in an interview on MSNBC’s “All In With Chris Hayes.” “I felt that my life, with this information, might be in danger. I thought about erasing the video and just getting out of the community, you know Charleston, and living some place else,” the 23-year-old said. “I knew the cop didn’t do the right thing.” Slager was released from jail on January 4th of this year, and will remain under house arrest until his trial is set to begin, next Halloween. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6-jFQPu-yo
4/9/15: Kevin Hart’s “What Now? Tour” kicks off at San Antonio’s AT&T Center. The average price for tickets is $196. It will hit 45 cities in the U.S. and Canada from April to August, hitting venues like the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Staples Center in Los Angeles and New York City’s Madison Square Garden.
4/11/15: Apr 11th – Barack Obama and Raul Castro meet in Panama, the 1st meeting of US and Cuban heads of state since the Cuban Revolution.
4/12/15: Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African-American resident of Baltimore, Maryland, sustained injuries following his arrest by policemen. On the 18th, after Gray’s subsequent coma, the residents of Baltimore protested in front of the Western district police station. Gray dies the following day – one week after being arrested. He was in good health at the time of his arrest, falling into a coma while in transport, which was the result of injuries to his neck and a severed spine sustained in the police vehicle.
Fashion designer Tina Knowles (61) weds actor Richard Lawson (68) in Newport Beach, California.
4/18/15: Bill Withers and The “5” Royales are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Stevie Wonder inducts Withers and Steve Cropper inducts The “5” Royales. The 30th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony returns to Cleveland’s Public Hall. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCnVrjdgyAk
4/23/15: Loretta Lynch, a federal prosecutor President Barack Obama selected to replace Attorney General Eric Holder, is confirmed in a 56-43 Senate vote. Lynch is the first African-American woman to hold the nation’s top law enforcement post. The vote came more than 50 days after the president chose her to succeed Holder — longer than the past seven attorneys general. The president was not happy about the delay, calling it “embarrassing” the following day.
5/2/15: Fight of the Century: Floyd Mayweather, Jr. beats Manny Pacquiao in 12 for the welterweight boxing title.
5/3/15: Retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, announces he’s running for president in an interview, on CBS News affiliate WKRC in Cincinnati. Carson said, “I’m willing to be part of the equation and therefore, I’m announcing my candidacy for President of the United States of America.” He follows up with an announcement event in Detroit the next day.
5/4/15: Golden State Warrior Stephen Curry is named MVP for the 2014-15 NBA season.
5/14/15: B.B. King, American Blues guitarist and singer-songwriter, dies at 89.
5/15/15: Janet Jackson announces a new album and world tour. She will release her forthcoming eleventh album in the fall through her own record label, Rhythm Nation, distributed by BMG Rights Management. Later in June, the first 36 dates of the “Unbreakable World Tour” in North America are announced. Pre-sale tickets are made available exclusively to American Express and Citibank cardholders prior to general admission tickets going on sale on June 22. The “Unbreakable World Tour” is the seventh concert tour by Jackson. “Unbreakable” is released on October 2nd and the tour kicks off August 31st in Vancouver, Canada at the Rogers Arena.
5/19/15: Marks the 90th anniversary of Malcolm X’s birth – My Blog “M is for Malcolm.” http://museumofuncutfunk.com/2015/05/17/m-is-for-malcolm-born-90-years-ago-today/
5/21/15: A grand jury in Baltimore indicted six police officers on homicide and assault charges in the death of Freddie Gray, who was fatally injured last month in police custody. The charges do not differ greatly from those initially filed previously against the officers by the state’s attorney, Marilyn J. Mosby. A grand jury agreeing and delivering an indictment is a milestone in a case that has generated national attention.
5/24/15: Officers arrested 71 people the night after the acquittal of a patrolman who had been on trial in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects. They were killed in a 137-shot barrage of police gunfire in 2012. The level of protests, were nothing close to the violence in other cities, like Baltimore, MD or Ferguson, MO over the treatment of black suspects. These incidents are backlash of black people in America, retaliating against unjust treatment that they have endured, since the end of slavery.
6/6/15: Serena Williams beats Lucie Safarova (6-3, 6-7, 6-2) at the 114th Women’s French Open.
6/8/15: The North Charleston, S.C., police officer who fatally shot Walter Scott as he fled a traffic stop is indicted by a grand jury on a charge of murder. This indictment comes two months after Michael Slager was charged with murder for shooting and killing Scott.
6/11/15: Ornette Coleman, American jazz saxophonist and composer (Free Jazz), dies at 85.
6/18/15: Andrew Lack, Chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, announces that Lester Holt will be the permanent anchor of “NBC Nightly News.” Holt, 56, has been a television news reporter for thirty-four years. He joined NBC in 2000 and became the full-time anchor of “Weekend Nightly News” in 2007. He also anchors “Dateline” and co-anchors “Weekend TODAY.”
6/22/15: South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley calls for the removal of the Confederate flag from statehouse grounds in wake of killings in a Charleston church. This is Black History because the flag’s underlying reason for flying.
6/25/15: Obamacare subsidies in The Affordable Care Act preserved by US Supreme Court Ruling in King v Burwell 6-3.
Karl-Anthony Towns is chosen by the Minnesota Timberwolves, as the first draft pick in the 2015 NBA draft.
President Obama announces US and Cuba announce agreement to re-open embassies and establish full diplomatic ties.
7/4/15: Actress and singer Vanessa Williams (52) weds Jim Skrip in Buffalo, New York.
7/6/15: Floyd Mayweather Jr. is stripped of his WBO welterweight boxing title after failing to pay his $200,000 & vacate his light middleweight title.
7/10/15: The Confederate flag is taken down for the last time from South Carolina Capitol grounds 1 day after the state legislature ordered it removed. This is Black History due to the undisputed insult the flag’s presence was to Black people for far too long.
7/14/15: Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book “Between the World and Me” is released. Critically acclaimed, it’s an attempt to answer questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world, American history, and ideals. It’s hailed by fellow author Toni Morrison as “required reading,” a bold and personal literary exploration of America’s racial history, by “the single best writer on the subject of race in the United States.” Coates is an American writer, journalist and educator, as well as a national correspondent for “The Atlantic,” where he writes about cultural, social and political issues, particularly as it regards African-Americans.
7/23/15: Supreme Court rejects Bill Cosby’s petition against a civil case of his alleged sexual of 15-year-old girl at the Playboy Mansion in 1974.
7/24/15: US President Barack Obama begins an historic two-day visit to Kenya.
Antoine Fuqua’s “Southpaw” is released. It’s his 16th credit as a director and was written by “Sons of Anarchy” creator Kurt Sutter. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams and Oona Laurence.
7/26/15: Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, dies in a coma at 22.
8/3/15: President Obama unveils his Clean Power Plan to cut greenhouse gases.
8/9/15: Today marked one year since Michael Brown was killed during a confrontation with Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson. The shooting sparked protests across the country and put police tactics in the spotlight. Anger in Ferguson still resonates, as a thousand people gathered, where Brown was killed. His father, Michael Brown Sr., admitted to the crowd the pain hasn’t eased. “The biggest question that is always asked to me is, how I feel,” Brown said. “I think that’s just the dumbest question you could ever ask me.” The family then led a four-and-a-half-minute-long moment of silence — each minute for the number of hours Brown’s body laid on the ground.
8/14/15: “Straight Outta Compton” hits movie theaters nationwide. Directed by F. Gary Gray, the film is about he group NWA and how they rose to stardom, from the streets of Compton in Los Angeles, California, in the mid-1980s. Produced by Gray, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Cube’s partner Matt Alvarez, among others, it stars Cube’s son O’Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell and Oscar nominee Paul Giamatti. Footnote: The film was nominated for Best Original Screenplay for the 2016 Academy Awards this year (1/ 14). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-F5WcFPDzko
8/23/15: Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan (46) weds model Megan Wollover (28) in NYC.
8/28/15: Shadow and Act reports that the cast for Lee Daniels’ Richard Pryor biopic is official. It stars Mike Epps, Eddie Murphy, Oprah Winfrey and Kate Hudson. Winfrey will portray Marie Carter, Pryor’s grandmother, and Hudson is Jennifer Lee Pryor, Pryor’s 4th wife. Production is expected to begin in March 2016, as soon as Daniels wraps up work on the hit Fox series, “Empire.”
8/30/15: Kanye West announces he will run for President in 2020 at the MTV Video Music Awards.
8/31/15: President Obama officially re-designates Alaska’s Mt. McKinley as Denali, its native American name and arrives in the state on a 3 day tour highlighting climate change. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjcAZNRfm1g
Janet Jackson’s North American leg of her “Unbreakable World Tour” kicks off in Vancouver, Canada at the Rogers Arena.
9/14/15: Miss America pageant chief executive Sam Haskell, apologizes to Vanessa Williams, who was forced to resign her Miss America title. Williams and her mother are present at the annual ceremony.
9/18/15: Broadway.com reports that Oscar and Tony winner Denzel Washington, announced at a Q&A at University of Southern California, that he will executive produce all ten of the Pulitzer winner August Wilson’s plays for HBO according to Deadline. Viola Davis, who performed opposite Washington in a revival of “Fences,” is set to appear in the film adaptation. Footnote: Washington was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globe Awards this year (1/ 10).
9/21/15: Viola Davis wins an Emmy for her role, in the ABC Shonda Rimes produced crime-drama “Getting Away with Murder,” at the 67th Emmy Awards where Andy Samberg is the host. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSpQfvd_zkE
9/23/15: Season 2 of television series’, “Black-ish” and “Empire,” air on ABC and FOX respectively. “Black-ish” discusses the inappropriate use of the “N word” and “Empire” brings attention to the overt number of black men that have been unjustly imprisoned. “Black-ish” is produced by and stars Laurence Fishburne and Anthony Anderson. Tracee Ellis Ross, Yara Shahidi, Marcus Scribner, Miles Brown, Marsai Martin and Jennifer Lewis are also part of the cast. “Empire,” was created by the show’s producers, Lee Daniels and Danny Strong. It stars Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Jussie Smollett, Bryshere Y. Gray, Trai Byers, Grace Gealey and Oscar nominee Gabourey Sidibe. Episodes since the show’s inception, have had Debbie Allen, Mario Van Peebles, Paris Barclay, John Singleton, Sanaa Hamri, Craig Brewer and Daniels as directors. Footnote: Henson won the award for Best Actress in a TV Series Drama at the Golden Globe Awards this year. She handed out cookies on the way to the podium to accept her honor, representative of her character’s name, on the show (1/ 10).
10/13/15: Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke is charged with first-degree murder of 17 year old African American Laquan McDonald in 2014.
Marlon James becomes first Jamaican to win the Man Booker Prize for his novel “A Brief History of Seven Killings.”
10/16/15: Winter Ophelia Allison Waller is born to writers and media professional parents Kimberly and Curtis Waller. She arrives at 11:16pm and weighs 7lbs./ 3oz. at Mt. Auburn hospital in Cambridge, MA.
10/18/15: The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor goes to Eddie Murphy. “The Mark Twain Prize recognizes people who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist best known as Mark Twain,” said the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in its description of the prize, which was first awarded in 1998 to Richard Pryor. Other previous recipients include Jonathan Winters, Lily Tomlin, Will Ferrell and Ellen DeGeneres. “I am deeply honored to receive this recognition from the Kennedy Center and to join the distinguished list of past recipients of this award,” Murphy said according to a statement from the Kennedy Center. Murphy posted, “It’s going to be great!,” on his official Facebook page before the ceremony. The announcement was accompanied by a picture of Twain with the quote: “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.” It airs on PBS on November 23rd.
10/19/15: Oprah Winfrey announces she has taken a 10% stake in Weight Watchers. Shares soar for the weight loss company as a result. Winfrey will spend $43 million on the investment, according to a regulatory filing, buying 6.4 million newly-issued shares at $6.79 apiece. Winfrey will also receive options to acquire an additional 5% stake. “Weight Watchers has given me the tools to begin to make the lasting shift that I and so many of us who are struggling with weight have longed for,” said Winfrey, “I believe in the program so much I decided to invest in the company and partner in its evolution.” Winfrey will also join the board of directors and act as an adviser for the company.
10/27/15: The companion book to Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s PBS series, “And Still I Rise: Black America Since MLK” is published. It’s a timeline and chronicle of the past fifty years of black history in the U.S. and features more than 350 photos.
10/30/15: Lalah Hathaway’s first LIVE recording is released. Hathaway says: “This album is a dream fulfilled! It means everything to me to have built this record with and for the fans, as I mark my 25th year as a recording artist.” Hathaway recorded the project live at the historic Troubadour Theater in Los Angeles earlier this year. It’s the same place where her father recorded half of his seminal 1972 album “Donny Hathaway Live.”
11/10/15: The legendary Allen Toussaint dies at age 77 after performing in Madrid. The New Orleans native worked with some of music’s biggest stars – including Paul McCartney, Irma Thomas, Aaron Neville, Joe Cocker, Glen Campbell, Elvis Costello and Patti LaBelle. Funeral services take place in traditional NO fashion ten days later. http://www.avclub.com/article/watch-allen-toussaint-gets-jazz-funeral-treatment–228855
11/12/15: Out Magazine names Barack Obama ‘Ally of the Year’, Obama becomes 1st sitting US President to pose for cover of a gay magazine.
11/23/15: Eddie Murphy’s previously taped ceremony for the Mark Twain Award airs on PBS. Over a dozen comedians are present to honor him at the event, including Dave Chappelle, George Lopez, Kathy Griffin, Tracy Morgan, Trevor Noah, Joe Piscopo and Chris Rock. Murphy does an impersonation of Bill Cosby when accepting his award. Murphy flat out refused to do his legendary impression at the Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary special back in February. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTfCqGtV1zU
11/24/15: Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke is charged with first-degree murder of 17 year old African American Laquan McDonald in 2014.
11/30/15: NBA star Kobe Bryant (LA Lakers) announces his intention to retire at the end of the season.
12/4/15: Spike Lee’s “Chi-Raq” hits theaters nationwide. His 21st feature film he has 64 credits as a director. “Chi-Raq” stars Samuel L. Jackson, Nick Cannon, Angela Bassett, Wesley Snipes, John Cusack, Teyonah Parris and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGTuuj-aTJs
12/6/15: Cicely Tyson and Rita Moreno, are among the honorees for Lifetime Artistic Achievements, at the 38th Annual Kennedy Center Honors. Carole King, George Lucas and Seiji Ozawa, are also recognized. The event airs on CBS on December 29, 2015 at 9:00p.m.
12/7/15: Kendrick Lamar leads the list of nominees, with 11 nominations, for the 2016 Grammy Awards. The Weeknd gets seven nominations. D’Angelo’s “Really Love” is nominated for Record of the Year and his album “Black Messiah” is nominated for Best R&B Album. Lalah Hathaway and Andra Day, are both recognized for Best Traditional R&B Performance and Best R&B Performance respectively, for “Little Ghetto Boy” and “Rise.”
Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West announce on social media that their second child’s name is Saint West.
12/9/15: The Central Park Five—the five men wrongfully convicted of sexually assaulting and attempting to kill a white female jogger in New York City’s Central Park in 1989—are seeking $52 million from the state of New York in a wrongful-imprisonment claim, an amount that would be in addition to a $41 million settlement with New York City that they won in a civil rights suit in federal court.
12/10/15: “The Color Purple” opens on Broadway. Starring Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson as “Shug Avery,” the all around female entertainer performed the song “Push The Button,” on “The Late Show” after taking the couch with Stephen Colbert on Monday (12/ 07) night.
12/12/15: President Barack Obama hailed a sweeping international agreement aimed at curbing climate change saying the historic deal represents the best chance to save the planet. “We came together around a strong agreement the world needed,” the president said during brief remarks at the White House. “We met the moment.”
12/16/15: The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Estate of Michael Jackson, Epic Records and Legacy Recordings announced today that Michael Jackson’s THRILLER is the first album in RIAA Gold & Platinum Program history to be certified 30X Multi-Platinum for U.S. sales, continuing The King of Pop’s reign as the biggest selling artist of all time with worldwide sales of over 100 million for Thriller and 1 billion overall.
The trial of the first Baltimore police officer in the death of Freddie Gray ended in a hung jury. This was the first of cases against officers facing charges, in a fatal police incident that prompted violence in Baltimore, last spring.
12/17/15: N.W.A. to inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced. Ceremony takes place on April 8th 2016 at New York’s Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
12/20/15: Steve Harvey announces the wrong winner of the Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas. Misreading the finalists, Harvey said Miss Colombia was the winner but she was actually the first runner-up, and Miss Philippines was the real winner. The blunder makes major headline news, and Harvey is ribbed about the incident by fellow comedians Jamie Foxx at the Golden Globes, and Bill Maher on his HBO show “Real Time” the following year. It’s later rumored that Harvey’s error was due to being inebriated. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmqAjr0xs04
12/25/15: The film “Concussion” hits theaters. Starring Will Smith, it’s based on the findings of Dr. Bennet Omalu who discovers neurological deterioration, while conducting an autopsy on former NFL football player Mike Webster. Omalu names the disorder chronic traumatic encephalopathy and publishes his findings in a medical journal. Omalu then embarks on a mission to raise public awareness about the dangers of football-related head trauma.
12/27/15: Meadowlark Lemmon, American basketball star (Harlem Globetrotters), dies at 83.
12/28/15: A grand jury declines to charge Cleveland patrolman Officer Tim Loehmann, who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was holding a pellet gun in a park. Loehmann fired after arriving less than two seconds on the scene. In announcing the decision, Timothy J. McGinty, the Cuyahoga County prosecutor, said he had recommended that the grand jurors not bring charges in the killing of the boy. Rice was playing with the gun outside a recreation center in November 2014.
12/30/15: Bill Cosby is charged with indecent assault charges stemming from an alleged 2004 incident in Pennsylvania, according to prosecutors and court documents. After a brief court appearance, the 78-year-old comedian is released on one million dollar bail and the judge wishes him “good luck.” Following court, Cosby is processed and had his mug shot taken, at the Cheltenham Police Department.
12/31/15: Grammy Award winning singer Natalie Cole dies at age 65. Her hits included the songs “This Will Be,” “Inseparable” and “Our Love.” She also recorded “Unforgettable … With Love,” a best-selling album of songs made famous by her late father, Nat King Cole. Cole’s death was confirmed by her publicist Maureen O’Connor. Notables quick to express their condolences were Montell Williams, Arsenio Hall and Rev. Jesse Jackson. TWEETS “#NatalieCole, sister beloved & of substance and sound. May her soul rest in peace.” – Rev. Jesse Jackson; “#RIP Natalie Cole – world lost a great talent today.” – Montel Williams; “In college, I named my bass guitar Natalie! As a young stand up comic I opened for Natalie Cole. She was all that, in all ways! [ RIP ]” – Arsenio Hall.
in recognition and honor of Black People making History Around the World… Everyday
online sources used for this timeline include these below and ones referenced throughout: