Still, we persisted

My rights, my wrongs; I write ’til I’m right with God/Wouldn’t you know/We been hurt, been down before/Nigga, when our pride was low/Lookin’ at the world like, “Where do we go?”/Nigga, and we hate po-po/Wanna kill us dead in the street fo sho’/Nigga, I’m at the preacher’s door/My knees gettin’ weak, and my gun might blow/But we gon’ be alright/Nigga, we gon’ be alright/Nigga, we gon’ be alright/We gon’ be alright/Do you hear me, do you feel me? We gon’ be alright -Kendrick Lamar

The year of our Lord 2017 has been a trying one for many, namely because like the Book of Luke told us would happen, the hearts of men have been unearthed. It seems like every commentator, reporter, and pundit has been peddling existential dread and the energy in the air, even during the holidays, seems heavier and thicker than normal. However, no hater can block a blessing and no bigot can impede upon a purpose. Joy always shows up and achievement is simply a result of trying. So, we decided to do an unranked roundup of 20 awesome unapologetically black achievements of 2017. This is by no means a complete list and we invite you to share more by commenting on this post or via Twitter @unbasicpodcast. Here we go!

  1. Moonlight won the Academy Award for Best Picture
  2. Beyonce, Janet, Rihanna, Solange, Zendaya, Yara, and Amandala, just GP
  3. Seven cities elected their first Black mayors: Cairo, GA, Georgetown, SC, Helena, MT, Milledgeville, GA, St. Paul, MN, and Statesboro, GA
  4. Two cities elected their first black female mayors–  Charlotte, NC and Framingham, MS
  5. Get Out and Girls Trip were two of the highest grossing movies of the year, both with Black directors.
  6. Cardi B became the first Black female rapper to have three singles in the Billboard Top 10 at the same time and have a single with no features go triple platinum
  7. Tiffany Haddish became the first Black woman stand-up comedian to host Saturday Night Live
  8. Neil deGrasse Tyson made science cool with his New York Times bestseller Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (which has been on the list 34 weeks and counting)
  9. There were more television shows with African American leads than ever before: Blackish, The Mayor, Scandal, How To Get Away with Murder, Claws, Insecure, Snowfall, Queen Sugar, Greenleaf, and The Carmichael Show
  10. Rihanna’s make-up line Fenty Beauty shook the cosmetics industry with over $70 million in earned media value in less than six months
  11. 2Chainz turned the concept of a trap house on its head and created a place of community, cultural exchange. and understanding by painting a home in midtown Atlanta pink and staging it as a “trap house.”
  12. Jay Z’s album 4:44
  13. The “Moonlight” music video/Friends spoof that came out as a result of 4:44
  14. Black women in Alabama saved the Democratic party
  15. Keisha Lance Bottoms continued the legacy of Black mayors in Atlanta
  16. NFL players took a knee proving that football has a remarkable impact on public opinion (and Papa John’s Pizza)
  17. A black investment group purchased a park in Memphis, TN and has vowed to remove the Confederate statues in that park.
  18. Meghan Markle found her prince
  19. Dr. Carla Hayden completed her first year as the first woman and the first African American as Librarian of Congress.
  20. Andrea Jenkins became the first openly trans black woman to be elected to public office, taking her seat on the Minneapolis City Council. YAAASSSS!

Season 2, Episode 5: Unbothered

In our latest episode, we’re talking about the little things and all the joy they bring, to quote India Arie. Lately, it seems like everyone is angry and outraged, but today, we are advocating for peace, love, joy, and beauty for beauty’s sake. This is not to say that we are championing tunnel vision, ignorance, and disengaging from the world around you. After all, this is the world to live in and we all share this planet together. But, sometimes, I think we all long for the days before news feeds.

To think that just a decade ago, our phones were simply phones and we were not subjected to 1,000 emotional reactions to every world event, big or small– it seems like the distant past. The wonderful thing about the democratization of communication channels through social media, blogs, podcasts, and video on demand platforms is that it has made our world so much larger. We now know what people who live 10,000 miles away from us are eating for dinner and watching on television. We can stay connected to friends and relatives whose faces we haven’t seen in years, and we can make new connections with people whose existence would have never otherwise occured to us. Our news feeds have made us global citizens.

At the same time, information is coming at us rapidly and vapidly. Everyone’s vying to report it first and everyone is vying to be the first to react, with the hopes of being the voice of the people, with dreams of going viral. But, what that has done to us is put us in a constant state of sorting. We are sorting, hashtagging, listing, and following in order to make sense of the world around us. As we type this blog post, the news has just reported a mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas, where 50 people have been pronounced dead and others are wounded. Prepare for the incoming of comments about how the world is going to hell, think pieces about gun control, opposing think pieces about how it is more important than ever to preserve our second amendment rights, and the inevitable hashtag #PrayforVegas.

Unfortunately, the more that we sort our information, the more we are trying to sort each other. We’re trying to force each other into categories that we can easily understand and digest, however, living things are more complex than the way they color their worlds. And, sometimes we can feel guilty for wanting to feel joy at all. How can I need a break? How can I be happy when children in ______ are without ______? What can I do to make the world a better place?

The answer is in each one of us. Angry people can start a movement, but they can’t finish one. At some point, we all have to look inward and figure out what makes us happy, what we value, and who we love, and choose that each and every day. So, let’s talk about joy. Tweet us and let us know what brings you joy. Share your images of experiencing joy with us on Instagram. #JoyisWoke