Lists, Pop Culture, Race & Politics

extra, extra: the five biggest breaking news stories in black america in the past 25 years

oj

from michael jackson’s unexpected and sudden death to janet jackson’s unexpected and sudden breast, there have been numerous events in the past 25 years that have had a particularly strong resonance in the black community.

today, as a service from vsb.com, the champ has decided to list the top five. enjoy and sh*t

***in reverse order***

5. the oj ordeal (june 14, 1994-october 3, 1995)

you know, the more i think about it, the more i think this actually had more resonance in white mainstream america.

although the entire country was captivated by this trial, i really can’t recall any black people genuinely feeling anything other than shock that he actually got off, and i definitely didnt see the widespread joy that, according to every news channel, was going on in our neighborhoods. like blacks who celebrate kwanzaa, the black who celebrated the oj verdict is still an urban legend to me

plus, jim jones killed nicole brown simpson anyway

4. the rodney king beating (march 3, 1991)

and

3. the LA riots (april 29, 1992-may 4, 1992)

while there have been bigger news stories, i don’t think i’ve ever seen a single clip more times than the footage of a coked-up defenseless rodney king getting his ass kicked by four cops. you can even argue that its the single most famous amateur footage in american history, even more than the zapruder film.

as far as the riots, a part of me felt a perverse amusement watching that unfold. it was like watching an unedited version of cops mixed with the biggest food fight ever, and the surreality of it all had me captivated.

the “amusement” quickly ended though, when seeing reginald denny pulled out of his semi and brutally stomped unconscious, reminding me of exactly how real that sh*t was

2. hurricane katrina (august 25, 2005-present)

katrina

its been four years, and i’m still too saddened about everything that happened down there to write intelligibly about it. sh*t, just thinking about watching “when the levees broke” still puts a lump in my throat.

1. president-elect obama (november 4th 2008, at approximately 11:00pm est)

honestly, since that night everything else to me (his acceptance speech, the inauguration, his eerily efficient fly-killing abilities, my life, etc) has been anti-climatic. i guess thats par for the course when you’re a witness to the biggest news story in black american history. (yup. i said it)

i know my list is right, but since liz my contract requires me to ask if i’m missing anything, i need to ask…am i missing anything?

—the champ

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. And a columnist for EBONY Magazine. And a founding editor for 1839. Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't.

  • you’re right. i couldn’t watch all of “when the levees broke” – i had to leave after the second part cos i was about to burst out sobbing like an infant in a museum, which probably wouldn’t have been appropriate, and i’m not even american. spike definitely did the right thing with that one.

    • @puff, I watched all 900 hours of When the Levees Broke, and yes, I boo-hooed and sniffled in a most un-gangsta fashion.

    • @puff, I watched all 900 hours of When the Levees Broke, and yes, I boo-hooed and sniffled in a most un-gangsta fashion.

    • @puff,

      I haven’t watched “When the Levees Broke” but a friend of mine did a documentary on going down to volunteer post-Katrina & the state of the place made my eye allergies act up :’-(

      • overit

        @Thuggie Luvvie, pink eye is no joke, get it all the time. i wish i had tear ducts instead.

        • @overit, ewwwww… you got conjunctivitis.. somebody got poop in your eye! LMAO

          • overit

            @blackberry molasses, you nasty, lol. i was only trying to illustrate the thug tendencies luvvie and i share.

            if you weren’t my e-mama i would have had to e-cut you.

          • overit

            @blackberry molasses, you nasty, lol. i was only trying to illustrate the thug tendencies luvvie and i share.

            if you weren’t my e-mama i would have had to e-cut you.

        • @overit, ewwwww… you got conjunctivitis.. somebody got poop in your eye! LMAO

        • @overit,

          LMAO u stoopit

        • @overit,

          LMAO u stoopit

      • overit

        @Thuggie Luvvie, pink eye is no joke, get it all the time. i wish i had tear ducts instead.

      • @Thuggie Luvvie,
        i neva saw it either watchin the real thing was hard enuf

      • @Thuggie Luvvie,
        i neva saw it either watchin the real thing was hard enuf

    • @puff,

      I haven’t watched “When the Levees Broke” but a friend of mine did a documentary on going down to volunteer post-Katrina & the state of the place made my eye allergies act up :’-(

  • you’re right. i couldn’t watch all of “when the levees broke” – i had to leave after the second part cos i was about to burst out sobbing like an infant in a museum, which probably wouldn’t have been appropriate, and i’m not even american. spike definitely did the right thing with that one.

  • Liz

    Um yeah. Riots weren’t so fun when you were right there in south central where they broke out.

    scariest night of my life.

    • @Liz, since I lived in Gardena, I didn’t feel the brunt of it like folks in the city did. The shopping center around the corner from me did catch it and a lot of places I had once patronized around town did burn down, which was sad. Media watching was something else for me, seeing things I never knew could happen on the news. But the aftermath did yield necessary changes (one of which was a true clean break from those horrible 80s Blacks suffered through in this town).

      • @Stuff Ghetto People Like,
        das real shi im from nothern cali but i got fam down there and my cuzos was all up in that shii lootin my one cuzo said he aint neva seen nuthin like that in his life.

      • @Stuff Ghetto People Like,
        das real shi im from nothern cali but i got fam down there and my cuzos was all up in that shii lootin my one cuzo said he aint neva seen nuthin like that in his life.

    • @Liz, since I lived in Gardena, I didn’t feel the brunt of it like folks in the city did. The shopping center around the corner from me did catch it and a lot of places I had once patronized around town did burn down, which was sad. Media watching was something else for me, seeing things I never knew could happen on the news. But the aftermath did yield necessary changes (one of which was a true clean break from those horrible 80s Blacks suffered through in this town).

  • Liz

    Um yeah. Riots weren’t so fun when you were right there in south central where they broke out.

    scariest night of my life.

  • Umm… so you just not gon mention the day Lil Kim became an Asian Woman as a notable news event?? Or even the day that JayZ finally took some TCB (two combs & a brush) to his natty coif? Or the day Wanda Sykes shocked us ALL and came out *snicker*? You racist, Champ.

    • JamaicanGirl

      @Thuggie Luvvie, or the day Beyoncee sang her own song as a tribute MJ?

      • charli skipper

        @JamaicanGirl,
        ugh!!!!!! that disgusted me. i don’t mean to be fickle, but i’ve been the biggest beyonce fan since forever. however, this whole mj tragedy has me lookin at her like, “b*tch sit yo old ass down.” micheal had 36,372 songs. you mean she couldn’t pick ONE as a 60 second tribute!? hell, “halo” isn’t even HER best song. uh uh. da*n that.

      • charli skipper

        @JamaicanGirl,
        ugh!!!!!! that disgusted me. i don’t mean to be fickle, but i’ve been the biggest beyonce fan since forever. however, this whole mj tragedy has me lookin at her like, “b*tch sit yo old ass down.” micheal had 36,372 songs. you mean she couldn’t pick ONE as a 60 second tribute!? hell, “halo” isn’t even HER best song. uh uh. da*n that.

      • K to the…

        @JamaicanGirl,

        I’m going to her concert tonight and if she performs that shat like she did at the awards, I’m throwing a rock at her…mid on-stage costume change. So what I’m in section 311…I’ve been building up strength in my baby bicep ever since I saw the BET Awards….

        • @K to the…,
          lmao u crazy
          i cant stand bey jelly or not well actually if she is on mute i can watch the “single ladies” video dayum

        • @K to the…,
          lmao u crazy
          i cant stand bey jelly or not well actually if she is on mute i can watch the “single ladies” video dayum

      • K to the…

        @JamaicanGirl,

        I’m going to her concert tonight and if she performs that shat like she did at the awards, I’m throwing a rock at her…mid on-stage costume change. So what I’m in section 311…I’ve been building up strength in my baby bicep ever since I saw the BET Awards….

    • JamaicanGirl

      @Thuggie Luvvie, or the day Beyoncee sang her own song as a tribute MJ?

    • Yaa

      @Thuggie Luvvie,

      “Or the day Wanda Sykes shocked us ALL and came out”

      Uhmmmmm yeah…who…saw….that….coming! LMAO

      • K to the…

        @Yaa,

        Wanda Sykes is gay!?!?! *jaw drop*

        j/k

      • K to the…

        @Yaa,

        Wanda Sykes is gay!?!?! *jaw drop*

        j/k

    • Yaa

      @Thuggie Luvvie,

      “Or the day Wanda Sykes shocked us ALL and came out”

      Uhmmmmm yeah…who…saw….that….coming! LMAO

  • Umm… so you just not gon mention the day Lil Kim became an Asian Woman as a notable news event?? Or even the day that JayZ finally took some TCB (two combs & a brush) to his natty coif? Or the day Wanda Sykes shocked us ALL and came out *snicker*? You racist, Champ.

  • Gem Possible

    from michael jackson’s unexpected and sudden death to janet jackson’s unexpected and sudden breast

    lmao nicely written intro, Champikins. you’re on a roll this week.

    i remember being in my spanish class when we watched the OJ verdict on tv. mr. orteaga actually turned it on for us 7th graders to watch (sidenote: wtf??). and all the black kids in my class were jumping and hollering like they actually knew the implications of such a verdict. my parents found OJ disgusting, and so thusly i too (at the tender age of 12) thought OJ was wrongfully acquitted. Johnny Cochran did make for some funny 1-liners (again none of which i could truly appreciate until i got older).

    • @Gem Possible, dam* i am old, that was when i was a senior, lol

      • charli skipper

        @Naturally Alise,
        i was in the 4th grade! fountain of youth up in this bish!! lol

        • JamaicanGirl

          @charli skipper, i was in the second grade its clear who was all up in the Fountain of youth.

          • @JamaicanGirl,
            7th grade and OJ AINT DO IT

          • @JamaicanGirl,
            7th grade and OJ AINT DO IT

        • JamaicanGirl

          @charli skipper, i was in the second grade its clear who was all up in the Fountain of youth.

        • missjess

          @charli skipper,
          i was in the 4th grade too

        • missjess

          @charli skipper,
          i was in the 4th grade too

      • charli skipper

        @Naturally Alise,
        i was in the 4th grade! fountain of youth up in this bish!! lol

      • RedBeanzNRice w/Red Snapper

        @Naturally Alise,

        I know right? Why did she have to give her age an sht, lol.

        • Gem Possible

          @RedBeanzNRice w/Red Snapper,

          lol my bad. i was just trying to enhance the memory and sh…

        • Gem Possible

          @RedBeanzNRice w/Red Snapper,

          lol my bad. i was just trying to enhance the memory and sh…

      • RedBeanzNRice w/Red Snapper

        @Naturally Alise,

        I know right? Why did she have to give her age an sht, lol.

      • @Naturally Alise,
        yo, Gemmie, Charlie and Jamaican Girl making me feel old as shyt. I was a sophomore….
        and being one of the 45 black kids in my H.S. of 1,900– we were getting side-eyes for a week, like WE did something. Even from the teachers.

        • PBG

          @blackberry molasses,

          Forget ya’ll….”Old”. hmph.
          I was already “grown” w/a baby. Tina was a toddler and I had walked her to the playground that day (of the OJ verdict). We were walking home and all of a sudden there were ppl cheering and jumping up & down in the street in my old neighborhood. I knew right then what had happened. I just shook my head. I’ve always thought he was guilty, but I know why black folks were so happy.

          Personally, OJ is my “boogeyman”. He scares me shytless. Ever since the day they found his ex-wife dead, I’ve had nightmares of that lumbering monster chasing me down and cutting my head off. He is absolutely terrifying.

        • PBG

          @blackberry molasses,

          Forget ya’ll….”Old”. hmph.
          I was already “grown” w/a baby. Tina was a toddler and I had walked her to the playground that day (of the OJ verdict). We were walking home and all of a sudden there were ppl cheering and jumping up & down in the street in my old neighborhood. I knew right then what had happened. I just shook my head. I’ve always thought he was guilty, but I know why black folks were so happy.

          Personally, OJ is my “boogeyman”. He scares me shytless. Ever since the day they found his ex-wife dead, I’ve had nightmares of that lumbering monster chasing me down and cutting my head off. He is absolutely terrifying.

      • @Naturally Alise,
        yo, Gemmie, Charlie and Jamaican Girl making me feel old as shyt. I was a sophomore….
        and being one of the 45 black kids in my H.S. of 1,900– we were getting side-eyes for a week, like WE did something. Even from the teachers.

      • @Naturally Alise,

        lol, according to the date, i was a junior, but for whatever reason, i remember being a senior.

      • @Naturally Alise,

        lol, according to the date, i was a junior, but for whatever reason, i remember being a senior.

      • @Naturally Alise, I was a senior too…geez seems like yesterday

      • @Naturally Alise, I was a senior too…geez seems like yesterday

    • @Gem Possible, dam* i am old, that was when i was a senior, lol

    • @Gem Possible,

      I remember how tense it was a school that day. The school I was being bussed to, was in a neighborhood in the middle of White-flight, in Alabama. Everything ground to a halt when it was time for the verdict to be read. There were pools and everything. I bugged one of my teachers for a week to let me in on the sentencing/verdict pool. I was thinking that there was going to be a hung jury. There were a couple of fist pumps, but not a bunch of hooting and hollering.

      • Gem Possible

        @Legendary Dash,

        LOL wowsers @ “I bugged one of my teachers for a week to let me in on the sentencing/verdict pool.”

      • Gem Possible

        @Legendary Dash,

        LOL wowsers @ “I bugged one of my teachers for a week to let me in on the sentencing/verdict pool.”

    • @Gem Possible,

      I remember how tense it was a school that day. The school I was being bussed to, was in a neighborhood in the middle of White-flight, in Alabama. Everything ground to a halt when it was time for the verdict to be read. There were pools and everything. I bugged one of my teachers for a week to let me in on the sentencing/verdict pool. I was thinking that there was going to be a hung jury. There were a couple of fist pumps, but not a bunch of hooting and hollering.

    • K to the…

      @Gem Possible,

      I was in 6th grade during the OJ ordeal and I remember being in the cafeteria jumping around when the verdict was read. Oh how things change…I think that negroid did that ish…while rocking a pair of isotoners!

      • Bailey

        @K to the…, I too was in the 6th grade, but I skipped school that day. My mom and I chilled in the crib and watched. There was no cheering, just eerie silence. Shocked isn’t even the word.

        Black people can get mad at me, but he did it lol.

        • miss t-lee

          @Bailey,
          I ain’t gone get mad. I feel the same way.

        • miss t-lee

          @Bailey,
          I ain’t gone get mad. I feel the same way.

      • Bailey

        @K to the…, I too was in the 6th grade, but I skipped school that day. My mom and I chilled in the crib and watched. There was no cheering, just eerie silence. Shocked isn’t even the word.

        Black people can get mad at me, but he did it lol.

      • @K to the…,
        “rockin a pair of isotoners” lmao smooth criminal
        naw i member watch the high speed/low speed chase lolololol oj was a foo like “tell um i gotta gun” lol i was still surprised they ain rodney king him when he stopped.

      • @K to the…,
        “rockin a pair of isotoners” lmao smooth criminal
        naw i member watch the high speed/low speed chase lolololol oj was a foo like “tell um i gotta gun” lol i was still surprised they ain rodney king him when he stopped.

    • K to the…

      @Gem Possible,

      I was in 6th grade during the OJ ordeal and I remember being in the cafeteria jumping around when the verdict was read. Oh how things change…I think that negroid did that ish…while rocking a pair of isotoners!

    • Omar

      @Gem Possible,

      I hate to say it but the OJ verdict was a slight symbol of progress, I mean a black man (allegedly) kills a white woman, the evidence is very damning, then he gets away with it and no black towns or neighborhoods are burned down by white mobs (that I know of). That’s historic.

    • Omar

      @Gem Possible,

      I hate to say it but the OJ verdict was a slight symbol of progress, I mean a black man (allegedly) kills a white woman, the evidence is very damning, then he gets away with it and no black towns or neighborhoods are burned down by white mobs (that I know of). That’s historic.

  • Gem Possible

    from michael jackson’s unexpected and sudden death to janet jackson’s unexpected and sudden breast

    lmao nicely written intro, Champikins. you’re on a roll this week.

    i remember being in my spanish class when we watched the OJ verdict on tv. mr. orteaga actually turned it on for us 7th graders to watch (sidenote: wtf??). and all the black kids in my class were jumping and hollering like they actually knew the implications of such a verdict. my parents found OJ disgusting, and so thusly i too (at the tender age of 12) thought OJ was wrongfully acquitted. Johnny Cochran did make for some funny 1-liners (again none of which i could truly appreciate until i got older).

  • I think Michael’s death knocks OJ off the list. OJ didn’t rate to Black folks at large IMO. Numerous killings of Blacks by police or civilian whites rank higher on Black America’s collective scale. And OJ by and large brought the pain upon himself

    Honorable mention could go to freeing Mandela/South Africa.

    • Sanen85

      @Stuff Ghetto People Like, cosign

    • Sanen85

      @Stuff Ghetto People Like, cosign

    • @Stuff Ghetto People Like,

      double co-sign on Mandela. Followed on its heels by his election to the presidency.

      • Yaa

        @blackberry molasses, YES!!!!

      • Yaa

        @blackberry molasses, YES!!!!

      • @blackberry molasses,
        almost forgot mandela yea pops was hella afro centric i memba we was carvannin bout 20 cars deep riding thru the street of east palo alto with a bullhorn, honkin horns, bumpin music talkin bout “mandela is free” 80’s baby like wha

      • @blackberry molasses,
        almost forgot mandela yea pops was hella afro centric i memba we was carvannin bout 20 cars deep riding thru the street of east palo alto with a bullhorn, honkin horns, bumpin music talkin bout “mandela is free” 80’s baby like wha

    • @Stuff Ghetto People Like,

      double co-sign on Mandela. Followed on its heels by his election to the presidency.

    • @Stuff Ghetto People Like,

      I think Michael’s death knocks OJ off the list. OJ didn’t rate to Black folks at large IMO.

      that was easily the toughest decision for me. thing is, the oj ordeal was more about the case and the circumstances surrounding it than oj himself, so the fact that cats didnt really f*ck with oj like that didnt come under consideration.

      with that being said, you can go with mj’s death and still not be wrong

      • @The Champ,
        oj was the man to a few ninjas i mean he lived the ninja dream get out the ghetto play ball for SC go to the nfl set record be a hall of famer bang whateva you like. mj was bigger tho.

      • @The Champ,
        oj was the man to a few ninjas i mean he lived the ninja dream get out the ghetto play ball for SC go to the nfl set record be a hall of famer bang whateva you like. mj was bigger tho.

    • @Stuff Ghetto People Like,

      I think Michael’s death knocks OJ off the list. OJ didn’t rate to Black folks at large IMO.

      that was easily the toughest decision for me. thing is, the oj ordeal was more about the case and the circumstances surrounding it than oj himself, so the fact that cats didnt really f*ck with oj like that didnt come under consideration.

      with that being said, you can go with mj’s death and still not be wrong

    • Peysonic Temple

      @Stuff Ghetto People Like,

      I agree. How could we forget when Abna Louima got sexually assaulted by the cops with a night stick then handcuffed to a hospital bed and they wouldnt release him until the mayor came down and told them to

    • Peysonic Temple

      @Stuff Ghetto People Like,

      I agree. How could we forget when Abna Louima got sexually assaulted by the cops with a night stick then handcuffed to a hospital bed and they wouldnt release him until the mayor came down and told them to

    • @Stuff Ghetto People Like,

      “Honorable mention could go to freeing Mandela/South Africa.”

      Ohh, good one. A lot of resonance for that event. Folks cry when they visit his jail cell, it’s so powerful.

    • @Stuff Ghetto People Like,

      “Honorable mention could go to freeing Mandela/South Africa.”

      Ohh, good one. A lot of resonance for that event. Folks cry when they visit his jail cell, it’s so powerful.

    • Laneianna

      @Stuff Ghetto People Like,

      And I’m just wondering.. y is it that when ninjas, that dont like other ninjas get in trouble, the ninjas, that the ninja in trouble wouldnt get get caught dead with, go runnin to the ninja that is the bullish’s aid??? The perception of the black community… SHAM FRIGGIN WOW! I’m still trying to understand the OJ thing.. Thats why his a$$ is doing life for stealing his own shyt back!

      • @Laneianna,
        lol dam to many ninjas feel like a kung foo flick. Oj got some great quoteables tho lol yall hear the tape when he takin his shii back lol classic oj at his finest

      • @Laneianna,
        lol dam to many ninjas feel like a kung foo flick. Oj got some great quoteables tho lol yall hear the tape when he takin his shii back lol classic oj at his finest

    • Laneianna

      @Stuff Ghetto People Like,

      And I’m just wondering.. y is it that when ninjas, that dont like other ninjas get in trouble, the ninjas, that the ninja in trouble wouldnt get get caught dead with, go runnin to the ninja that is the bullish’s aid??? The perception of the black community… SHAM FRIGGIN WOW! I’m still trying to understand the OJ thing.. Thats why his a$$ is doing life for stealing his own shyt back!

  • I think Michael’s death knocks OJ off the list. OJ didn’t rate to Black folks at large IMO. Numerous killings of Blacks by police or civilian whites rank higher on Black America’s collective scale. And OJ by and large brought the pain upon himself

    Honorable mention could go to freeing Mandela/South Africa.

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