2017 has been quite the year. A lot of lows, but what has been beautiful is that this climate has caused more people to become active. To speak out more. To be more intentionally engaged. Here are some things that touched me to my core; the realest of 2017:
1. Best Interview: Young Jeezy’s interview on Everyday Struggle
Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101 I’ve been a Jeezy fan, but this interview caused me to appreciate him in a different way and caused many, including Joe Budden, to view him from a more elevated perspective. He not only dropped countless gems, but he spoke of the importance of doing the work of contributing to the lives of the people and impacting the world; each of us being accountable to and responsible for each other.
2. Best Article: “”I Thought It Would Be Better For You”: A Mother, A Daughter, and Racism in America in 2017″ by Brit Bennett
While traveling back from Miami for Art Basel I picked up the December issue of Vogue magazine. To my surprise, one of the most powerful and thought inspiring articles of 2017 was within. The article caused me to really contemplate what has happened over the past year, my place in it, and the significance of the ancestors.
3. Best Song: Despacito (Remix) by Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee feat. Justin Bieber
The original version of this song is obviously amazing, but the remix is AHHmazing!
4. Best Soul Touching Song: “Ghost of Kalief Browder” by Maino
This song broke my heart all over again. Just listen.
5. Best Book: We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Not only is the compiling of these essays in one book exactly what my heart desired, Coates reflections are insightful and the thread that seams the pieces together. This book earns the accolade simply based on reigniting the conversation.
6. Best Documentary: The Kalief Browder Story
This may be the most heartbreaking documentary I’ve ever watched, but it is so important that everyone sees it. I am grateful that this brilliant but tragic documentary is helping to move bail and prison reform conversations forward. What happened to him is unfortunately not rare, but it doesn’t have to continue to be the cultural norm for poor people of color in America.
7. Best Comic Book: The Black Panther by Ta-Nehisi Coates
I’ve already talked about how amazing this series is, twice:
8. Best Holiday Compilation/Mashup Video: Starrkeisha’s Christmas Carols! (Part 2) by The King of Weird
Part 1 went viral, but I think part 2 is way more creative and flexes his vocal talents more.
9. Best Person: Too much happened this year for there to be only one. The 8 below:
For all of them being unapologetically themselves and wanting to push the needle forward in one way or another.
10. Best Youtube Show: Everyday Struggle
It sucks to see such a genius show sinking, but…Joe Budden was the draw to the show and without him I have no desire to watch.
11. Best Rap Album:
Wrote about it here.
12. Best R&B/Soul Album:
Admittedly, I’ve spent much of this year listening to hip-hop and latinx music, however, there are a few R&B artists that released projects that grabbed my ear:
1. Confidently Lost; and, About Time by Sabrina Claudio
2. Gumbo by PJ Morton
3. Process by Sampha
13. Best Podcast: The Joe Budden Podcast
There are a ton of podcasts that I enjoy (a complete list will be coming in 2018) but none as much as this one. What I love about this podcast is not only that I usually walk away with new information about what’s going on in the world of hip-hop, but I also laugh the entire episode.
14. Best Live Event (concert, play, ballet, etc.):
Concerts are one of my favorite pastimes. This year I attend some of the best:
-J. Cole: 4 Your Eyez Only Tour
-Kendrick Lamar: The DAMN Tour
-Todrick Hall: Straight Outta Oz
-Bruno Mars: 24K Magic World Tour
-Charlie Wilson: In It To Win It Tour
-6lack, I bought tickets then ended up being out of town and couldn’t go, but I’ve only heard great things!
-Jay-Z: 4:44 Tour
-Nothing to Lose but Our Chains*
-Chicago Sky Games
-Van Jones: We Rise Tour
-The Andro Fashion Show
Though no event I attended this year turned out to be a waste of time or money, the one that I appreciated the most was definitely the J. Cole tour. I absolutely love this man and have been a fan since his underground years. He has matured so much as an artist. Seeing him this year I cried. I am already excited about the next album and concert. One of the things I love so much about Cole, aside from his lyrical craftsmanship, is how it appears he has stayed true to himself and his own moral compass. Integrity is hardly recognized but is worth everything!
His concert was large but felt intimate; told a complete story; included the audience in the show, and moved and inspired me.
*Events that haven’t occurred yet, but will by the end of 2017. Depending on these events this decision may change, but I highly doubt it.
15. Best Movie: Girls Trip
Because it was outrageous, hilarious, and even heartwarming. Oh, and everyone killed their roles, #BlackWomynRock.
16. Best Show: Insecure & All of Us
Both of this shows are so powerfully written and cause me to feel a range of emotions while also having tangible experiences that I can relate to. Amazing television.
17. Best Music Video: “Cool it Now” by Lil Ronny
This video is completely and inappropriately hilarious. What makes it dope is that it actually does what a lof of videos don’t–tells the story of the song.
Until 2018. Be well and treat yourself kindly!
-Ms. Malcolm Hughes