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This year found us saying final goodbyes to many of our beloved culture-shifters and thought-shapers.

Many notable names from the world of entertainment, arts, and politics passed on throughout 2021. We witnessed several reach the end of their journeys on this physical plane after long and accomplished lives, like Cicely Tyson, Colin Powell, and Melvin Van Peeples. Alternatively, we also sadly saw some lives suddenly and tragically cut short while they undoubtedly had so much more left to give, like Young Dolph, Michael K. Williams, and Virgil Abloh.

Whether it’s the inspiring prose of bell hooks or the impactful words of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the hard-hitting storytelling of DMX or the comedic commentary of Paul Mooney, each of these individuals left their mark on our culture and the world at large.

Whether these losses came at the end of long, prosperous life or in the midst of one still achieving greatness, their impacts were equally felt throughout our communities. The absence of each of their spirits will be felt for years to come, and their contributions to and impact on our culture and our lives will not soon be forgotten.

As we prepare to move into 2022 with celebration and hope for what is to come, let’s take a moment to reflect on the lives and legacies of those we lost in 2021. May they each rest in peace and power.

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