This year has been a long and eventful one. From the Capitol Attacks to the Biden-Harris Inauguration, to voting rights, to police reform, to the continuation of the coronavirus global pandemic, ESSENCE was there to cover it all. Check out a few of the most talked about news stories that ESSENCE covered this year.
There is much deserved criticism about capitalism and its inevitable adverse effects on the Black community. There is also a level of pride when witnessing a Black person transcend to billionaire status. In 2021, the number of billionaires on the planet skyrocketed from 660 to 2,755; only 15 of them are Black.
Two Alabama Amazon workers teamed up with workers’ rights organization More Perfect Union on behalf of two deceased co-workers that were denied sick-leave at a Bessmer, Alabama warehouse. The workers believe Amazon is covering up the deaths. A total of six employees have died from that facility. It was also found that Amazon illegally interfered with a vote to unionize at the same location.
The loss of author, Eric Jerome Dickey was a very difficult one. Since the ‘90s the New York Times bestselling writer ruled over many Black book clubs with notable works like Sister, Sister and Friends & Lovers. Dickey’s books undoubtedly expanded the lens of Black women characters in literature.
In late July, singer Kelly Price shared with fans on Instagram that she had tested positive for Covid. Then, two months later, she was reported as missing after a welfare check was conducted at her home. Thankfully, in a strange twist of events, the singer’s legal representation reported her safe and still recovering at an undisclosed location six days later.
As the world waited with bated breath for a guilty verdict in the George Floyd murder trial in Minnesota, news spread of another cop killing a Black teen in Ohio. Ma’Khia Bryant, 16, was seen on video, wielding a knife for protection against the group of people that had come to confront her. She was shot four times by the police officers that she had called herself. In more video footage police officers on the scene allegedly shouted “Blue Lives Matter” to a group of shocked residents at the scene. Bryant’s death was another stark reminder that there is still so much more work to be done against police violence.
6 Debbie Allen Offers Words Of Support To Howard Protestors As Phylicia Rashad Attempts To Cut Off Questions
Students at Howard University kicked off the semester with #BlackburnTakeover, protesting the dormitory living conditions on campus. The petition cited crumbling ceilings, brown water, black mold, and a slew of other harmful building issues and DC health code violations. Reports caught beloved alum sister-duo Debbie Allen and a then newly appointed dean of Chadwick A. Boseman School of Fine Arts, Phylicia Rashad for comment. While Allen noted in support, “In any country when the students don’t speak out, the nation is not doing well,” Rashad said that the students’ demands were being met. The protest lasted 34 days.
Two-time Oscar winner, Denzel Washington is no stranger to giving back. The Denzel Washington Family Foundation made its first $1 million pledge to Wiley College—depicted in the film “The Great Debaters”—back in 2007, and continued donating $100,000 each year for a decade. In a press release, the foundation resumed its commitment in 2018 and its funds were then used to help recruit new debate members and offer them scholarships.
Back in 1912, Black entrepreneurs Willa and Charles Bruce purchased the land for the beachfront property. Shortly after, Los Angeles County stripped them of the land using underhanded tactics and local officials. Governor Newsom apologized on the state’s behalf to the Bruce family’s descendants.
Earlier in December an unsealed indictment revealed [that] several federal law enforcement agencies uncovered one of the largest cases of human trafficking and visa fraud in the U.S. Through fraudulent work visa petitions those involved were able to bring foreign nationals into the country for temporary agricultural work. The workers were allegedly “illegally forced to do lawn care, construction, and restaurant work; and others were threatened with violence or deportation.” They were also “held in cramped, unsanitary quarters and fenced work camps with little or no food, limited plumbing and without safe water.”
The recent increase of missing Black women and girls is alarming. Back in October, ESSENCE reported Kalana Johnson, a 15-year-old girl from Georgia missing. She traveled to Atlanta by bus to visit friends and was last seen on October 18. She was later found safe on October 30.