Year of Firsts in Black Entertainment
2017 showed why black people are coming for all the awards, titles and accolades, don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
For a black person, 2017 by far wasn’t the kindest year. It was the last year the nation would see one of the most beloved presidents in our time leave the White House and Agent Orange entering with an entire of wave of political mediocrity and unorganization. Each news headline that would show up would be yet another painful sigh showing us the true reality of where our country is going.
However, amongst the country’s start to another lousy era, black people seem to still flourish, churning our pain and struggle into motivation to succeed. From entertainment to sports, our community has been tested rigorously through hatred, yet that didn’t stop many of us from continuing our reign of #BlackExcellence. And with the incredible number of achievements our community has had this year, that’s not stopping us from bringing diversity into many forms of society.
Here is a breakdown of the many firsts in black entertainment in 2017.
Girls Trip Makes Bank
Out of all of the movies to release in the summer, no one knew how successful this Malcolm D. Lee would be. Projections were made that Girls Trip would rake in around $30 million in its debut week, but then they were broken and then some. The film was critically acclaimed in the weeks it was in theaters across the country, became the first film with a black-led cast and crew to make over $100 million in the process, and reassured cinephiles that summer comedies can be successful when adding some blackness into the mix. This was also a breakout film for Tiffany Haddish, who made the film perfect with her raunchy portrayal, and would go on to become a huge star.
Get Out Astonishes Hollywood
With clever humor, a dynamic cast, and a plot that is a trippy mirror of our modern country, Get Out has grasped the world in a way that we didn’t know we could. Never has there been a film that not only grabs the audience’s attention, but shows their reaction as the film plays on. Jordan Peele’s creation became a culture monster, earning $100 million and a 100% Rotten Tomato score in its opening week. The remarkable milestone made the former Key & Peele star the first black director/writer to do so, and became yet another incredible acting credit for Lakeith Stanfield, Lil Rel, Daniel Kaluuya, and Allison Williams. Following Get Out’s release, the film gained traction as being a symbol of current cultural climate, sparking a conversation about race through its horrified suspense, yet also managing to maintain a large fanbase this year.
The Oscar Family
After completely messing up the Oscars in 2016, failing in 2017 in the category of Diversity was not an option for the Academy Awards. Though the live-broadcasted award show ended a little awkward with Moonlight actually winning Best Picture instead of La La Land, the night was already filled with victories that would be firsts for many. It was the first year since 2007 where multiple black actors earned at least one Oscar in the same night, with Mahershala Ali and Viola Davis winning awards for their respective roles in Moonlight and Fences.
Atlanta’s Oddness Wins All The Awards
After a critically acclaimed first season of Atlanta the prior year, 2017 would be the show’s victory lap before heading back to record its second. The FX series won numerous awards from Golden Globes to NAACP Image Awards, yet those can’t match up to the history Donald Glover made the night of the Emmys. The Atlanta creator was the first black director to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor and Directing For a Comedy. Even with all of the show’s award nominations, new areas of opportunity for the show’s actors, as well as a tour Glover was on as Childish Gambino for his Grammy-nominated album, “Awaken, My Love!” — production for season two is now finished and will be airing in February 2018 (supposedly).