Two weeks down, fifty to go...but so much greatness to look forward to! Here are a few highlights in film, books, sports and more to keep on your radar in 2018.
Release Date: February 16, 2018
Director: Ryan Coogler
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurura, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Letitia Wright
Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 1—Ta-Nehisi Coates
Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 2—Ta-Nehisi Coates
Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 3—Ta-Nehisi Coates
Black Panther: World of Wakanda—Ta-Nehisi Coates & Roxane Gay
Based on the Marvel Comic first appearing in 1966, Black Panther broke Marvel's record for most pre-sale tickets sold when tickets went on sale last week. Do you have your ticket yet?
A Wrinkle in Time
Release Date: March 9, 2018
Director: Ava DuVernay
Starring: Oprah Winfrey, Storm Reid, Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon
Watch the trailer here.
Further Reading: A Wrinkle in Time—Madeleine L'Engle
After its release in 1962, the young adult fantasy novel A Winkle in Time went on to win the Newberry Metal the following year. Check out Ava, Oprah and Storm on the February 2018 cover of Essence Magazine (their first issue as a fully Black owned company)!
Release Date: ? 🤷🏽♀️
Director: Rhyan LaMarr
Starring: Bryshere Gray, Mekhi Phifer, Mykelti Williamson, Lance Reddick, Kevin Quinn, Woody McClain
In this independent drama starring Empire's Bryshere Gray, a teenager growing up on the South Side of Chicago is wrongly accused of murder. His father, an attorney, takes on his defense in what will prove to be the most important case of his career...and life.
Nappily Ever After
Release Date: ? 🤷🏽♀️
Director: Haifaa Al-Mansour
Starring: Sanaa Lathan, Ricky Whittle, Lyriq Bent, Lynn Whitfield, Ernie Hudson
Netflix has not released many details about the film yet, but we do know that its is based on the novel by Trisha R. Thomas. Sanaa Lathan plays Venus Johnston, a young woman who makes a number of major life changes, including making the big chop! (Sanaa shaved her head for the role and she still looks AMAZING, don't you agree?!).
2 Dope Queens
Premiere Date: Friday, February 2, 2018, 11:30 pm EST / 10:30 pm CST/
Starring: Phoebe Robinson, Jessica Williams
Further Reading: You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain—Phoebe Robinson
This series of four 1-hour specials is a spin-off of the '2 Dope Queens' Podcast. It's sure to be our weekly dose laughs and dopeness!
Atlanta (Season 2)
Premiere Date: March 1, 2018, 10 pm EST / 11 pm CST
Starring: Donald Glover, Brian Tyree Henry, Lakeith Stanfield, Zazie Beetz
Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) writes, produces and stars in this comedy/drama about two cousin trying to making it in the Atlanta rap game.
Season one received great critical acclaim including two Golden Globe Awards (Best Television Series—Musical or Comedy and Best Actor—Television Series Musical or Comedy) and two Primetime Emmy Awards (Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series). And we can't forget about the stamp of approval from "The Culture" too. If you didn't see season one, you've got a couple months to catch up!
Grown-ish (Season 1)
Premiered: January 3, 2018
Weekly Air Time: Wednesdays at 8 pm EST / 7 pm CST
Network: Freeform (also on Hulu)
Starring: Yara Shahidi, Trevor Jackson, Chloe & Halle Bailey, Deon Cole, Francia Raisa, Emily Arlook
Watch episodes online for free here.
Created by Kenya Barris and Larry Wilmore, Grown-ish is a spin-off of Black-ish, now in its fourth season. We're all still figuring out this "adulting" thing out and can relate to Zoe as she finds her footing. Freeform just renewed Grown-ish for a second season.
The Chi (Season 1)
Premiered: January 7, 2018
Weekly Air Time: Sundays at 10 pm EST / 9 pm CST
Starring: Jason Mitchell, Jacob Latimore, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine
Watch episode 1 here.
Created by Lena Waithe, Chicago native who recently became the first African American woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series (Master of None).
Black Lightning (Season 1)
Premiered: January 16, 2018
Weekly Air Time: Tuesdays at 9 pm EST / 8 pm CST
Starring: Cress Williams,
Created and written by Salim Akil and Mara Brock Akil, of Girlfriends and The Game and Being Mary Jane. This new series is based on the DC Comics character first introduced in 1977. Black superheroes are definietly having a moment right now and we're here for it!
Watch episode one here.
So You Want to Talk About Race—Ijeoma Oluo
Release Date: January 16, 2018
When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir—Patrisse Cullors and Asha Bandele
Relase Date: January 16, 2018
This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America—Morgan Jerkins
Release Date: January 30, 2018
Feel Free: Essays—Zadie Smith
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Release Date: April 23, 2018
Barracoon: The Story of the Last Slave—Zora Neal Hurston
Release Date: May 8, 2018
2018 Winter Olympics—Pyeongchang, South Korea
The 2018 Winter Olympic Games will take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea February 9 - February 25. Here's the #BlackExcellence you won't want to miss:
Erin Jackson recently became the first African American woman to make the long track speed skating team only 4 months after picking up the sport! Prior to making the team, Jackson spent many years competing internationally in inline skating and roller derby competitions. This will be Jackson's first Olympic games.
This will be Shani Davis' 5th-straight year on the long track speed skating Olympics team. He already has two gold and two silver Olympic medals.
This past November, three Black women qualified to represent Nigeria in the Winter games as bobsledders! This makes them the first Africans to compete in the sport at the Winter Games. Seun Adigun, who competed on the 2012 Nigerian Olympic track and field team, reached out to two other Nigerian sprinters to form the team with a homemade wooden sled and a GoFundMe campaign. The ladies are based out of Houston, Texas and hope to create new opportunities for Nigeria to compete in winter sports.
The other African nations to be represented in the 2018 Winter Games are Eritrea, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, South Africa, and Togo.
Thirty years after sending their first men's team to compete in the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary, Team Jamaica will now be represented by their first ever women's bobsled team! One of the three team members, Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian, is an American citizen and drove the bobsled Team USA in the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. This year she has decided to compete on the team of her father's native Jamaica. Jamaican sprinter Carrie Russell is also on the team. Are you getting Cool Runnings vibes too?
The other Caribbean nations competing in the Winter Games this year are the Cayman Islands and Puerto Rico.
Serena’s return...or Not?
Many of us were anticipating Serena Williams' return after getting married and having her baby Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr. last year. However, in a recent cover interview for Vogue Magazine, Serena announced that should would not be playing in the upcoming Australian Open. After an emergency c-section and post-pregnancy blood clots, she will be taking more time off to ensure that she has recovered fully. But don't be fooled...Serena made it clear that when she does return, she'll be coming back strong...and to whoever might be holding the #1 spot, she says..."I’m gonna come for you.” By the way, Venus' Lemon Dance Challenge video was everything!
If you've been keeping up with the 2018 Australian Open, you know that Venus Williams and Sloan Stevens are out, but Madison Keys is going strong. Hang in there Madison!
Date: Tuesday, November 6, 2018
It cannot be understated how critical this election is. One-third (34) of the U.S. Senate seats and ALL (435) seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are up for grabs! Also, 39 (36 states and three U.S. territories) gubernatorial elections and some local elections will also take place on this date. Please take this election seriously—do your research and your local representatives ccountable. It is their duty to speak and act on your behalf in Washington.
You can register to vote here.
With the new trend of surprise albums (thanks to Beyoncé), there's no way to know what we'll get this year...but we all have a wish list!
Here's Complex Magazine's list of most anticipated albums of 2018. Who are you hoping will drop an album or go on tour this year?
2018 Essence Festival
Dates: July 5-8, 2018
Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome—New Orleans, LA
This year's Essence Festival will be the first since Essence Communications was sold to Richelieu Dennis, founder of Sundial Brands (of Nubian Heritage & Shea Moisture). The 2018 festival will also take pace during the New Orleans Tricentennial, so NOLA is sure to be epic! Performers have not yet been announced.
Now that it is 100% Black owned again, what kinds of changes will come to the magazine and festival this year?
Dates: August 25-26, 2018
Location: Barry Commodore Park—Brooklyn, NY
Afro Punk can only be described in one word—magical! This weekend-long celebration of young, Black music, fashion and art with an alternative twist is something that everyone should experience at least once. The annual festival has grown into a movement that has expanded internationally to Johannesburg, Paris, and London.
What are you most excited for this year? Leave a comment.