It Was the Best of Times and the Worst of Times at the Same Damn Time: Top 10 Moments of Joy From 2020

Cardi B, left, and Megan Thee Stallion saunter in the music video for “WAP”; Vice President-elect Kamala Harris; Janet Hubert and Will Smith embrace during a Red Table Talk episode.
Cardi B, left, and Megan Thee Stallion saunter in the music video for “WAP”; Vice President-elect Kamala Harris; Janet Hubert and Will Smith embrace during a Red Table Talk episode.
Image: YouTube/Tasos Katopodis (Getty Images)/Facebook

If I could sum up 2020 in one phrase, it would be “whew, chile” (see also: “I hate it here” and “I’m tired of this church.”) As we near the end of this unprecedented year, I can’t help but reflect on all the tumultuous things that have transpired up until now. Actually, I take that back. I don’t want to reflect—living through it was hard enough. Instead, let’s take a look at some lighter moments across culture and entertainment that brought us some semblance of joy during these uncertain times. (Man, I can’t wait to abolish that phrase.)

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Let’s kick things off with...

Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP

From the top, the world dropped their jaws in shock when “Bodak Yellow” rapper Cardi B and “Savage” rapper Megan Thee Stallion teamed up for their spicy, sex-positive anthem “WAP.” Coupled with risqué lyrics and provocative dance moves, the music video had everyone from celebs to politicians absolutely shooketh. Black Twitter erupted in mostly praise in response to the video, but also confusion and upset thanks to a surprising guest that made a 10-second cameo in the middle of the video.

 

In an unsurprising twist, however, the discourse surrounding the song changed when men decided to enter into women’s business to complain about the sexually explicit nature of the song. Enter Cee-Lo Green (who even asked him?), a few conservative leaders (again, same question), and even Snoop Dogg (now Uncle Snoop, have you listened to your own music lately?) At the end of the day though, folks were and are still bumping that track. So they and anyone else who’s still got something to say about it can take their worthless-ass pronouncements somewhere else. Don’t take it into 2021 though, we’ll still be too busy twerking to care.

Speaking of Megan Thee Stallion, let’s talk about…

The “Savage Remix” feat. Beyoncé

THIS REMIX. I still remember the day that this song dropped. I was sitting up in my room like Brandy, doom-scrolling on Twitter when I saw Megan announce that the song was now available. I don’t know about you, but when Beyoncé gets in her rapper bag all of my edges start racing to the back of my head. “Please don’t get me hype, write my name in ice. Can’t argue with these lazy bitches, I just raise my price. I’m a boss, I’m a leader, I pull up in my two-seater. And my Mama was a savage, nigga got this shit from Tina.” I mean! The flavor that has, the shit-talking that has, the savagery that has. And then when you add the innovation of viral #SavageChallenge creator Keara “KiKi” Wilson on top of it? I have no choice but to continue stanning Black women.

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While we’re on the subject of stanning, let’s go ahead and discuss…

Beyoncé’s Black Is King

As if her 2018 headlining performance at Coachella wasn’t enough to make us all believe in the power, creativity and beauty of Blackness—the Disney+ visual album Black Is King certainly did. Dropped in conjunction with the Disney live-action version of The Lion King, the film left Black folks all across the diaspora incredulous, in awe, and in utter amazement and pride at the lengths Beyoncé took to masterfully shine a light on the richness of our African heritage. And don’t even get me started on “Brown Skin Girl” with Blue Ivy, SAINt JHN, and Wizkid. My inner brown skin girl and hundreds of others across the world felt seen, heard, and loved. (Also, I think it’s time we give more props to Kelly Rowland. She always seems to effortlessly glow in just about anything she does. Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s melanin. Whatever it is, I need her to bottle it up and sell it. ASAP.)

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And since we’re on the subject of Blackity-Blackness and representation, let’s grab our snacks so we can talk about…

Netflix Bringing Back Our Favorite ’90s and ’00s Black Hit Shows

Sister, Sister. Girlfriends. The Parkers. One on One. Moesha. Half & Half. The Game. Netflix and Strong Black Lead turned things all the way when they announced back in July that they were bringing a handful of our favorite shows to the streaming platform. For a while up until the shows made their debut, I didn’t know whether I wanted to book an appointment for microbraids and write in my diary, get on Amazon to order an original Fashions By Lisa fit, run off and marry a random man from Jamaica or skip out on the chance to go to med school and move to San Diego. (Spoiler alert: I did none of those things. What I did do, however, was practice my pandemic version of “GO HOME ROGER,” which essentially was “GO HOME SO I CAN GET OUT OF THIS DAMN HOUSE” by yelling it at every person I saw posting travel pics on Instagram. I mean seriously, everybody just had to go to Tulum during the panny? Tuh.)

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Let’s stay on the tv/film front for a second and discuss…

ESPN’s The Last Dance Documentary

As a ’90s kid, I have to admit that I’ve always felt some sort of sadness at not being old enough to witness Michael Jordan’s greatness in his prime. And when I was old enough to witness his prowess before he finally retired, I just didn’t care. (Barbies and books had my attention, OK? Although, like most ’90s kids, I did love Space Jam and I’m still salty that I can’t find that VHS anymore. But that’s neither here nor there.) So when ESPN dropped the Last Dance back in April, admittedly I watched with my eyes wide open ready to learn. And what did I learn, you ask? Well, three things. No. 1, take everything personally. No. 2, create however many scenarios necessary in my mind so that I can come out on top. Even if they never happen IRL. No. 3, never order delivery pizza from Park City, Utah, and never be afraid to take a last minute 48-hour vacation in Las Vegas. (They don’t say “treat yo’self” for nothing, right?)

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And while we’re talking about history-making winners, let’s give a standing ovation to...

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Senator Kamala Harris Becoming Vice President

At the end of a very tense election week, Joseph Robinette Biden and Senator Kamala Harris emerged victorious, leaving the Head-Cheeto-In-Charge to lick his wounds in defeat (or not; I really don’t care what he did or does from here on out.) Not only is Senator Harris the first female vice president ever, but she’s also the first woman of color to occupy that office. Leave it up to a Black woman to break barriers and make history. Can you say, legendaric? We did it, we did it Kamala! #YoureGonnaBeTheNextVicePresidentOfTheUnitedStates.

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Now let’s join hands (virtually because, social distancing) and dance in Euphoria over…

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Zendaya’s History-Making Win at the Emmys

We already knew Zendaya was a star, but thanks to this year’s primetime Emmys, the whole world now knows it, too. The former Disney star won the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama for her role as Rue in the HBO high school, coming-of-age drama, Euphoria. She also joined Viola Davis as the second Black woman EVER to win that award and the youngest recipient of that award in 72 years. Even though I’m overly tired of Black folks still experiencing firsts in 2020, I’m still extremely happy that she won. I mean, look at this reaction. It’s, dare I say it, euphoric. (You know I had to do it, don’t give me no lip.)

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Now I’d like to take a minute; just sit right there so we can cry together about…

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The 30-Year Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion

Fans of The Fresh Prince were certainly maxin’ and relaxin’ all cool when Will Smith and HBO Max announced a special “Banks Family reunion” in celebration of the shows’ 30th year anniversary. Speculation initially ensued as to which Aunt Viv was going to show up, but every mouth got shut when Daphne Maxwell Reid and Janet Hubert appeared and every got eye misty when Hubert and Will shared a special moment together in conversation. They both got to express their feelings regarding their fallout and dammit if that wasn’t one of 2020’s biggest but most heartwarming plot twists—I don’t know what was. As someone who obsessively watched reruns of the show growing up, even forcing one of my best friends to adopt the handshake Will and Jazz did, this reunion meant a whole lot for a whole lot of reasons.

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And since we’re on the topic of the Smith’s (kinda), we have to talk about…

Jada’s Entanglement

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we first attempt to get entangled with August Alsina.” Wait, I don’t think that’s how it—nevermind. The point is to highlight the hilariously controversial Red Table Talk episode that had Jada Pinkett Smith bringing herself to the table for the first time. Though only lasting for about 13 minutes, the conversation between her and hubby Will Smith was long enough for me to feel somewhat uncomfortable (“bad marriage for life” still makes me cringe a little) and somewhat relieved at the fact that they were able to have that level of transparency in the first place. I’d also like to point out, “Jada’s Entanglement” sounds like the title of a bombass romance-thriller movie. Secondly, I think we all should adopt that phrase now and use it to describe any little indiscretion from this moment forward. Running late? “I got caught up in Jada’s Entanglement.” Got a stain you can’t remove? “Just spray a little bit of Jada’s Entanglement on it and you should be good.” Get caught slipping and tipping on your significant other? “You got it all wrong, all this is is Jada’s Entanglement.” See? It works for everything.

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Now y’all know I couldn’t end this without mentioning our newfound extraterrestrial existence thanks to…

The Negro Solstice

It seems like all the stars aligned to make this year’s Winter Solstice arguably one of the funniest days of 2020. Thanks largely in part to a viral tweet, a crazy conspiracy theory, and literal planets being on their Great Conjunction tip, Black people everywhere waited (and tweeted) in anticipation of their supernatural download on the newly dubbed Negro Solstice. I can’t speak for anyone else but I did receive special superpowers on the night of the 21st: vibranium-powered Meg Thee Stallion knees. And to say I was overjoyed would be putting it lightly! Sadly, what they didn’t tell you about those powers is that they only last for 24hrs. So when I attempted the #CryBabyChallenge some days later, let’s just say “di strenf of thee Bleck Pentha ‘’ was nowhere to be found. And we’re just going to leave it there. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go ice my joints.

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Honorable Mentions

I do want to give some honorable mentions to a handful of things that didn’t make the top 10 but still deserve some serious recognition. Those being: Johnniqua Charles (aka the iconic “You About To Lose Yo Job” creator), the Lakers for winning the championship nine months after the death of Kobe Bryant, Megxit, twerking at brunch time in Black-owned businesses, Brandy and Monica’s Verzuz battle, Patti LaBelle’s mirror and last but not least—Tyrese for finally throwing in the tile.

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You know we’re never going to let you live that down, right?.

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