From Sandra Bland to the shootings in Charleston, South Carolina, African Americans were sadly reminded that being Black in America is much harder than it ought to be. And yet in the same breath, 2015 was a year of Black joy during which our culture dominated not only in our lives, but in the mainstream consciousness. From Cookie Lyons to the Cosby Ebony cover, our brilliance helped to push the conversation, affirm our greatness, make history and most important, make us laugh.

So to celebrate that greatness, we put together this list of the most defining Black pop culture moments of 2015. And don’t worry: Rachel Dolezal is nowhere to be seen.

Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015 was originally published on newsone.com

1. Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015: Viola Davis Wins an Emmy for HTGWM

Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015: Viola Davis Wins an Emmy for HTGWM

Even without the accolades, Viola Davis’ Analise Keating stood out by being one of the most complex and multifaceted portrayals of a Black woman to date. But her historic Emmy win for Best Actress in a Drama Series made it even sweeter as she fearlessly addressed the lack of diversity in Hollywood. That #BlackGirlMagic Emmy […]

2. Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: Misty Copeland’s “I Will, What I Want” Commercial

Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: Misty Copeland’s “I Will, What I Want” Commercial

Misty Copeland recently told the NY Times that she wants success and to be on the “forefront of pop culture.” Copeland achieved just that in 2015 by becoming the first Black principle dancer at the American Ballet Theater and going viral with her Under Armor commercial “I Will What I Want. ” The video quickly […]

3. Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: Zendaya and Amandla Read The Girls For Filth

Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: Zendaya and Amandla Read The Girls For Filth

In the year of the clapback, our stars used their platforms as teachable moments. In response to Giuliana Rancic’s offensive remarks about her locs, Zendaya penned a striking letter affirming that our hair is beautiful. Meanwhile, Amandla Stenberg schooled Kylie Jenner when Kardashian-lite jacked Black culture and used her position to spread awareness about the […]

4. Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: The Year of The Black Cover Girl

Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: The Year of The Black Cover Girl

Once upon a time, the only magazine covers Black celebs could be featured on were the Essence’s and Ebony’s of the world. And while our media definitely matters, this year in record-number, Black women were front and center on many publications such as Vogue (twice), Vanity Fair, Sports illustrated, New York Magazine, Glamour, In Style, […]

5. Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: Common and John Legend at the Oscars

Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: Common and John Legend at the Oscars

The Weeknd, “Earned It (Fifty Shades Of Grey)” Common & John Legend, “Glory” Ellie Goulding, “Love Me Like You Do” Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth, “See You Again” Lady Gaga, “Til It Happens to You”

6. Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: “Black-ish”’s ‘N-Word’ Episode

Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: “Black-ish”’s ‘N-Word’ Episode

Kenya Barris’ ABC comedy came back with a vengeance this fall when it touched upon the delicate topic of the “n-word” in its second season premiere. And what could have easily been trite and flat was the exact opposite. The episode was pitch-perfect, poignant and nuanced, not to mention absolutely hilarious thanks to the impeccable […]

7. Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: Cicely Tyson Scratching Viola Davis’ Scalp on ‘HTGAWM’

Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: Cicely Tyson Scratching Viola Davis’ Scalp on ‘HTGAWM’

ABC’s ‘HTGAWM’ definitely isn’t afraid to go there with Analise. Remember when she got barefaced and wig-free for us? But seeing the usually in-control lawyer nestled in between her mother’s knees, played by veteran actor Cicely Tyson, as her scalp was scratched and mane combed out, was one of the realest and most endearing scenes […]

8. Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: Tristan Wilds in the Adele Video

Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: Tristan Wilds in the Adele Video

Tristan Wilds is no stranger to Black folks—he was the baby-faced drug runner Michael Lee on ‘The Wire.’ But when he left to focus on his music, he was pretty much “out of sight, out of mind.” Then when Adele broke the internet with her “Hello” video, we were kindly reminded of what a cutie […]

9. Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: Grace Jones’ AfroPunk Performance

Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: Grace Jones’ AfroPunk Performance

Speaking of jaw-dropping, this summer at Brooklyn’s AfroPunk Fest, model and singer Grace Jones proved that at 67 years old, she hasn’t lost a step. Topless, covered in body paint, swirling a hula-hoop for one song and dressed as a lion and a tiger for another, the icon and author gave a show-stopping performance that […]

10. Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: Beyonce’s Met Gala Dress

Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: Beyonce’s Met Gala Dress

It’s expected that when Beyoncé arrives on the red carpet, we’re going to be wowed. But the “Flawless” singer made our jaws utterly drop when she wore this barely-there Givenchy gown to The Met Gala. It’s rumored that she hadn’t planned on wearing that particular dress, but changed last minute when she saw online what […]

11. Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015: The Throning of Queen Serena

Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015: The Throning of Queen Serena

12. Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: Missy Elliot’s Super Bowl Halftime Performance

Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: Missy Elliot’s Super Bowl Halftime Performance

While Katy Perry may have gotten mixed reviews for her Super Bowl XLIX Halftime Show in February, it was Missy Elliot who stole the show right from under the pop star. So much so, that the following day, Elliot’s albums saw a 1,000 percent bump in sales. Thankfully, this wasn’t a one-time deal. With her […]

13. Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: That Bill Cosby ‘EBONY’ Cover

Top Black Pop Culture Moments of 2015: That Bill Cosby ‘EBONY’ Cover

It’s clear that Ebony magazine is no longer your Granny’s Ebony. This was brilliantly conveyed with the fearless and polarizing November “#CosbyVsCliff” cover. Editor-In-Chief Kierna Mayo admitted that she “hadn’t slept in two days” before the issue hit newsstands, but stood firmly behind the need for Black folks to have the difficult conversations about sexual […]

14. Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015: Dem Patty Pies

Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015: Dem Patty Pies

Who knew that a dessert that you’ve been eating since you were a kid could spark such a nation-wide frenzy? But thanks to James Wright’s hilarious YouTube review that went viral, Walmart couldn’t keep legendary singer Patti Labelle’s sweet potato pies on the shelves this Thanksgiving. We hope you got yours for Christmas though.

15. Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015: The Rise of ‘Empire’

Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015: The Rise of ‘Empire’

Before Fox’s ‘Empire’ debuted in January, the joke in Hollywood was that it was destined to fail. But Lee Daniel’s Black novella not only proved naysayers wrong by boasting some of the highest ratings on network television, but it introduced us to the queen of one-liners, Ms. Cookie Lyons, who instantly became one of the […]

16. Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015: Drake Demolishes the Internet

Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015: Drake Demolishes the Internet

Who knew wheelchair Jimmy wouldn’t just win the Internet this year, but demolish it? From his grown and sexy beard to his beef with rapper Meek Mill to his ‘Hotline Bling’ video, Drake was a constant in our conversations and on the airwaves. Even when folks were making fun of him, i.e. his peculiar dancing, […]

17. Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015: “Miley, What’s Good?”

Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015: “Miley, What’s Good?”

Speaking of beefs, Nicki Minaj proved that it’s never in your best interest to come for her. A lesson that Miley Cyrus learned after telling the NY Times that Minaj was “not polite” for a past Twitter rift between the rapper and singer Taylor Swift. Minaj retaliated at the MTV Music Awards giving us one […]

18. Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015: The Black Brilliance of ‘The Wiz’ Live

Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015: The Black Brilliance of ‘The Wiz’ Live

American Crime (ABC),Bessie (HBO),Luther (BBC America),The Book of Negroes (BET), The Wiz Live! (NBC)

19. Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015: Ava DuVernay’s Barbie Sells Out in 17 Minutes

Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015: Ava DuVernay’s Barbie Sells Out in 17 Minutes

How could you not love Ava DuVernay’s long locs and ruby red lipstick at the Paley Center for Media’s Tribute to African-Americans?

20. Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015: John Boyega Stays Drinking White Tears

Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015: John Boyega Stays Drinking White Tears

21. Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015: Everything Black Twitter Did

Top Black Pop Culture Moments Of 2015: Everything Black Twitter Did

From #ThanksgivingClapBack to #GrowingUpBlack to #CelebritiesOnlyBlackPeopleKnow, Black Twitter’s infectious and dry humor brought us to tears this year. But their hashtags weren’t just about making us laugh. From #IfIDieInPoliceCustody to #SayHerName to #MelaninOnFleek, they were committed to keeping up woke and celebrating our greatness. #ThankYou

22. Worst Moments In Pop Culture Moments Of 2015

Worst Moments In Pop Culture Moments Of 2015

The death of Bobby Kristina; Kanye’s zombie apocalypse clothing line; the “Whip and Nae,” everything Raven-Symone said; the fall of Empire; Key and Peele leaving television; Serena being compared to a horse; Steve Harvey crowning the wrong Miss Universe; trap queens; and “If You Can’t Party at Bella Noches…” What did we miss? Let us […]

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