In honor of BHM and Valentine's Day this week, I (Yari Blanco) decided to collaborate with my significant other (Derrell Smith) on a list of moments in Black History/Culture that have left an impact in our lives... or caused us to do something as an effect of their influence. Hopefully this gets you to think about moments in Black History you've experienced that have caused a chain reaction in your own lives. Truth is that whether we are aware of it or not, Black Culture permeates our lives in some way or another. If you need examples think about the music you listen to, the clothes you wear, the politics you are affected by and or read about, the food you eat, the movies you love (hello Moonlight!) and the friends you hang with. Or simply look in the mirror and see yourself in all of that divinity. We hope you enjoy this list as much as we enjoyed talking about it. xx

Obama winning the 2008 & 2012 elections 

I mean, does this even need a reason? Goodness we miss them... eternally. - Rell + Yari


Tony Dungy winning a Super Bowl

Football is my favorite sport and Tony Dungy was the first Black coach to win a Super Bowl. Seeing a Black man winning something so significant in American history/culture that didn't seem attainable previously— how could that not be impactful? Fun fact, the year this happened was the year he faced off against the Chicago Bears— whom also had a Black coach, named Lovie Smith. So changing history was inevitable on that Sunday!- Rell

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Seeing Lupita, Tracee, and Taraji win Awards

The speeches... oh the speeches. I got a knot in my throat re-watching them while writing this. And also, the fashion. Lupita in baby blue was a vision (how many paintings came of this?) and Tracee is the reason I want to wear a ridiculous amount of rings on both hands on a daily basis. They remind me that if you put in the work and have good intentions it pays off- Yari

Halle Berry + Denzel Winning Oscars 

This is the first time in my life I had seen two people that looked like me win this type of award. I'm also mad that Denzel didn't win the Oscar for portraying Malcolm X, BUT, I'm happy he won the award regardless. Hopefully more of these are given to the talent in our community - Rell


Going to the National Museum of African American History and Culture together 

It was dope to be immersed in Black History. It was really eye opening to learn so much in one location, I find it so crazy that slaves were used to produce sugar and cotton and now in 2018 these are things we don't even think about in the way it was thought of back then. I also just loved the design of the space and the story it told, which is of the progress we as Black people have created for ourselves. - Rell

Yea, that entire day was really emotional for me. I wish all that history was taught at school. It was a lot to take in and I'm sure I missed a few things... so I'd like to go again. It was also amazing to see when they shouted out Dominican, Cuban and or Puerto Rican's in some of the copy throughout the museum. I hope one day they include an Afro-Caribbean section, that would be hella dope - Yari


Reading Assata (Shakur): An Autobiography 

I've always been into the era in American History when people got militant because mothafuckas weren't getting IT. I'm not a violent person myself (by any means), but I don't like bullies. So learning about the Black Panther Movement continues to fascinate me. I read the autobiography of Assata on the train and before bed a few years ago. I was SO ANGRY ya'll. I think being mad can be (and should be) used as a tool for creating change. It bothers me that she's still on the America's Most Wanted list, especially considered the fuckery happening at the WH right now. For those who love to read, I highly recommend this book as well as Panther Baby. -Yari

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watching Colin Kaepernick 

Seeing someone like him risk his career for the greater good takes serious courage and integrity. To say something, commit to it and not back down — I respect people like that. - Rell

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Watching Living Single and It's a Different World 

So growing up I didn't really have control over the radio/cd player or the TV. Soooo shit was interesting. I grew up listening to Boys II Men and Mobb Deep, but watching novelas on Telemundo. In other words, my cousins who are a few years older than I controlled the music, and my aunts and mom controlled the TV. This wasn't always the case, as we did watch MTV and BET from time to time (again a theme in music). BUT as an adult I obviously had a chance to choose what I wanted to watch... and two shows that really did it for me were Living Single (watched when I was 25) and It's a Different World (watched when I was 29). LS made moving to LA alone an easier experience, those characters were my girls and made me laugh on the nights where I didn't have a date or felt like hitting up the club. I loved how different they all were but how their friendship brought them together. IDW really blew my mind when I watched it ... I'll be making my children see it when they hit their teen years. I finally understood why so many people ended up going to an HBCU and it made me a little jealous no one told me about those schools while I was in High School and applying for colleges. Living Single is on Hulu and I'll be re-watching if ya'll want to join :) - Yari

Listening to The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

The first time I heard a song off this album was in my cousins hooptie, as we were driving to my other cousins Sweet 16 rehearsal. By then the album had been out for a year but I had no idea since I was 12 years old (again no control over the radio)... I didn't actually listen to the entire album until I was 16 myself and a friend bought me the CD. It was the first album I downloaded and uploaded (yup no iTunes) to my iPod when I was 19 and it continues to be a very important album in my life. It's one of the albums that will always transcend generations. - Yari


Listening to Public Enemy Fight the Power 

I was at home on my bed listening to music and this song came on my iPhone. I had heard this song many times before but this was the first time I really paid attention to the lyrics. The first few lines hit me so hard, they inspired me to start working on my business (99eats.co). The power of music is real. - Rell


Seeing Beyonce perform at the 2013 BET Experience

I remember working my ass off as we all were. We got to LA and as we all ran around (since this was the first BET Experience), my boss — the ahmazing Eddie Hill— gave me an envelope with two tickets (one for me and another for my friend who had came to LA with me on a whim and ended up working just as hard as anyone else on the staff) for BEYONCE. I was beyond myself. I didn't think we'd get tickets to see her as those were highly coveted. When we got to the theater that night we were looking for our seats and the ushers kept telling us to keep going down... and when we got to ground level I nearly lost my mind. We ended up seating like 10 rows away from the stage. Ya'll, I had on heels, I stood for 2 1/2 hours and clapped the entire time. I was never really a "concert going person" until seeing Bey in action. This remains as top three best concerts I've seen. Beyonce is worth every dollar in my pocket book and I'm happy to say I got to see her again after that. - Yari


Marching for Black Lives Matter in NYC

When I was working at BET, one of the most powerful things was the ability to come to work and have people around you that understood the sht happening in the outside world without having to say it. I never took that for granted. I also never took for granted that I could talk about it if I wanted to and the love was still there. Our building was (is) on Time Square and so when the BLM marches were happening we could see them from our floor. I remember a group of my co-workers gathering to go march and I immediately asked if I could join. It was night out and cold and I know that marching is not for everyone, but I needed to be out there with people I considered family on behalf of all the folk that I cared about. And I'm happy I did. It was exhilarating and a little scary, especially seeing the NYPD out. At one point we were walking on the West Side Highway and saw people getting snatched up by the cops... CHILE! We were all a bit shook. Anyway, I have SO MUCH RESPECT for people who put their lives on the line for this on a daily basis. They are the true heroes. - Yari


black Twitter (everyday)

Black Twitter is PURE. GOLD. Ya'll deserve awards, contracts, allll the money. Whenever I'm having a day or feel myself in a mood, ya'll remind me that laughter is the best cure. Someone will be doing Twitter's funniest tweets coffee table book and I'll be buying it. The talent is real and if this Rihanna and Lupita movie happens, we'll never doubt it again. - Yari



Hit me on twitter and let me know some of your favorite moments in Black History! @theyariblanco