Blast From The Past:
OUR HAMITE AWARD WINNER FOR 1986:
Ronald McNair, Ph.D.
Ronald Ervin McNair, Ph.D. was a physicist and NASA astronaut. McNair died during the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger on mission STS-51-L.
Born in Lake City, South Carolina, he was raised by his parents, Pearl M. and Carl C. McNair, and had two brothers, Carl S. and Eric A. McNair.
As a boy, he refused to leave the segregated Lake City Public Library without being allowed to check out his books. After the police and his mother had been called, he was authorized to borrow books from the library, which is now named after him. The officer said, "Why don't you just give him the books?" which the lady behind the counter reluctantly did. He said, "Thank you, M'am," as he got the books
A child's book, Ron's Big Mission, offers a fictionalized account of this event.
McNair graduated as valedictorian of Carver High School in 1967.
In 1971 he received a bachelor's degree in engineering physics, magna cum laude, from North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, North Carolina. McNair was a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. In 1976, he received a Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under the guidance of Prof. Michael Feld, becoming nationally recognized for his work in the field of laser physics.
He received three honorary doctorates, a score of fellowships and commendations and achieved a black belt in karate.and also an accomplished saxophonist.
After graduation from MIT, he became a staff physicist at the Hughes Research Lab in Malibu, California. McNair was a member of the Bahá'í Faith.
In 1978, Dr. McNair was selected as one of thirty-five applicants from a pool of ten thousand for the NASA astronaut program. He flew on STS-41-B aboard Challenger from 3–11 February 1984, as a mission specialist becoming the second African American and the first Bahá'í to fly in space.
Following this mission, Dr. McNair was selected for STS-51-L, which launched on 28 January 1986, and was subsequently killed when Challenger disintegrated nine miles above the Atlantic Ocean just 73 seconds after liftoff.
Before his sad last space shuttle mission, he had worked with the composer Jean Michel Jarre on a piece of music for Jarre's then-upcoming album Rendez-Vous. It was intended that he would record his saxophone solo on board the Challenger, which would have made McNair's solo the first original piece of music to have been recorded in space (although the song "Jingle Bells" had been played on a harmonica during an earlier Gemini 6 spaceflight).
However, the recording was never made as the flight ended in disaster and the deaths of its entire crew. The last of the Rendez-Vous pieces, (Last Rendez-Vous) had the additional name "Ron's Piece." Ron McNair was supposed to take part in the concert through a live feed.
What a great human being! Ronald McNair accomplished more in his short lifetime than the average person. He shot for the moon. Isn't he a great inspiration to you. He set the beautiful and lofty example; now it's our turn.
We proudly honor this great African American with the 1986 Hamite Award for his extraordinary success in aeronautics and in the process shining like a bright beacon for all those watching.
Ronald McNair, Ph.D.|
Astronaut candidates Ron McNair, Guy Bluford, and Fred Gregory wearing Apollo spacesuits, May 1978
|How were blacks feeling in 1986?
Tommie Smith and John Carlos
Three Proud People mural in Newtown
DID YOU KNOW?
Ever wonder how the term "African American" came into existence? After the civil rights movement, blacks felt the need for a more accurate term to describe the race than colored or Negro, which was associated with much pain and suffering. In the late 1960s, and early 1970s, blacks no longer approved of the term Negro. In its experimental stages the term Afro-American was used for a while but didn't last. Later the Black Power movement made us feel proud using black as the term in describing our race.
The song, "Say It Loud – I'm Black and I'm Proud" by James Brown became an unofficial anthem of the Black Power movement. But it wasn't until the 1980s the term African American was advanced on the model of, for example, German-American or Irish-American to give descendants of American slaves and other American blacks who lived through the slavery era a heritage and a cultural base. The term was popularized in black communities around the country via word of mouth and ultimately received mainstream use after Jesse Jackson publicly used the term in front of a national audience. Subsequently, major media outlets adopted its use.
Double Dutch is a rope skipping exercise played when two ropes are turned in eggbeater fashion.
While the ropes are turned, a third person jumps within. Early Dutch immigrants introduced
it to America, and it later became a favorite game for black American girls to play.
| Sports in 1986 |
- January 4, 1986 - At the college level, basketball's David Robinson had a fantastic day with 14 blocked shots, which was a record.
- January 16, 1986 - Baseball's Willie McCovey is only the 16th player elected to Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
- April 20, 1986 - Basketball's Michael Jordan sets a NBA playoff record with an amazing 63 points in a game.
- May 30, 1986 - Baseball's Barry Bonds makes his Major League debut for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
- June 21, 1986 - Two sport player Bo Jackson who was a Heisman Trophy winner, signs with the Kansas City Royals baseball team.
- September 6, 1986 - Boxer Michael Spinks knocks outs Steffen Tangstad in the 4th round for the heavyweight boxing title.
- November 22, 1986 - Boxer Mike Tyson defeates Trevor Berbick for the World Boxing Council heavyweight championship. Tyson is the youngest fighter to win the crown at the age of 20.
President Ronald Reagan
| Political Scene in 1986 |
- 1986 - Ronald Reagan was an American politician, commentator, and actor, who served as the 40th President of the United States from 1981 to 1989. Prior to his presidency, he served as the 33rd Governor of California from 1967 to 1975, following a career as an actor and union leader in Hollywood.
- 1986 - Douglas Wilder was the first African American to win a statewide election in Virginia by being elected as Lieutenant Governor.
"Colored Waiting Room" sign from
segregationist era United States
photo #100 -year-1878
| Race in 1986 |
- December 20, 1986 - Howard Beach racial incident in New York. Trivia: Four black men: Michael Griffith, 23; Cedric Sandiford, 36; and Curtis Sylvester and Timothy Grimes, both 20; were riding in a car when it broke down in a deserted stretch of Cross Bay Boulevard near Broad Channel. Three of the men walked about three miles north to seek help in the Howard Beach neighborhood of Queens, an isolated, mostly-white community. Sylvester remained behind to watch the car. They argued with some white teens who were on their way to a party, then left.
By 12:30 A.M. on the 20th, the men reached the New Park Pizzeria, near the intersection of Cross Bay Boulevard and 157 Avenue. After a quick meal the men left the pizzeria at 12:40 A.M. and were confronted by a group of about ten white men who were with the group, they had earlier confronted. Racial slurs were exchanged, and a fight ensued. Sandiford and Griffith were severely beaten; Grimes escaped unharmed. While trying to evade his tormentors, Griffith ran in front of a moving car driven by the son of a police officer and was killed. His body was found on Shore Parkway at 1:03 A.M.
1877 was the worst year for American Blacks
The beginning or a good foundation means everything when attempting to build, and the newly freed Negro just didn't have one. When slaves first tasted freedom in the emancipation, they wanted to assimilate into American culture very badly. They wanted to build and live their lives in harmony with their white American brothers.
There were over four million former slaves who were uneducated and illiterate because during slavery it was illegal and a felony for anyone caught teaching them to read and write. They were not independent like you and me, but depended on others to provide the necessities of life.
The United States government wanted to help, and assisted by providing Reconstruction aid which meant education, medical, housing, etc. Imagine the joy in these former slaves heart. The schools were regularly packed with black people trying to better themselves. Happiness was all around! Finally! Thanks, America, we will prove we can do it! YEAH! This was the general attitude of the Negro.
Sadly, this joy was very short lived because the United States government stopped aid after a few short years. This totally uncaring and un-American decision was called the 1877 Compromise, with many Negroes calling it the 1877 Grand Betrayal.
Although the Negro was now free, he would have to make do the best way he knew how, without any help whatsoever from the government who put him in slavery in the first place. These people became downtrodden, uneducated nomads living in a hateful white racist world, and because of future laws restricting the rights of the American Negro would remain this way until the 1960s Civil Rights movement.
A good foundation was not laid with Negro assimilation into American culture. Many blacks were understandably demoralized, angry and defeated for many years. The weaker ones continue to be so until this day and still hold a grudge that hurts themselves more than anybody else.
Now ones like Mr Lewis who is pictured above understood his absolutely amazing African American heritage, and the many examples of black success stories he went on to model his life after. This helped him because he had an anchor to build. Study your incredible history that's included in this website and grow; it really is a thing of extraordinary beauty.
| Television / Movies in 1986 |
- Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling - a 1986 semi-autobiographical film starring Richard Pryor. This was the first and only feature film he directed.
- She's Gotta Have It - The first feature film by Spike Lee is released.
- Captain EO - a 1986 American 3D science fiction film starring Michael Jackson and directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
Academy Award Winners:
- 1986 - Herbie Hancock for Round Midnight. Best Original Music Score
- 1986 - The Oprah Winfrey Show, often referred to simply as Oprah, is an American syndicated tabloid talk show that aired nationally for 25 seasons from 1986 to 2011. Produced and hosted by its namesake, Oprah Winfrey, it remains the highest-rated talk show in American television history
Did you know you came from an amazing race of people who cared for you? It's true. The amazing accomplishments of our ancestors are recorded on this website. Years ago as slaves it was illegal for slaves to read and write, and a felony for anyone caught teaching them.
The slavemaster wanted to keep them ignorant so they wouldn't organize and rebel against their authority. He was able to completely dominate blacks in this way. The slavemaster understood the power of education.
Sadly today, too many of our own have not learned how truly important it is to learn. Some may look at education as a white thing and to pick up a book is a sellout. Has any ignorant person ever made you feel that way? If so, you should run away as fast as you can from a person like this. You will meet him in a few years while he's pushing a shopping cart around town.
Education and learning are not white; it's a gift for all humanity. Read at all cost; it will add a new dimension to your life, bringing a whole new world you never knew existed. Your ancestors made it all possible for you.
| Famous Birthdays in 1986 |
- January 9, 1986 - Stephanie Jean Umoh an American stage actress.
- January 16, 1986 - Jason Finn an American actor, and rapper.
- February 12, 1986 - Brandon Durell Allen an American professional baseball first baseman and left fielder in the New York Mets organization.
- February 15, 1986 - Amber Patrice Riley an American actress, singer-songwriter, and philanthropist.
- April 26, 1986 - Aaron Joseph Meeks an NAACP Image Award-winning American actor.
- May 6, 1986 - Sasheer Zamata an American actress and comedienne.
- May 17, 1986 - Tahj Dayton Mowry an American actor, dancer, and singer.
- May 21, 1986 - Da'Vine Joy Randolph an American actress and singer.
- June 3, 1986 - Brenden Richard Jefferson an American film and television actor and songwriter.
- June 24, 1986 - Solange Knowles an American singer, songwriter, model, and actress.
- June 30, 1986 - Victoria Elizabeth Crawford an American model and professional wrestler best known by her ring name Alicia Fox.
- July 6, 1986 - Leon Curtis Frierson an American actor and comedian.
- July 9, 1986 - Kiely Alexis Williams an American singer-songwriter, actress and dancer.
- July 19, 1986 - Deance Antwon Wyatt an American actor and dancer.
- August 1, 1986 - Elijah Kelley an American actor, singer, and dancer.
- August 3, 1986 - Andrew McFarlane an American actor and former model.
- August 17, 1986 - Bryton Eric James an American actor and singer.
- August 21, 1986 - Kiami Davael an American actress.
- August 26, 1986 - Cassie an American recording artist, dancer, actress and model.
- August 27, 1986 - Mario an American R&B singer-songwriter, actor, dancer and model.
- September 5, 1986 - Davida Brittany Williams an American actress, singer, dancer, and photographer.
- September 7, 1986 - Jamea Jackson a female American former tennis player.
- September 16, 1986 - Kyla Alissa Pratt an American actress.
- September 20, 1986 - Aldis Hodge an American actor.
- October 1, 1986 - Jurnee Diana Smollett-Bell an American actress.
- October 4, 1986 - Kali Hawk an American actress, comedian and model.
- October 7, 1986 - Amber Dawn Stevens an American actress and model.
- October 12, 1986 - Marcus Terrell Paulk an American actor, rapper.
- October 13, 1986 - Raquel Lee an American actress.
- October 24, 1986 - Drake a Canadian rapper and songwriter. He was born in Toronto, Ontario.
- December 11, 1986 - Condola Phylea Rashad an American actress, daughter of actress Phylicia and Ahmad Rashad.
- December 22, 1986 - J-Dub an American actor, rapper, producer.
- December 28, 1986 - AzMarie an American fashion model and actor.
Lloyd Haynes and Michael Constantine from the television program Room 222
John W. Bubbles
| Famous Deaths in 1986 |
- January 24, 1986 - Flora ("Flo") Jean Hyman was an American athlete who played volleyball.
- January 28, 1986 - Ronald Ervin McNair, Ph.D. was a physicist and NASA astronaut. McNair died during the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger on mission STS-51-L.
- March 6, 1986 - Adolph Caesar was an American actor.
- April 17, 1986 - Carl Lee was an American actor.
- April 19, 1986 - Alvin Childress was an African-American actor who is best known for playing the cabdriver Amos Jones in the 1950s television comedy series Amos 'n Andy.
- April 25, 1986 - Urylee Leonardos was an American vocalist and actress who appeared frequently on Broadway.
- May 11, 1986 - Frederick Douglass "Fritz" Pollard was the first African American head coach in the National Football League (NFL). Pollard along with Bobby Marshall were the first two African American players in the NFL in 1920.
- May 18, 1986 - John W. Bubbles known by his stage name John W. Bubbles, was an American vaudeville performer, dancer, singer and entertainer.
- May 31, 1986 - Albert Reed Jr. was an American actor and law enforcement officer. He is best known for his recurring role as Alderman Fred Davis on the 1970s sitcom, Good Times.
- August 19, 1986 - Lorenzo Tucker known as the "Black Valentino," was an African-American stage and screen actor who played the romantic lead in the early black films .
- August 22, 1986 - Dotts Johnson was an African American stage and film actor.
- November 22, 1986 - Scatman Crothers was an American actor, singer, dancer and musician known for his work as Louie the Garbage Man on the TV show Chico and the Man.
- December 13, 1986 - Ella Josephine Baker was an African-American civil rights and human rights activist. She was a largely behind-the-scenes organizer whose career spanned over five decades.
- December 31, 1986 - Lloyd Haynes was an actor and television writer, best known for his starring role in the Emmy Award-winning series Room 222.
| Famous Weddings in 1986 |
- February 22, 1986 - D.L. Hughley and Ladonna Hughley are married.
- November 1, 1986 - Kirby Puckett and Tonya Hudson are married.
- 1986 - Richard Pryor and Flynn Belaine are married.
- 1986 - Irene Cara and Conrad E. Palmisano are married.
- 1986 - Patrice Rushen and Marc St. Louis are married.
- 1986 - Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Bob Kersee are married.
- 1986 - Lee Elder and Rose Lorraine Harper are married.
- 1986 - Curt Flood and actress Judy Pace are married.
Don Michael Mitchell
| Famous Divorces in 1986 |
- December 1986 - Muhammad Ali and Veronica Porche were divorced.
- 1986 - Smokey Robinson and Claudette Robinson were divorced.
- 1986 - Mykelti Williamson and Olivia Brown were divorced.
- 1986 - Don Mitchell and Judy Pace were divorced.
- 1986 - Isaac Hayes and Mignon Harley were divorced.
- 1986 - Barbara McNair and Ben Strahan were divorced.
Soul Train ran from 1971-2006
| Music in 1986 |
Billboard Top Soul Hits:
- "Don't Say No Tonight" Eugene Wilde
- "Say You, Say Me" Lionel Richie
- "That's What Friends Are For" Dionne and Friends
- "Do Me, Baby" Meli'sa Morgan
- "How Will I Know" Whitney Houston
- "Your Smile" René & Angela
- "What Have You Done for Me Lately" Janet Jackson
- "Kiss" Prince and the Revolution
- "I Have Learned to Respect the Power of Love" Stephanie Mills
- "On My Own" Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald
- "Nasty" Janet Jackson
- "There'll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry)" Billy Ocean
- "Who's Johnny" El DeBarge
- "Rumors" Timex Social Club
- "Closer Than Close" Jean Carne
- "Do You Get Enough Love" Shirley Jones
- "Love Zone" Billy Ocean
- "Ain't Nothin' Goin' on But the Rent" Gwen Guthrie
- "(Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop) Goes My Mind" LeVert
- "The Rain" Oran " Juice" Jones
- "Word Up" Cameo
- "Shake You Down" Gregory Abbott
- "A Little Bit More" Melba Moore with Freddie Jackson
- "Tasty Love" Freddie Jackson
- "Love You Down" Ready for the World
- "Girlfriend" Bobby Brown
Popular Soul Dances:
- The Macarena
- The Robot
- The Electric Slide
- The MC Hammer
- The Worm
- Hip Hop
- Crip Walk
- Cabbage patch
- Running Man
- Chicago stepping
- KC Two-Step
- Detroit Ballroom
Musical Happenings in 1986:
- Steven Tyler and Joe Perry appeared on Run D.M.C.'s cover of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way". It becomes the first big rap-rock crossover hit, reaching #4 on the Billboard Hot 100
- The approximate beginning of new school hip hop, and the end of old school hip hop.
Blues Hall of Fame for 1986:
The Blues Hall of Fame is a music museum located in Memphis, Tennessee. Until recently, the "Blues Hall of Fame" was not a physical building, but a listing of people who have significantly contributed to blues music. Started in 1980 by the Blues Foundation, it honors those who have performed, recorded, or documented blues. The actual building for the hall opened to the public on May 8, 2015
- Albert Collins
- Tommy Johnson
- Lead Belly
American Music Awards winners in 1986:
The American Music Awards was created by Dick Clark to compete with the Grammy Awards. Michael Jackson and Donny Osmond co-hosted the first award show with Rodney Allen Rippy and Ricky Segall in 1974. Unlike the Grammys, which are awarded on the basis of votes by members of the Recording Academy, the AMAs are determined by a poll of the public and fans, who can vote through the AMAs website.
Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist
- Tina Turner
Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist
- Stevie Wonder
Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist
- Aretha Franklin
Favorite Soul/R&B Band, Duo, or Group
- Kool & The Gang
Favorite Soul/R&B Album
- Emergency - Kool & The Gang
Favorite Soul/R&B Single
- "You Give Good Love" - Whitney Houston
Favorite Soul/R&B Video
- "Saving All My Love for You" - Whitney Houston
Favorite Soul/R&B Male Video Artist
- Stevie Wonder
Favorite Soul/R&B Female Video Artist
- Aretha Franklin
Favorite Soul/R&B Band/Duo/Group Video Artist
- The Pointer Sisters
Grammy winners in 1986:
The 28th Annual Grammy Awards were held on February 25, 1986 at Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles. They recognized accomplishments by musicians from the previous year, 1985.
Record of the Year
- Quincy Jones (producer) for "We Are the World" performed by USA for Africa
Song of the Year
- Michael Jackson & Lionel Richie (songwriters) for "We Are the World" performed by USA for Africa
Best New Artist
Best Traditional Blues Recording
- My Guitar Sings the Blues-B.B. King
Best Comedy Recording
- Whoopi Goldberg for Whoopi Goldberg - Original Broadway Show Recording
Best Vocal Arrangement for Two or More Voices
- Bobby McFerrin & Cheryl Bentyne (arrangers) for "Another Night in Tunisia" performed by The Manhattan Transfer
Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording
- Rockin' Sidney for "My Toot Toot"
Best Gospel Performance, Male
- Larnelle Harris for "How Excellent Is Thy Name"
Best Gospel Performance by a Duo or Group, Choir or Chorus
- Larnelle Harris & Sandi Patti for "I've Just Seen Jesus"
Best Soul Gospel Performance, Female
- Shirley Caesar for "Martin"
Best Soul Gospel Performance, Male
- Marvin Winans for "Bring Back the Days of Yea and Nay"
Best Soul Gospel Performance by a Duo or Group, Choir or Chorus
- The Winans for Tomorrow
Best Inspirational Performance
- Jennifer Holliday for "Come Sunday"
Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Female
- Cleo Laine for Cleo at Carnegie - The 10th Anniversary Concert
Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Male
- Bobby McFerrin & Jon Hendricks for "Another Night in Tunisia"
Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Soloist
- Wynton Marsalis for Black Codes From the Underground
Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Group
- Wynton Marsalis for Black Codes From the Underground performed by the Wynton Marsalis Group
Best Music Video, Short Form
- Tom Trbovich (video director) & Quincy Jones (video producer) for "We Are the World - The Video Event" performed by USA for Africa
Best Album Notes
- Peter Guralnick (notes writer) for Sam Cooke Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963
Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female
- Whitney Houston for "Saving All My Love for You"
Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal
- Quincy Jones (producer) for "We Are the World" performed by USA for Africa
Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female
- Aretha Franklin for "Freeway of Love"
Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male
- Stevie Wonder for In Square Circle
Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal
- Commodores for "Nightshift"
Best Rhythm & Blues Song
- Jeffrey Cohen & Narada Michael Walden (songwriters) for "Freeway of Love" performed by Aretha Franklin
Best Reggae Recording
- Jimmy Cliff for Cliff Hanger
Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female
- Tina Turner for "One Of The Living"
Best Spoken Word or Non-musical Recording
- Mike Berniker (producer) & the original Broadway cast for Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
Grammy Hall of Fame Award
- Chick Webb and His Orchestra with Ella Fitzgerald
The Civil Rights movement of the 60s was a total success. Now the second part of our journey begins. |
Now here's the problem.
For the last hundred years or so, white Americans have had every privilege simply for being white.
Unconstitutional Jim Crow laws instituted in the past had restricted blacks in every sense of the word.
Blacks were routinely treated as second-class citizens even after fighting courageously in every single American war, Revolutionary war included.
During this Jim Crow period, whites created a humongous stronghold and power structure for their families in America that still stands today. They completely understand how to navigate this power structure, and do it very well.
But after the 60s, blacks, on the other hand, found it difficult to penetrate and become a part of this American structure and ones that attempted were generally fought every step of the way, not by outright in your face racism, but a new one called casual racism which is just as harmful.
Ever since slavery ended, blacks who are of African culture didn't get much help assimilating into an American (European) way of life. After victory with our Civil Rights in the 60s, many didn't understand how to challenge this power structure in a productive and intelligent way growing frustrated and angry. Many were resorting to violence until an amazing man named DJ Kool Herc steps onto the scene to save the day!
DJ Kool Herc spinning records
DJ Kool Herc was the beginning of Hip Hop and gave many a positive outlet instead of violence, and whether older blacks liked it or not for our younger people would replace the guidance of influential civil rights leaders of past and become the voice they listened to for knowledge and help.
The media began to portray Hip hop/rapper figures as the brains of the black race. They are treated as wise ones and royalty. But they forgot or just ignored the many blacks who achieved with brainpower as college graduates, as opposed to artistic ability. Because of this portrayal, Hip-hop/Rap artist have without a doubt become an influential voice in the black community.
Many older blacks who were trained by our past Civil Rights leaders excellent moral guidance and teachings liked their beats but not the messages because it was filled with much hate and violence, especially on our people.
So when a younger black person who has been trained by these lyrics attempt to enter the white power structure workforce, they very seldom get through the front door, and it has nothing to do with racism, and if they are lucky enough to get that far they usually don't last, because they don't understand how to deal and work with people.
Don't get it wrong; Hip hop/rap music is a part of who we are, and we are all so proud of our ability to create something out of nothing that the entire world loves and imitates. But it also comes with a tremendous responsibility when possessing such great power and influence to help people and especially our own. Don't forget to teach our young that beats are good, but books are better!
There are many who keep the entertainment value of Hip hop/rap in perspective and understand how to maintain a balance, but there are also many easily influenced ones who fail and don't have a clue. So an important question arises. Will Hip-Hop lead the weaker one's in learning to live in the real world so we all can achieve and soar like the eagles or will it sell us out for the love of fame and money?
Womens fashions in the 1980s
Mens fashions in the 1980s
The rah-rah skirt is a short flounced layered skirt that originated in cheerleading and became a popular fashion trend among teenage girls in the early 1980s. Later in the 1980s it was often worn with leather, denim or lace.
Jheri curl hairstyle worn in the 1980s.
A medium-length hi-top fade haircut
| Fashions and Styles in 1986 |
The early 1980s were very different from the rest of the decade, with some carryovers from the late 1970s. Clothing colors were subdued, quiet and basic; varying shades of brown, tan, and orange were common. Fashionable clothing in the early 1980s included both unisex and gender-specific attire. Widespread fashions for women in the early 1980s included sweaters (including turtleneck, crew neck, and v-neck varieties); fur-lined puffer jackets; tunics; faux-fur coats; velvet blazers; trench coats (made in both fake and real leather); crop tops; tube tops; knee-length skirts (of no prescribed length, as designers opted for choice); loose, flowy, knee-length dresses (with high-cut and low-cut necklines, varying sleeve lengths, and made in a variety of fabrics including cotton, silk, satin, and polyester); high-waisted loose pants; embroidered jeans; leather pants; and designer jeans. Women's pants of the 1980s were, in general, worn with long inseams - a style carried over from the 1970s. Accessories for women included thin belts, knee-high boots with thick kitten heels, sneakers, jelly shoes (a new trend at the time), mules, round-toed shoes and boots, jelly bracelets (inspired by Madonna in 1983), shoes with thick heels, small, thin necklaces (with a variety of materials, such as gold and pearls), and small watches. The fitness craze of the 1970s continued into the early 1980s. General women's street-wear worn in the early 1980s included ripped sweatshirts, leotards, tights, sweatpants, and tracksuits (especially ones made in velour). Prior to the mid-1980s, it had been taboo to show a slip or a bra strap in public. A visible undergarment had been a sign of social ineptness. With the new fashion's most extreme forms, young women would forgo conventional outer-garments for vintage-style bustiers with lacy slips and several large crucifixes.
In the early 1980s, fashion had carried onward from the late 1970s. Athletic clothes were more popular than jeans during this period, as were more subdued colors. Looser pants remained popular during this time, being fairly wide but straight, and tighter shirts were especially popular. The general public, at this time, wanted to wear low-maintenance clothing with more basic colors, as the global recession going on at the time kept extravagant clothes out of reach. Popular clothing in the early 1980s worn by men includes tracksuits, v-neck sweaters, polyester and velour polo-neck shirts, sports jerseys, straight-leg jeans, polyester button-ups, cowboy boots, beanies, and hoodies. In the mid 1980s, popular trends included wool sport coats, Levi 501s, Hawaiian shirts, shell suits, hand-knit sweaters, sports shirts, hoodies, flannel shirts, reversible flannel vests, jackets with the insides quilted, nylon jackets, gold rings, spandex cycling shorts, cowboy boots, and khaki pants with jagged seams. T-shirts underneath expensive suit jackets with broad, padded shoulders, hawaiian shirts (complemented with sport coats, often with top-stitched lapels for a "custom-tailored" look), and (in counterpoint to the bright shirt) jackets that were often gray, tan, rust or white. Easy-care micro-suede and corduroy jackets became popular choices, especially those with a Western style.
Rap and hip-hop:
Athletic shoes had been worn as casual wear before, but for the first time they became a high-priced fashion item. Converse shoes were popular in the first half of the 1980s. Air Jordan basketball shoes (named for basketball player Michael Jordan) made their debut in 1984. The NBA banned these shoes from games when they debuted, which increased their cachet. Soon, other manufacturers introduced premium athletic shoes. Adidas sneakers took the decade by storm, becoming popular among teenage boys and young men; the Adidas sneaker was popularized by the Run-D.M.C. song My Adidas. Nike had a similar share of the market, with Air Max and similar shoes. High-tops, especially of white or black leather, became popular. In the early 1980s, long and white athletic socks, often calf-high or knee-high, were worn with sneakers. As the decade progressed, socks trended shorter, eventually topping out just above the height of the shoe. Ensembles featuring the colors of Africa (green, yellow and red) became wildly popular among African Americans, as did kente cloth. In the urban hip-hop communities, sneakers were usually worn unlaced and with a large amount of gold jewelry, as well as headwraps.
The Jheri curl often spelled Jerry curl or Jeri Curl is a permed hairstyle that was common and popular among African American, Black Canadian, and Black British, especially during the 1980s and the 1990s. Invented by the hairdresser Jheri Redding, the Jheri curl gave the wearer a glossy, loosely curled look. It was touted as a "wash and wear" style that was easier to care for than the other popular chemical treatment of the day, the relaxer. A hi-top fade is a style of haircut where hair on the sides is cut off or kept very short while hair on the top of the head is very long (in contrast, a low fade is a style where hair on the top is kept shorter). It was common among young black people between 1985 and 1993.
United States Census for African Americans
in the 1980s
Matthew Alexander Henson
Ronald McNair, Ph.D.
|Our Community in 1986 |
Newsworthy Events in the Black Community:
- January 20, 1986 - the first national Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday is joyously celebrated in the United States.
- January 28, 1986 - the space shuttle Challenger explodes shortly after launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida killing Ronald McNair and six other crew members.
- Opera singer Marian Anderson was recognized with the the National Medal of Arts award.
- May 28, 1986 - The United States Postal Service issued a 22 cent postage stamp in honor of Matthew Alexander Henson and Peary; they were previously honored in 1959, but not by name.
- HIV and without treatment, average survival time after infection with HIV is estimated to be 9 to 11 years. Trivia:Infection with HIV occurs by the transfer of blood, semen, vaginal fluid, pre-ejaculate, or breast milk. Within these bodily fluids, HIV is present as both free virus particles and virus within infected immune cells. AIDS was first clinically observed in 1981 in the United States. The initial cases were a cluster of injection drug users and gay men.
- 1980s - Pac-Man is considered one of the classics of the medium, virtually synonymous with video games, and an icon of 1980s popular culture. Pac-Man is an arcade game developed by Namco and first released in Japan on May 22, 1980.
- 1980 - Less than a school year differentiated the years of schooling attained by African Americans and white Americans born after 1980.
- 1980s - The United States Population is 226,504,825 with a total of 26,482,349 being African Americans.
How did "acting" Cool begin for African Americans?|
It seems like it's been around forever and
expected of every black kid growing up
For most blacks, cool started on the southern plantations. Opportunists slavemasters devised a way for slaves to work harder and reap the benefits of their labor. During the year at a chosen plantation slave masters would hold a "Corn Shucking Festival." Slaves from nearby plantations would also join this event with their owner's permission, so it was almost like a community gathering of all the local slaves, with greedy slavemasters making all the money.
The slave who shucked the most corn won an award, sometimes cash or a suit of clothes. Anyone who found a red ear of corn also received a reward - perhaps a kiss from a young woman or a jug of whiskey. It was at these events that the term Shuckin' and jivin' came into existence by the slaves while working and telling tall stories, talking smack, and joking around with each other.
These gatherings, even though involving hard work had to be an event looked forward to by the slaves, because it was one of the few times during the year blacks had a chance to interact with one another. Shuckin' and jivin' would become a tool the slaves would use to convince their masters of an untruth, and even among themselves. It was an early form of being cool.
After slavery blacks were free (sort of) to do as they pleased. Most blacks wanted to assimilate into American culture very much but were shut out by the white racist. African and European culture met head on in what was supposed to be fair in America guaranteed by our Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, but blacks didn't stand a chance.
Why, what happened?
Because most whites banded together by breaking the law and made blacks second class citizens and would go on to murder, lynch, rape, humiliate them all the way until the 1960s Civil Rights movement. After Lincoln, every single United States President was aware of this and did nothing. Whites achieved like crazy and prospered while blacks lagged far behind and got along the best way they knew how.
Blacks disliked whites very much for this terrible treatment and instead of violent disobedience, they protested by living their lives opposite of white culture. I mean let's face it, why would blacks want to imitate or become a part of a race of people that hated them?
This is when being cool became a symbol of white resistance and protest. Being cool would show you were down with the struggle. During slavery, we had already created our language which was AAVE and many blacks communicated this way. Any black that did not use it was looked down as trying to act white, joining the enemy sort of speak.
We developed our own way of walking with a proud gait, (George Jefferson strut) our own style of music, our own style of dance, our own style of food, our own style of worship, that didn't have anything in common with white folks and that suited blacks just fine. We were poor, but we were proud and cool and everyone who practiced these traits was cool and a part of the resistance.
In the process, we were creating a new culture that was admired over the world. Blacks have always had a remarkable ability to create something out of nothing. But sadly there was significant risk with this lifestyle in a great country such as America.
What were the downfalls?
Oscar Micheaux felt it was wrong for blacks to live this way in America. Oscar was an African American author, film director and independent producer of more than 44 movies and he is regarded as the first major African-American feature filmmaker, the most successful African-American filmmaker of the first half of the twentieth century and the most prominent producer of race films. He produced both silent movies and "talkies" after the industry changed to incorporate speaking actors.
Oscar felt that blacks should become aggressive and use their brainpower in achieving instead of just settling for what the white man doled out. This man lived in some of the most racist times in American history, but he didn't let that stop him from fulfilling his dreams and doing it the legal way.
Evidently, Oscar had a brother who was the very cool type and was content on just putting up a show, or a front as living a successful life. We all know the type. A person that was living beyond his means. Blacks of his day called this way of living “the good life.”
Oscar didn't like it and was very upset with his brother. He later wrote in his book and discussed the culture of doers who want to accomplish, and those who see themselves as victims of injustice and hopelessness, and do not want to step out and try to succeed, but instead like to dress up, act cool and pretend to be successful while living the city lifestyle in poverty.
Oscar understood that education doesn't belong only to white people, it's a gift for all humanity to better ourselves, and honestly the best-proven way. Chinese, Japanese, Middle-Eastern and all other non-white nations understand this and have prospered by education. It's one of humanities treasure to learn.
But many blacks associated education with white and stayed far away from it, to continue with their cool lifestyle. A foolish mistake, and just what racist whites want you to believe.
Early Europeans completely dominated the Africans because they were better educated. They had guns we had spears, you do the math. In Africa our ancestors didn't value education, but traditions and silly ones at that. But that didn't save them. Education would have, though.
So without a doubt, it is entirely wrong to associate teaching and learning to white people. Many of us would look down upon another black who tried to better himself through education by saying they were trying to act white, and it wasn't cool. Racist whites laughed at us for believing this way because they knew we would always be behind.
After the 1960s, when our full Civil Rights were finally restored, many blacks chose to live the more standard American way by attending school to learn. But many also wanted to remain trapped in time with the old AAVE living in what they still perceived as defiance to the white American way of doing things. But were they only hurting themselves?
Later in time, being cool had become so prevalent in the black community it confused many kids, because they didn't quite understand if they were going to hang out with the cool kids or the so-called boring kids who liked to read and learn. At an early age, they are at a critical crossroad. Taking the cool route may seem easier, and a lot of fun, but would be a devastating mistake.
After the Civil Rights era we now have the opportunity to attend school and achieve as much as we can, but being cool has snatched many of the black kids and locked them into a culture hating education and in the process ruining their young lives.
Many entertainment figures reap much money from this cool culture by portraying cool as, well cool. They tell impressionable ones what's cool to hear, talk about, wear, eat, etc. and at the same time padding their cool humongous bank accounts.
These even get on television and flaunt their riches in a youngster's face never explicitly teaching on how they might be as successful, without being dishonest, stealing or selling drugs. Education is not cool for them to preach.
One thing is for sure, being cool can be a lot of fun and there's no denying that. Everybody wants to be liked, and it seems like cool people are respected and admired the most, from the clothes they wear to the type of songs they listen to the way they talk, the effortless way they seem to accomplish every task is amazing.
They possess incredible confidence. But truthfully everything they've accomplished wouldn't have been possible without the sacrifices of our wonderful ancestors. So don't you agree we owe a particular moral responsibility to them?
Kids should remember cool is not the real deal, It's a game we can't get caught up in. Our ancestors endured so much so we could achieve. We should never forget that. That's what this site was created. Browse through its pages, and you're going to read stories of amazing blacks.
They made it possible for us, and we're sure they would advise us to achieve through education first and foremost and save the cool for the weekends, and I ain't Shuckin and Jivin!
By White House (Pete Souza) / Maison Blanche (Pete Souza) (The Official White House Photostream) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Senate Office of Richard Lugar [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#100 - Public Domain image - By NASA (http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/portraits/mcnair.jpg) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#101 - Public Domain image -
By NASA (NASA file photo 78-HC-172) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#102 - Public Domain image -
By U.S. federal government (Kennedy Center Honorees at The White House 2010) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#103 - Public Domain image -
This image is a work of a U.S. military or Department of Defense employee, taken or made as part of that person's official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.
#104 - Public Domain image -
See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Melba Moore (Melba Moore) [CC BY 1.0], via Wikimedia Commons
If you have any more information about an item you've seen on our website or if you are the copyright owner and believe our website has not properly attributed your work to you or has used it without permission, we want to hear from you. Please email email@example.com with your contact information and a link to the relevant content.