This Weekend Was a Big Weekend for Black Icons

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Photo Credit Twitter Mayor Eric Garcetti

In a unanimous decision, the City Council of Los Angeles voted 15 to 0 in favor of renaming three and a half miles of Rodeo Road to honor the presidency of Barack Obama. “Obama Boulevard,” the stretch is now called, and it runs past the location of his first campaign rally in the city. “For every child who will drive down this street and see the name of the first Black President of our country, this boulevard will serve as a physical reminder that no goal is out of reach and that no dream is too big,” tweeted City Council President Herb Wesson.

Mayor Garcetti Obama BLVD Belatina
Photo Credit Twitter Mayor Eric Garcetti

Former President Obama was not at the unveiling himself, but he sent an official letter to the city acknowledging the honor. “While Michelle, Malia, Sasha and I are so humbled by this day, we’re still mindful that this is not about us,” he wrote. “This is about this neighborhood’s next generation and all we want for them. We hope they look at the new street signs and find inspiration in all that a group of committed citizens can achieve together.”

On the other side of the country, the New York City Council passed their own unanimous resolution to rename the Park Hill area of Staten Island as the “Wu-Tang Clan District.” Park Hill, also known as Clifton, was home to many of the members of the group. “This is a great day where we have an opportunity to honor our own hometown heroes, the young men who put Staten Island on the map internationally,” said New York City Councilwoman Debi Rose in her address to the public. “They overcame all types of challenges, to not only become rap artist and hip-hop artist but to inspire and challenge the music world,” she said.

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And representing all of America, for the first time in history, three black women were crowned in the country’s most prominent beauty pageants this season. Cheslie Kryst of North Carolina won the title of Miss USA, while Kaleigh Garris of Connecticut was crowned Miss Teen USA. Nia Franklin, who represented New York, had won the title of Miss America in September. “It is important to little brown and black girls to see three strong figures, three strong women, African-American women that are doing so much great work,” Franklin told the New York Times. “People will argue that race doesn’t matter. But race does matter in America, because of the history, because of slavery.”
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Meaningfully, both Kryst and Garris opted to rock their natural hair at their pageants. “For the first time in a long time the crown has been placed in natural hair,” Garris told ELLE. “It’s something that people don’t usually see on a regular basis or in these major pageant competitions. So, having that representation within the African American community has really opened up a lot of people’s eyes and has allowed people to see that people of color can accomplish really amazing things.”