As we look back at 2013, let us not forgot to pay tribute to our triumphs, tribulations and of course – melanin levels. Yes folks, we’re talking about the color of your skin. 2013 was just as important as any other year in recognizing that the skin color is important, and often newsworthy, just ask Santa Claus (or Megyn Kelly).
For black Americans, aka the New Slaves, there’s no need to be reminded of the part pigment plays in our daily lives, unless it’s from JJ Doom. Hell, we’ve even developed hashtags for that shit – #TeamDarkSkin and #TeamLightSkin. It’s a new level of ignorance and black-on-black hue hating. It’s like back in the days when our ancestors fought over who was light enough to go in the house and who had to stay in the fields and pick cotton. If only our genetically identical predecessors could see us now. Would they pat us on the back, or pull a switch off the nearest willow tree and beat our ass with it?
But hey, if we’re really going to be ignorant enough to use hashtags for hues (not quite humanity), then let’s embrace it fully, and more importantly, let’s be democratic about it. See, the problem with the #TeamDarkSkin vs #TeamLightSkin battle is that no one is actually keeping score. Hell, there aren’t even team captains, which is essential for establishing the players and winner.
So we’re here to help with a recap of the battlefield during 2013. We’ve got the team captains, they’ll pick the players and explain why their team had a better year. Play ball.
Team Captain: Mr. LXXXVII
Coming off of a successful 2012 where his rise to prominence in pop culture only increased, Kevin Hart’s second wave hit shores forcefully in 2013. In 2012 Hart hosted the VMAs, won Best Actor honors at the 2012 BET awards, and was selected as the MVP of the 2012 NBA Celebrity game – Hart would follow this up by winning the MVP again in 2013 despite being ejected for “misconduct” late in the game. 2012 proved to be a great year for Hart that resulted in his own comedy series on BET at the top of 2013 titled “Real Husbands of Hollywood.” The show featured a star-studded cast including Duane Martin, JB Smoove, Nick Cannon, Nelly, and Boris Kodjoe, with cameos by Shaq, Cedric The Entertainer, and Chris Rock, just to name a few. Hart also hosted SNL in March.
To close out the year, Chocolate Droppa released his feature length comedy special “Let Me Explain,” stared alongside Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro in “Grudge Match,” and had ads everywhere for his upcoming film “Ride Along.” Proving to also be a hilarious pitch man, he even closed the year out with next pick LeBron James in a new Samsung Galaxy campaign where the two show their skills…so to speak…on the golf course.
LeBron, recently chosen as the Associated Press Athlete of the Year, saw his stampede of success only continue into 2013. Winning his second straight NBA title enabled him to also reign in his second straight NBA Finals MVP award as well. To close out his 2012-2013 NBA season he also pulled in a number of honors; his fourth NBA regular season MVP award, selected for his ninth All Star appearance, seventh NBA All Team First Team selection, fifth NBA All Defensive Team selection, and named the NBA’s most popular player for the second time in his career. On top of his athletic prowess he has also been the face of a number of campaigns including Beats by Dre, Samsung Galaxy, and a successful line of footwear and apparel products with Nike. Lebron was everywhere this year, collecting trophies and checks along the way.
After making his rounds in the amateur ranks in prior years, skateboarder Ishod Wair saw his efforts culminate with his selection as Thrasher Magazine’s 2013 Skateboarder of the Year. His march to prominence began with a series of contest wins including Tampa Am, the South Africa leg of the Maloof Money Cup, and being selected as a member of Team Koston in the fifth installment of The Berrics: Battle At The Berrics. He was also featured in number of videos, notably, for his board sponsor Real Skateboards and Nike SB’s latest video “SB Chronicles 2.”
His talents have also helped him acquire a laundry list of sponsors including Nike SB, Real Skateboards, Thunder Trucks, Spitfire Wheels, Fourstar, Stance Socks, Reign, Monster Energy, Brick Harbor Europe, and Mob Griptape. With the talents he possesses, and a knack for the spectacular, Ishod is sure to be, if not already, one of the pillars that will keep the house of skating standing in years to come.
With an ascension that began around 2011, Rocky has reached a bit of a plateau, but only because 2013 saw him at his coziest. Reclaiming and reinventing the abbreviation A$AP he and his mob of uptown cohorts with a downtown aesthetic have risen to prominence in the realm of rap and rap inspired fashion. This was proven when industry heavyweight Drake brought Rocky, new bastion of the East Coast trill, and West Coast savior Kendrick Lamar, along for his 2012 “Club Paradise” tour. Rocky followed this up by releasing LONG.LIVE.A$AP. which debuted at number one on Billboard’s charts at the very top of 2013.
Rocky established himself as the new cool and added another major notch to his belt when Rihanna brought him along on her 2013 “Diamonds” tour. As A$AP’s most prominent flag bearer, Rocky has established himself and opened the door for the rest of the mob – Nast, Twelvyy, Ant, and Ferg – and they have all subsequently emerged.
Proving that he isn’t merely a one-trick-pony, Rocky also stepped into the director’s chair, producing under the alias Lord Flacko, and became a cultural and controversial fashion icon. He was also linked to an array of ladies ranging from Rihanna to Kathy Griffin. Despite some legal pitfalls, he has made a major mark on the masses and the youth here in America and abroad, indicative of his aesthetic and sonic influence. In addition to aforementioned success he has also collaborated with Swizz Beatz for a Best Buy campaign as well as being the inspiration for Jeremy Scotts’ latest edition of Adidas Wings series.
Signing a deal at the top of 2013, Ferg would put his foot in the door with “Work” and for the rest of the year, do his best to keep that foot on necks. Emerging from the streets of Harlem, Ferg was already a member of direct hip hop lineage – his father was a graphic artist in the ’90s for a number of hip hop’s most prominent labels and stars – and would solidify his reign as the Hood Pope.
After a number of popular singles in 2012 and 2013, Ferg’s buzz and following grew immensely culminating with the August release of his highly anticipated debut aptly named Trap Lord. With an accompanying BAPE celebratory collaboration in support of his album’s release, it was evident that Ferg’s reach extended past the streets of Harlem and shores of America. Pulling in guest appearances from the likes of Onyx, B-Real, and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony Trap Lord may have been one of the most unique rap releases of 2013.