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Here Are Our Top 8 Because Of Them We Can Moments Of 2018

Here Are Our Top 8 Because Of Them We Can Moments Of 2018

This year, we continued to use our platform to highlight Black history, excellence, positive news and feel good stories. As we remain committed to this task going into the new year, we'd like to reflect on our top 8 Because of Them We Can moments of 2018. Check them out below. 

1. We kicked off Black History Month with our CNN inspired video of kids reporting that Black excellence is at an all-time high. Definitely deserves a rewatch. 

2. "Black Panther" (and Wakanda) was finally introduced to the world and continued to break record after record. 

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Long live the King! "Black Panther" now holds the record for the biggest opening day of 2018 at the U.K. box office, pulling in nearly $4 million in one day. Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther” scored the biggest opening day this year thus far in the U.K. and Irish box office. According to “The Guardian,” the film “pulled in £2.67m (almost $3.77 million) on its opening day on 13 February, Disney said, delivering the highest-grossing single day at the U.K. box office this year." This news comes about a month after the film unseated "Captain America: Civil War" to become Fandango's best-selling Marvel movie in the first 24 hours of ticket pre-sales. We have feeling that this is only the beginning of "Black Panther's" record-breaking streak at the box-office. #blackpanther #blackexcellence #alltimehigh

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3. Shea Moisture founder Richelieu Dennis purchased Madam C.J. Walker's 34- room mansion and made plans to turn it into a training center for Black women entrepreneurs. 

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After @RichelieuDennis, the founder of Sundial Brands (makers of brands such as Shea Moisture and Nubian Heritage) bought Essence Magazine to make it 100% Black-owned again, he announced a $100 million fund for women of color entrepreneurs because he believes "Black women need access, support, expertise and capital." ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Now, to take it one step further, the Essence Ventures CEO wants to help train Black women entrepreneurs - and what better place to do it than where a pioneering Black woman entrepreneur once lived? Turns out, Dennis purchased Madam C.J. Walker's 34-room mansion, Villa Lewaro, in Irvington, New York. The historic estate was designed by Black architect Vertner Woodson Tandy and often used as a meeting place for the leading lights of the Harlem Renaissance. Dennis now wants it to be a meeting place for Black women entrepreneurs, more specifically a retreat and training center “designed to support Black women entrepreneurs in their efforts to turn their ideas into flourishing enterprises,” reports the Hudson Independent. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ According to the newspaper, "Irvington has only just passed a new zoning law that permits adaptive reuse of registered historical buildings for non-residential purposes, including schools, tours and certain kinds of events." Dennis took this as an opportunity to present Irvington’s board of trustees with his plans for Villa Lewaro on Monday during a public meeting. Click the link in our profile to read full story. #fortheculture #becauseofthemwecan

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4. Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald's official portraits of our Forever President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were released during Black History Month. 

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Have you seen the Obama’s official portraits by the talented @KehindeWiley and @ASherald? Back in October, the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery announced that Barack and Michelle Obama handpicked Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald to paint their official portraits, making them the first Black artists to be commissioned to paint a presidential couple for the National Portrait Gallery. On Monday morning, the Obamas unveiled Wiley and Sherald's work at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, and as expressed by Michelle Obama, they were "overwhelmed." "I'm thinking of all the girls of color who will come and see someone who looks like them hanging on the wall of this great American Institution," said Michelle Obama during the ceremony. “And I know the kind of impact that will have on their lives, because I was one of those girls." Wiley is a New York-based visual artist known for implementing western ideals of style in his hyperrealist portraits of urban Black and brown men against floral backgrounds, and Sherald, an up-and-coming Baltimore-based artist known for using gray skin tones for her subjects, as well as painting cultured portraits of Black women. #blackexcellence #alltimehigh #becauseofthemwecan

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 5. Michelle Obama met Parker Curry (the little girl who was awestruck by her official portrait that hangs in the National Portrait Gallery). 

6. LeBron James turned his dream of opening a school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio into a reality. 

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Today’s the big day! LeBron James is opening a new public school for at-risk children in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ "The jitters before the first day of school are real right now!!! (Today) is going to be one of the greatest moments (if not the greatest) of my life when we open the I PROMISE School. This skinny kid from Akron who missed 83 days of school in the 4th grade had big dreams. Big dreams for the kids in Akron to give them everything they could need to find their passion, give back to our community and change the world!! This school is that. The people are that. Akron is that."-LeBron James ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This year, the school is set to have 240 third and fourth graders, and is expected to expand every year by adding second and fifth grade next year. It's projected to have grades 1-8 by 2022. LeBron, we salute you for continuing to use your platform to invest in the futures of children who look like you. Happy Opening Day! #blackexcellence #backtoschool #becauseofthemwecan

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7. Pioneering NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson returned to her alma mater of West Virginia State University a day before her 100th birthday for the unveiling of her very own statue.

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Today, pioneering NASA mathematician, Katherine Johnson, returned to her alma mater of West Virginia State University for the unveiling of her very own statue. Tomorrow, she’ll celebrate her 100th birthday. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ "What makes Katherine so extraordinary is she not only prevailed while segregation failed, Doctor Johnson has continued to persevere and thrive with the gracious poise and clarity that defies mere words of explanation, let alone definition," said NASA astronaut Dr. Yvonne Cagle, who was the keynote speaker for the unveiling ceremony. "So what can you say after a century, about someone like Dr. Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson — our very own global, global genius? Let's see — you say nothing. You don't say anything. You listen." ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ A scholarship was also named in Johnson’s honor. It will be endowed by the university for $100,000 and will award students majoring in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) areas. Photo credit/via: F. Brian Ferguson/@wvstateu #katherinejohnson #hiddennomore #becauseofthemwecan

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 8. And for our final top moment, we launched Because of Them We Can Box, a monthly subscription box of Black history and excellence for kids. 

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We started Because of Them We Can five years ago to counter the images and stories in the media that painted Black people in a negative light. That was in 2013 and Barack Obama was our president. .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The need to counter these narratives and their impact is far greater today than it was back then. . ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ More than viral videos or content, we wanted to create something that will have a lasting impact on the trajectory of young people. So... we spent the last year surveying parents and teachers and kids and community leaders in order to develop the @BOTWCBox for kids. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ . Each month highlights a unique person, movement or organization through exclusive Because of Them We Can apparel items, educational activities and props. Children ages 5-12 will transform as they learn about history makers, past and present, and celebrate their history and excellence in a fun and engaging way! .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The hottest box of the year will launch on November 30th and ships just in time for Christmas with a special gift for parents! . ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Visit BOTWCBox.com or hit the link in our profile to be first in line when we launch! #becauseofthemwecan #botwcbox

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 Cheers to celebrating even more Black excellence in the new year. Happy 2019!