2021 Year-in-Review

Without fear or favor, African-American News&Issues has not backed down from bringing you thought-provoking commentary and in-your-face breakdowns on national and local news. Here are some of the biggest headlines for 2021, and for complete coverage on any of these topics, visit AframNews.com.

Troy Finner sworn in

 On April 5, Troy Finner was sworn in as the new Cief of the Houston Police Department. Finner, who was born in Houston’s Fifth Ward and grew up in Hiram Clarke, has been with HPD for more than three decades, working his way through the ranks from patrol officer.

Astroworld Festival tragedy:

On November 5, a fatal crowd crush occurred during the first night of the 2021 Astroworld Festival, a music event founded by Missouri City rapper Travis Scott that was held at NRG Park. Ten people all under the age of 30 died.  The youngest victim was only 9 years old. Twenty-five people were hospitalized, and more than 300 people were treated for injuries at the festival’s field hospital.


On January 6, the nation was left with mouths agape as “Make America Great Again” MAGA and GOP supporters stormed the U. S. Capitol, scaling the walls, breaking into official government offices, destroying property, fighting with police officers – even resulting in some deaths – all while “protesting” the win of Joe Biden over former President Donald Trump. The infamous “insurrectionist” attack will forever be stamped in history.


On January 20, President Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, and Kamala Harris, making history, was sworn in as Vice President.  Harris is the first woman, and the first woman of color – being of Black and South Asian descent – to hold the office.

Amanda Gorman

Amanda Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history recites “The Hill We Climb” at the inauguration ceremony of President Joe Biden.

Derek Chauvin / Murder of George Floyd Trial:

Former police officer Derek Chauvin is found guilty of the murder of former Jack Yates High Scholl alum George Floyd by kneeling on Floyd’s neck. Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison.

 Bill Cosby released from prison:

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court overruled Bill Cosby’s assault conviction on June 30, 2021 after a previous prosecutor failed to convict him, leaving him open to give self-incriminating statements.

R. Kelly found guilty

After more than 25 years of accusations and a federal court trial in New York that lasted seven weeks, R&B singer R. Kelly has been found guilty of charges including sexual exploitation of a child, bribery, racketeering and sex trafficking involving five victims. Kelly faces a possible sentence of 10 years to life in prison. He is expected to be sentenced in May 2022.


On June 15, The Juneteenth National Independence Day Act was signed into law, making Juneteenth a federal holiday.

Simone Biles:

World renowned gymnast Simone Biles withdraws from 2021 Tokyo Olympics for mental health puts the challenges athletes face under the spotlight changing the world of athletics forever.

Murder of Ahmad Arbery Trial:

 Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael, and William Bryan were sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Ahmad Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man shot to death while jogging in a neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia.

Kyle Rittenhouse Trial:

Then 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse fatally shot two BLM protestors in Kenosha, Wisconsin on August 25, 2020. Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all charges during trial in November 2021.

Zaila Avant Garde wins Scripps National Spelling Bee

On June 9, Zaila Avant Garde became the first Black American contestant to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee in the institution’s almost 100 year history.

Naomi Osaka

Global tennis champion Naomi Osaka stood for her mental health and shocked the world after resigning from multiple championships to care for herself. Along with Biles, Osaka is a figurehead in a movement against the intense public scrutiny of athletes.

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October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit www.edwardsforhouston.com

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

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