This year, the Sentinel featured many articles and some extraordinary people stood out. Some stood out for their stand for justice, some made an impression with infamy and other rose to the spotlight pursuing their passion. Here are some of the Top People of 2017.
The movement that the former 49ers quarterback continued long after he went into free agency before the 2017 season. No teams offered Kaepernick a contract, causing African Americans to boycott the NFL. After Donald Trump made divisive comments about the National Anthem protests, multitudes of NFL players began knelling and protesting during the National Anthem. Through it all, Kaepernick continued to donate money to organizations; he ultimately became the GQ Humanitarian of the Year and won the Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy award.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters has been fighting for Black America since the beginning of her political career. As the co-chair of the congressional task force on Alzheimer’s disease, she along with Congressman Chris Smith, introduced the Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Act and the Alzheimer’s Research Semi postal Stamp Act in recognition of Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. In early October, Congresswoman Waters unveiled, The Megabank Accountability and Consequences Act. The bill was created in effort to rein in financial institutions that have track records for harming consumers. Late this year, Auntie Maxine, as she is dubbed by Black America, was recognized as ‘Woman of the Year’ by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. Auntie Maxine’s entire political platform has been dedicated to speaking and standing up for Black people. At age 79, she has zero plans to slow down!
The city of Inglewood has and is making big moves. From the L.A. Rams and the L.A. Chargers, to recent talks about the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, and the building of a state-of-the-art stadium. All of these phenomena things that have taken place have happened under the leadership of the city’s mayor James Butts. The Inglewood mayor has taken part in increasing the number of jobs for Inglewood residents resulting in city’s the unemployment rate dropping 12 percent, one of the lowest in the state of California. During 2012 and 2017 property value has increased by 102 percent. Looking back at his accomplishments in law enforcement and throughout his career in public office, Butt’s views community pride as the legacy of Inglewood.
Tabay Atkins is the youngest certified yoga teacher in America having practiced yoga since he was just six-years-old. When he was 10, he asked to get his certification to become a yoga instructor. Atkins was inspired by his mother, Sahel Anvarinejad, who started practicing yoga as a part of her recovery from stage 3 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Now at 11, he teaches three classes a week at Care4Yoga studio in San Clemente, California.
The proud father and entrepreneur became famous for vocalizing his opinions of his sons: Lonzo, LiAngelo, and LaMelo Ball. Telling the world that his sons can outplay NBA Champion Steph Curry and talking about LeBron James’ son made him controversial. Ball furthered his company Big Baller Brand with the release of its first shoe ZO2 Prime Remix for $495. “My boys have been working hard at this ever since they’ve been babies,” Ball said to the Sentinel. “So it ain’t nothing new for me.” The lives of the Ball family was showcased through their Facebook reality show series “Ball in the Family,” which was released in August 2017.
He was the center of one of the most watched and infamous trials in history. Former NFL star, O.J. Simpson, was released this year after serving nine years of a 33-year sentence for a Las Vegas kidnapping and armed robbery. Simpson’s freedom comes with some limitations: the Nevada parole board forbids parolees from associating with ex-convicts and people who engage in criminal activity and he can’t consume large amounts of alcohol, or be in the possession of guns or drugs. According to Simpson’s parole release plan he will reside in Las Vegas, Nevada but it was rumored that Simpson had plans to move to Florida where two of his children live.
The ESPN personality, along with her former “His and Hers” co-host, Michael Smith, were promoted to become co-hosts of the 6:00 PM EST edition of Sports Center in February. In September, Hill sent out a tweet calling Donald Trump a white Supremist. Her comments on Twitter caused Trump’s press secretary to demand her to be fired. After Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones detested NFL players’ national anthem protest, Hill took to Twitter again to suggest a financial protest against Jones’ advertisers. The tweets caused Hill to be suspended from ESPN for two weeks. Many celebrities, including Common and Ava DuVernay, rallied to her cause with the hashtags #IStandWithJemele and #IStandWithJemeleHill
Veteran comedian returned to her role as Nekeisha for the final season of “The Carmichael Show.” Haddish gained national attention for her breakout movie role in blockbuster film “Girls Trip,” acting alongside Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and Queen Latifah. The comedy movie with a $19 million production budget made well over $100 million both in the U.S. and globally. In November, Haddish hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live. Haddish also became an author, penning her memoir “The Last Black Unicorn.”
Wife of reigning NBA champion Steph Curry made strides on the television screen with the second season of her cooking show “Ayesha’s Home Kitchen.” Curry also opened a restaurant in San Francisco called International Smoke and released a line of cookware this year. The cookbook author was set to co-host “The Great American Cooking Show” with former NFL player Anthony “Spice” Adams, but the show was cancelled due to sexual harassment allegations on a chef-judge on the show.
On December 13, 2017 the resignation of Omarosa Manigault-Newman was announced from the White House, effective January 20, 2018. The United States Secret Service did not deny reports that Manigault-Newman had been forcibly removed from the White House grounds on December 12, but stated the agency was not involved in the termination process or escorting/removing Manigault-Newman from the complex. The Secret Service’s only involvement in the matter was to deactivate Manigault-Newman’s access pass. CNN White House correspondent April Ryan reported that White House Chief of Staff, John F. Kelly, fired Manigault-Newman, but Manigault-Newman disputed the account, stating that she resigned.
Hyundai’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion Zafar Brooks, was instrumental in joining the auto giant with Taste of Soul (TOS) this year. With Brooks’ involvement, two lucky winners drove home in a brand new Hyundai Sonata, as part of a contest that implored participants to express how they are helpful in their communities. Brooks said he had been long inspired by Danny Bakewell Sr. and all that he does for the community through TOS.