I was born four months into what I consider the most turbulent and retractive decade for Black people in America. Empty promises by public and political representatives (from both parties), an influx of drugs into our communities which led to mass incarcerations of our black males, the recognition of HIV by the CDC, and the demonizing of our black males on a nightly basis throughout the globe by local and national media outlets. All of which made for a decade, that for the most part of the decade of the 80’s, one that should soon be forgotten. Unfortunately, the ramification of the 80’s continues to cast a dark shadow economically, socially, psychologically, and for many Black Americans physically. Despite the many individual accomplishments from entertainment figure such as Bill Cosby and Oprah Winfrey; as a group we fared less than favorable when compared to our counterparts. While it may sound as if I am crying over spilled milk, which goes against the nature and fabric of my being and what I am made of, it does however gives credence to the level of determination and will to make something out of nothing from the generation that came from the 80’s decade. A decade consisted of extreme highs and catastrophic lows. But if were born in the 80’s, and you are still maintaining your sanity, then you my friends are the definition of a success.
To be honest I can remember when I first became aware of the crack epidemic and how it changed everything from the people, the community, and the whole dynamic of the family structure. It was as if a flash bomb was detonated and everyone became a victim of the crack-epidemic in some form or fashion. You either you knew someone on crack, friends and family members alike championed crack as the new entrepreneurial enterprise, or you became overly familiar with individuals with crack head like behavior. I witnessed individuals in my own family go from having everything one can desire to selling it all for a few moments of pleasure. On the flip side of things; I saw family members go from not having nothing to acquiring everything. And, FYI I do not condone the selling of narcotics; however, that is a topic that I am sure to explore at a later date. That was the 80’s and what I remember first hand. Of course, there were some fascinating events that happened during those times as well. The crumbling of The Berlin Wall as well as Jesse Jackson presidential campaign. Then there were the more tragic events. The one that I remember more vividly is the Challenger Explosion of 1986. Perhaps it was because we witnessed it live from the warm confines of my elementary class. Or perhaps it was the fact that like everything else around me, the unexpected seemed to be looming just over the horizon. Yet, all was not lost. Because out of all the chaos associated with that era; greatness was inevitable. I’m an 80’s baby.
Michael Jackson released “Thriller” which cemented his stance as the Globe’s greatest entertainer. Run DMC released “Walked This Way” which instantly made them a global icon and help to bring Hip Hop to the masses. Nike releases Air Jordan 1 (who knew that this was going to be as big as it is today). Microsoft introduces Windows. The Cosby Show Debuts. The first commercial cell phone is introduced. Rubik Cube is unveiled at the World’s Toy Fair. The Simpson’s debut. And perhaps most important of all; Pac-Man is released. While these may sound non-consequential to some; these inventions and accomplishments made the turbulent decade of the 80’s at least tolerable. So if you are a 80’s baby don’t feel that bad; you could have been born in the 90’s. Imagine that.