New York City Mayor Eric Adams, the city’s second Black mayor, was sworn in right after the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve in Times Square. Alvin Bragg was sworn in as Manhattan’s first Black district attorney. Sidney Poitier, groundbreaking actor and diplomat, died at 94. Prosecutors dropped groping charges against former Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Disney’s Colombia-inspired “Encanto” was a top grossing film with infectious lyrics and songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Councilmember Adrienne Eadie Adams was elected to be the first Black person to serve as City Council speaker.
A new COVID-19 variant known as Omicron exploded nationwide causing another pandemic frenzy. Over a dozen lives were lost in the Twin Parks Towers Northeast apartment fire in the Bronx. There was a huge outpouring of grief at the fire victims’ funeral. Famed Poet Maya Angelou became the first Black woman on a U.S. coin. American jazz and R&B musician, songwriter and record producer James Mtume died at 76. The New York City’s pandemic-era eviction moratorium expired with housing advocates scrambling for more time. Celebrated Tuskegee Airman Charles McGee died at 102. Black TV shows “Harder They Fall” and “Insecure” along with music artist H.E.R. nabbed NAACP awards nominations. A series of horrific shootings of cops and civilians occurred, including an 11-month-old baby girl who was hit in the face by a stray bullet and the shooting deaths of NYPD Police Officers Jason Rivera and Officer Wilbert Mora.
Regina King’s son, Ian Alexander Jr., committed suicide at age 26 and former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst committed suicide at 30, prompting in-depth discussions about the alarming rise of suicide among Black youth. Trial began for former police officer Derek Chauvin and the cops accused of murdering George Floyd in 2020. The judge rejected a plea deal for the men who killed Ahmaud Arbery. Inflamed tensions surrounding critical race theory led to the banning of Black authors in schools, libraries and prisons.
President Joe Biden geared up to nominate Ketanji Onyika Brown Jackson as the first Black woman to the Supreme Court. Master of style and Vogue editor André Leon Talley died at 73. Bomb threats were made to historically Black schools (HBCUs) across the country. Barbadian singer, actress and businesswoman Rihanna announced pregnancy with boyfriend A$AP Rocky.