It was the 25th anniversary of one of America's most important civil rights events, the death of Emmett Till. He was murdered after allegedly acknowledging a white woman in a shop in Mississippi. When the woman's husband heard about the liaison he went with some friends and tortured then murdered Emmett. The men were acquitted by an all-white jury due to the apparent lack of evidence.
Nationalist leader Robert Mugabe won a sweeping election victory to become Zimbabwe's first black prime minister.
Unemployment in the UK had reached almost two million.
Everyone goes dance crazy when the release of the film Fame starts the leg warmer craze.
Eddie Murphy made his comic debut on Saturday Night Live.
Kicker shoes, Fruit of the Loom t-shirts and stone washed, & paint splattered straight jeans were cool.
The mighty Jesse Owens died. The quadruple gold medal winner at the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin made him one of the best remembered of all Olympic athletes.
Bob Marley and the Wailers returned to Africa as official guests of the State. They performed at Zimbabwe's Independence festival. Marley called the event the "greatest honour of my life". This trip highlighted the Wailers importance in the Developing World.
In London, the first ever black music radio station, Dread Broadcasting Corporation, began. Initially set up as a reggae station on a medium wave transmitter, it quickly grew and became an FM station playing music like soca, soul, funk and African flavours. The team of DJs included the likes of Neneh Cherry and BBC London's Ranking Miss P.
In the USA Kurtis Blow was the first rapper to sign and release a record on a major record label. He released The Breaks on Mercury Records which went on to sell more than one million copies - becoming a certified gold release. He was also the first to embark on a national and international tour; and the first to cement rap's mainstream marketability by signing an endorsement deal. He was also the first hip hop artist to appear on national TV when he performed The Breaks on Soul Train.
Blondie released Rapture after meeting Fab 5 Freddy. Lead singer Debbie Harry did the rap with lyrics about "the man from mars eating cars" but the novelty helped the song become a hit. It became the first US No 1 hit song to feature a rap.
Also in the US, record producer Quincy Jones received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.