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Banner - Black History Month October '05
Mr T
What happened in 1983:
  • Compact discs began to sell in high street stores but most serious record collectors dismissed them as a passing fad like the eight track.

  • The UK singles chart started to use electronic terminals in selected stores to gather sales information.

  • Alice Walker won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for her novel about a young poor black girl, The Colour Purple.

  • Scarface was released at the box office, starring Al Pacino as a vicious Cuban drug lord. His power and aggression was to prove an inspiration to hip hop MCs for decades to come.

  • The cult series The A Team premiered on TV. The show would only be made for four years but was destined to be re-run for another 20. It featured Mr T playing the part of hard-man B.A. Baracus who knew how to floss the gold chains.

  • No Problem! begins on Channel Four. As well as being Channel Four's first UK black sitcom it was also their first British-made sitcom. Its cast were members of the Black Theatre Co-operative which staged plays and included Judith Jacob and Victor Romero Evans. Set in Willesden Green, it was about the grown up Powell children after their parents had returned to Jamaica. The comedy dealt with their lives and ambitions from modelling to running a pirate radio station.

  • Technics introduced the first SL-1200 MK11 turntable. Precise, responsive and indestructible, it was to become the undisputed DJ standard for 20 years.

  • The acclaimed American jazz musician Earl 'Fatha' Hines died aged 77. He was credited with severing jazz piano from its ragtime origins and inventing the trumpet piano style. In doing so he turned the piano into a solo instrument.

  • Vanessa Williams became the first black Miss America. The 20-year-old drama student was the first black American to win the competition since they were allowed to compete in 1951. The competition began in 1921. Before 1983 only two black contestants had made it to the final.

In the music:
  • Motown's 25th Anniversary aired on TV. The star-studded event included reunions of Diana Ross and the Supremes and the Jackson 5. Michael performed his infamous moonwalk. It became the season's top rated music special and won an Emmy for outstanding music program.

  • Diana Ross performed in NYC's Central Park in the pouring rain.

  • Run DMC released their debut single It's Like That/Sucker MCs. Run DMC were the first group to take hip hop to the mainstream. They were the first to be on the cover of Rolling Stone and the first to have a video played on MTV.

  • Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five released the anti-drug anthem White Lines.

  • New Edition released Candy Girl, which topped the US RnB chart. Featuring future solo-star and Whitney Houston-husband Bobby Brown, the group pioneered the fusion of hip hop and RnB to be called new jack swing.

Notable releases:
  • Urban Dance Floor Guerillas - P-Funk All Stars
  • Can't Slow Down - Lionel Richie
  • All Night Long (All Night) - Lionel Richie
  • Beat It - Michael Jackson
  • Billie Jean - Michael Jackson
  • 1999 - Prince
  • Say, Say, Say - Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney
  • White Lines - Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
  • Candy Girl - Edition
Grammy awards:
  • Thriller - Michael Jackson (3 Grammys)
  • Beat It - Michael Jackson (2 Grammys)
  • Billie Jean - Michael Jackson (2 Grammys)
  • Ain't Nobody - Rufus & Chaka Khan - (2 Grammys)
Banner - Black History Month October 2004

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