Britain's record on race relations was harshly criticised by the UN. They condemned the number of non-whites who suffered police brutality, high black unemployment, under-representation of ethnic minorities in politics, the army, the police, and the large number of black children expelled from schools. The government later signed up to a common EU plan to combat racism after negotiating an opt-out that freed it from an obligation to criminalise certain forms of racist behaviour.
Mike Tyson defeated Frank Bruno to take the WBC title. The referee stopped the fight in Las Vegas in the third round. It was Bruno's first defence of the title he'd won on 2nd September 1995.
549 people died, many of them school children, when an overloaded Tanzanian ferry capsized and sank on Lake Victoria. 114 people were rescued.
TV programme Black Britain was screened on the BBC. It reflected the lives and experiences of the UK's black population and was billed as the BBC's first programme specifically for black viewers.
The MOBOs launch and are shown on Channel 4. The awards (for Music of Black Origin) brought a much-needed emphasis to the achievements of black music and artists. In the first year Goldie won two, the Fugees won two and Jazzie B received one for Outstanding Contribution to black music.
President Nelson Mandela came to Britain. It was the first state visit by a South African President. He did a walkabout with Prince Charles in Brixton, south London and was mobbed by thousands of people. Mandela addressed tens of thousands of people in Trafalgar Square from the balcony of South Africa House. He also appointed Judge Ismail Mohomed as South Africa's first black Chief Justice.
Carl Lewis won Olympic gold in the long jump for the fourth successive time at the Atlanta games. Michael Johnson completed a unique Olympic double by winning the 200m and 400m.
John Taylor became the first black Tory life peer. This 43 year old lawyer took his seat in the House of Lords as Lord Taylor of Warwick.
When We Were Kings, a documentary about the 1974 boxing match in Zaire between Muhammed Ali and George Foreman, went on general release. It won the director, Leon Gast, an Oscar for Best Documentary.
Tupac Shakur was murdered, sending shockwaves through the global hip hop community. He was fatally wounded after being shot on his way to a club after a Mike Tyson fight in Las Vegas. No one has ever been convicted of his murder.
Recently divorced from Lisa Marie Presley, Michael Jackson married Debbie Rowe, his 37-year-old nurse, at a secret ceremony in Sydney. Just ten days prior to the marriage Jackson had announced that Rowe was six months pregnant with his child. By the end of 1999 they had divorced.
London’s garage scene started making waves. It began by UK DJs playing US garage instrumentals pitched up, then evolved into a distinct sound. The older, dressy and champagne-fuelled image of UK garage soon gained national exposure when tracks like Armand Van Helden’s mix of Tori Amos broke into the UK charts. The name ‘speed garage’ was soon imposed on the scene.
Jungle got dark and mechanical, revived by DJ Trace’s groundbreaking Mutant Jazz remix that was on this years’ Emotif compilation Techsteppin’. The Metalheadz club night was going strong, breaking anthems like Adam F’s Metropolis and Doc Scott’s Shadow Boxing.
The Fugees went global with their album The Score. Fusing conscious lyrics with irresistible hooks, hits like Killing Me Softly and Ready Or Not made stars out of Pras, Wyclef Jean and Lauryn Hill. Proof that there was a big market for hip hop.
Snoop Doggy Dogg and his bodyguard are acquitted of first degree murder. The jury deadlocks on voluntary manslaughter charges and a mistrial is declared.
Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men’s collaboration, One Sweet Day, finally left the US No.1 slot after 16 weeks. It is the longest consecutive stay at No.1 in Billboard history.
Having enjoyed massive success taking hip hop to the commercial mainstream, MC Hammer filed for bankruptcy. His taste for the glamorous lifestyle had outstripped his income and his career would never recover.
Jay-Z drops his first album in 1996, called Reasonable Doubt. This would become a platform to dominate rap music in the late 1990s and beyond.