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Reflecting on the top photos of the past 12 months is no easy task considering everything that happened this year.

From the nonstop political drama in Washington to a spike in mass shootings to unrestrained police departments raging out of control, the news gushed from the faucet of current events as if there was a water main break.

All of that made it tougher to choose which photos to showcase.

Of course, there are photos that are a given when it comes to most indelible images of the year.

Simone Biles, for instance, who dominated her craft to inimitable proportions — like having a gymnastics move named for her and winning yet another world championship on her way to becoming the most decorated gymnast of all time.

Or R. Kelly and the saga that has been his official fall from grace with 2019 delivering the apparent final nail in his career’s coffin.

And there’s no way we can ignore the fact that President Donald Trump was impeached in a potential game-changer for the American people, with polls showing that more Americans than not want him removed from office.

The number of topics NewsOne covered this year reached the thousands.

To help whittle down the number of photos of the year to a manageable amount, we decided to base the pictures’ criteria on one factor: which news stories were most popular this year among NewsOne’s readers.

We have analytic tools that help tell us which stories are gaining the most traction with readers — how many shares, retweets, page views, comments, etc. that any given story got in 2019.

Based on those levels of interest from the readers, we found the best photos associated with the most popular stories of the year to help inform which images we’d include on the list this year.

So sit back and scroll down to take a trip down memory lane of the past 12 months and reminisce by way of some of the most jarring and startling and overall awesome photos that were taken in 2019 and attached to NewsOne’s coverage.

1. HBCU marching bands lead the 130th Rose Parade

130th Rose Parade Presented By Honda "The Melody Of Life" Source:Getty

An Alabama State Marching Hornets tuba player was a member of two HBCU bands marching in the 130th Rose Parade on Jan. 1 in Pasadena, California. The Florida A&M University Marching 100 was the other one.

Alabama State became the first HBCU to have the distinction of leading the nationally televised and celebrated parade.

2. Women’s March

Women's March 2019 - Washington, DC Source:Getty

Pictured from left: Yandy Smith, Tamika Mallory and Jamila Davis attend Women’s March 2019 at Freedom Plaza on Jan. 19 in Washington, D.C.

3. Kamala Harris runs for president

Kamala Harris Launches Presidential Campaign In Her Hometown Of Oakland Source:Getty

California Sen. Kamala Harris became the first and only Black woman to run for president in the 2020 race when she declared her candidacy at a campaign launch rally in Frank H. Ogawa Plaza in Oakland on Jan. 27.

Twenty thousand people turned out to see the Oakland native launch her presidential campaign in front of Oakland City Hall.

4. Nick Sandmann

Who could forget the group of all-white MAGA hat-wearing teenagers from Covington Catholic Hugh School in Kentucky and their visit to the Lincoln Memorial, where they faced off against a Native American elder and appeared to taunt him?

The episode quickly went viral and turned into a classic case of white privilege as the teenager and his powerful family mounted an ultimately unsuccessful legal effort against news outlets that covered the clear-cut case of racism and white supremacy in the nation’s capital.

5. Cory Booker announces his presidential bid

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) Announces Presidential Bid Source:Getty

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker declared his candidacy during a press conference in Newark on Feb. 1, the first day of Black History Month.

6. Ralph Northam exposed for wearing blackface

Also on the first day of Black History Month, a photo was made public purportedly showing Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam wearing blackface.

While he denied he was in the photo that appeared on his medical school yearbook page, he did admit to previously wearing blackface during a costume contest where he said he dressed as Michael Jackson.

7. Justin Fairfax is accused

Democratic Leadership Of Virginia Surrounded In Controvesy After Racists Photos And Sexual Assault Allegations Surface Source:Getty

Nearly overnight after the Northam blackface scandal broke, Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax was accused by a woman of sexually assaulting her nearly 20 years earlier. Another woman would ultimately claim he did the same to her around the same time.

Fairfax has maintained his innocence all year long and was expected to launch his own bid for governor to succeed Northam, with whom he had a reported falling out after the scandals broke nearly simultaneously.

Pictured: Fairfax presides over the Senate at the Virginia State Capitol, Feb. 7 in Richmond.

8. Kristoff St. John dies

'The Beatles LOVE By Cirque du Soleil' Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary At The Mirage In Las Vegas Source:Getty

Kristoff St. John, who starred in the popular soap opera “Young & the Restless” as Neil Winters, was found dead on Feb. 3. He was just 52 years old.

Pictured: St. John is shown attending the 10th anniversary celebration of ‘The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil’ at the Mirage Hotel & Casino on July 14, 2016 in Las Vegas.

9. Stacey Abrams delivers Democrats response to Trump’s State of the Union

Stacey Abrams State of the Union Democrats response Source:NBC News screenshot

Failed gubernatorial bid be damned in 2018, Stacey Abrams’ bright political light continued to shine in many ways in 2019.

Pictured: Abrams was chosen by Democratic leadership to deliver her party’s response to Trump’s State of the Union address on Feb. 5.

10. 21 Savage is arrested by immigration police

21 Savage Police Booking Photo Source:Getty

21 Savage is shown being booked in this handout photo provided by the Liberty County Sheriffs Office after his arrest on felony charges of Theft by Deception on Feb. 15 in Hinesville, Georgia. The charges stemmed from a 2016 concert booking where 21 Savage was reportedly paid USD 17,000 but never performed.

This is not his mugshot from his Feb. 3 arrest by ICE, which said the rapper whose real name is Shayaabin Abraham-Joseph is actually a United Kingdom citizen who entered the US legally in July 2005 as a minor. He failed to leave this country under the terms of his nonimmigrant visa. Consequently, his presence in the U.S. has been unlawful since his visa expired in July 2006.

He was ultimately released on bond after a week in jail.

11. Jussie Smollett accused of arranging his own beating

Bond Hearing Held For Actor Jussie Smollett After Disorderly Conduct Charge Source:Getty

Actor Jussie Smollett is shown leaving Cook County jail after posting bond on Feb. 21 in Chicago for allegedly arranging a homophobic, racist attack against himself in an apparent attempt to raise his profile because he was dissatisfied with his salary on the primetime soap opera, “Empire.”

12. “The Squad” grills Michael Cohen on Capitol Hill

Former Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen Testifies Before House Oversight Committee Source:Getty

This iconic photo was taken as Democratic Congresswomen (from left) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, collectively with Rep. Ilhan Omar known as “The Squad,” grilling Michael Cohen, former attorney and fixer for President Donald Trump, while he testified before the House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill on Feb. 27.

Cohen has since begun serving his three-year prison sentence for tax evasion, making false statements to a financial institution, unlawful excessive campaign contributions and lying to Congress as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections.

13. Mark Meadows uses Lynn Patton as a human prop on Capitol Hill

During Michael Cohen’s testimony on Feb. 27, Republican North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows pulled out Lynne Patton, who is reportedly Eric Trump‘s former party planner, to implausibly prove Donald Trump cannot be racist.

Patton stood silently behind Meadows, willingly debasing herself even more than she already has as part of the Trump administration. Cohen said to Meadows: “Ask Ms. Patton how many Black people are executives at the Trump Organization? The answer is zero.”

14. R. Kelly Is finally arrested

R. Kelly Arrested for Unpaid Child Support Source:Getty

R. Kelly poses for a mugshot photo after being arrested March 6 for $161,663 in unpaid child support. It was the start of his official ending after the acclaimed docu-series “Surviving R. Kelly” was televised in January, all but confirming his activity as a child sex predator.

15. Trinity Love Jones goes missing

Trinity Love Jones Source:Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office

Trinity Love Jones was identified as the little Black girl whose body was found March 6 in a duffle bag in Hacienda Heights, California. The 9-year-old’s story captivated the nation as her mother was charged with her murder about two weeks later.

Trinity was part of a larger trend of Black children being victims of deadly violence in 2019.

16. Nipsey Hussle dies

A Music Collaboration Unveiling Event Source:Getty

Rapper Nipsey Hussle was shot and killed in South Central Los Angeles on March 31. He was just 33 years old.

ATLANTA, GA – DECEMBER 10: Rapper Nipsey Hussle attends A Craft Syndicate Music Collaboration Unveiling Event at Opera Atlanta on December 10, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.(photo by Prince Williams/Wireimage) color image,photography,celebrities,people,one person,arts culture and entertainment,attending,horizontal,usa,topix,bestof,music,rapper,headshot,crime,cooperation,event,georgia – us state,opera,nipsey hussle,atlanta – georgia

17. Lori Lightfoot elected as Chicago’s mayor


Lori Lightfoot won the Chicago mayoral election on April 2, becoming the first gay and African-American woman to lead the third-largest cty in the country.

Pictured: Lightfoot speaks during the election night party as Chicago voters entrusted a political novice with tackling difficult problems of economic inequality and gun violence. The former federal prosecutor and practicing lawyer who had never before held elected office was elected the midwestern city’s mayor in a lopsided victory.

18. Sharpton meets with Mayor Pete at Sylvia’s

Rev. Al Sharpton Meets With Mayor Pete Buttigieg At Harlem Restaurant Source:Getty

In a political rite of passage, Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg, from South Bend, Indiana, and civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton held a lunch meeting at Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem on April 29.

Buttigieg has struggled to gain traction with Black voters, and Black people in general.

19. Maleah Davis goes missing

Maleah Davis Source:Houston Police Department

Four-year-old Maleah Davis went missing from Houston in early May. Her stepfather Derion Vence was ultimately charged with felony charge of injury to a child. Tragically, Maleah was buried without any other charges, including murder, being levied against anyone else.

20. Road rage vigilante Hannah Payne accused murdering a Black driver

Hannah Payne, accused murderer of Kenneth Herring Source:WSB-TV Screenshot

In one of the most startling cases of the year, Hannah Payne was accused of murdering Kenneth Herring, a 62-year-old Black driver who hit her car while he was experiencing a diabetic shock on May 8. Payne followed him for about a mile, boxed-in his car with hers, got out of her car and shot him to death.

21. Robert F. Smith vows to pay off student debt at Morehouse College

Angela Bassett Receives And Honorary Degree During The Morehouse College 135th Commencement Source:Getty

Graduates of Morehouse College received the gift of a lifetime at their commencement ceremony on May 19 when philanthropist and billionaire Robert F. Smith pledged to pay off the student loan debt for the entire 2019 graduating class.

Pictured: Smith gives the commencement address during the Morehouse College 135th Commencement at Morehouse College on May 19 in Atlanta.

22. “When They See Us” is released on Netflix

When They See Us promo photo Source:Atsushi Nishijima/Netflix

Ava Duvernay directed the Netflix film that documented ordeal that five young Black and brown teens endured after being falsely accused of raping a white woman in the 1980s.

Their story of tragedy to triumph became known as The Exonerated Five after their cases were revisited years later. The movie was one of the year’s biggest for Netflix after it was released on May 31.

23. Virginia Beach mass shooting

12 Dead In Mass Shooting At Virginia Beach Municipal Center Source:Getty

A disgruntled employee entered a municipal building in Virginia Beach and killed 12 people on May 31. It was one of many mass public shootings that took place in the nation in 2019.

Pictured: Worship Team member Mallerie Baize raises her arms up and sings as she joins others during a memorial service for the 12 victims of a mass shooting at Piney Grove Baptist Church on June 2 in Virginia Beach. Eleven city employees and one private contractor were shot to death Friday in the Municipal Center Operations building by engineer DeWayne Craddock who had worked for the city for 15 years.

24. “It’s above me now” Best Western viral video

It's Above Me Now Best Western viral video screenshot Source:Twitter video screenshot

A hotel clerk who said he was called the N-word by a would-be guest got the last laugh after he tweeted a video of the exchange that ended up going viral in early June.

The video shows the clerk, a Black man, rejecting each desperate attempt to stay at the hotel by the woman who had apparently called him the N-word during an earlier phone call. When she came to the hotel to plead her case in person, the clerk was ready for her, and then some.

25. Bushwick Bull dies at 52

Beach Goth 2018 Source:Getty

Legendary Houston rapper Bushwick Bill, a founding member of the iconic Geto Boys, June 9 at the age of 52 after a brief fight with cancer. The diminutive hip-hop luminary from the genre’s golden age announced in May that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Pictured: Bushwick Bill of The Geto Boys performs onstage during Beach Goth Festival at Los Angeles State Historic Park on Aug. 5, 2018 in Los Angeles.

26. Dominican Republic deaths of Americans

FBI Begins Investigation After 9th American Tourist Dies In Dominican Republic Source:Getty

Multiple Americans died in June following trips to the Dominican Republic. The deaths were attributed to mystery illnesses that may have been acquired from drinking tainted liquor from minibars in resort hotel rooms.

Pictured: The beach area in front of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is seen on June 20 where a tourist died unexpectedly after getting sick two months ago at the hotel in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. News reports and the United States State Department are saying that seven Americans have become ill and died this year and two more families are reported to have come forward saying their relatives died unexpectedly last year while staying at resorts in the Dominican Republic. The FBI is assisting the Dominican authorities in the investigation into why tourists are dying.

27. Blue Bell ice cream licking video goes viral

Blue Bell ice cream girl licking video Source:Twitter

A teenager made national news in July after starring in a viral video showing her licking inside a half-gallon of Blue Bell ice cream in a grocery store before putting the container back in a freezer for unsuspecting shoppers to buy. The video prompted food contamination worries as copycats across the country imitated the girl.

28. Black Arts Icon Sadie Roberts-Joseph ‘Found Murdered’

Sadie Roberts-Joseph Source:facebook

Sadie Roberts-Joseph, an artist, activist and founder of Baton Rouge’s Odell S. Williams Now & Then Museum of African American History, was found dead in the trunk of a car on July 12.

29. Jay-Z And NFL announce partnership

Roc Nation And NFL Announce Partnership Source:Getty

Jay-Z teamed up with the NFL in a surprise move that angered many fans who have been boycotting the pro football league over its treatment of exiled quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who had been blacklisted because he was kneeling in a silent protest for social justice.

The image of Jay and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sharing a laugh was compared to a “gut punch.”

Pictured: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Jay Z at the Roc Nation and NFL Partnership Announcement at Roc Nation on Aug. 14 in New York City.

30. Malik Yoba makes “trans attracted” comments

Warner Bros. Hosts A Special Screening Of "Just Mercy" Source:Getty

Actor Malik Yoba revealed on social media at the end of August that he was sexually attracted to trans women, sparking a firestorm of controversy that included a trans woman accusing him of paying her for sex as a teen and a fraternity removing him from an honorary position.

Pictured: Malik Yoba attends Warner Bros. Hosts A Special Screening Of “Just Mercy” at DGA Theater on Sept. 8 in New York City.

31. Ed Buck is finally charged

Prominent Democratic Party Donor Ed Buck Source:Getty

Wealthy Democratic donor Ed Buck was finally charged for his role in a series of Black men turning up dead from apparent drug overdoses in his West Hollywood home.

Pictured: Buck appears in court on Sept. 19 on state charges of running a drug den in his West Hollywood apartment.

32. Amber Guyger’s murder trial

Amber Guyger murder trial screenshot

Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was sentenced to a lenient 10 years in prison after she was found guilty of murder for killing Botham Jean inside his own home last year.

Guyger repeatedly tried to showcase her emotions while she was testifying but the jury quickly returned a guilty verdict in September.

33. Candace Owens congress testimony

Candace Owens congress testimony Source:CSPAN screenshot

Candace Owens, the conservative Black woman who once defended Adolf Hitler, lied to Congress at least eight times on Sept. 19 when she testified about how she thought white supremacy and white nationalism didn’t pose any threat to Black people.

34. RuPaul called out at Emmys for lack of diversity

71st Emmy Awards - Press Room Source:Getty

There wasn’t one other Black person on stage with RuPaul when he spoke to the press about winning more Emmys for his hit show “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” and one Black reporter in the room let him know about it in no uncertain terms.

RuPaul played it off by making jokes, which led to him being dragged on social media for his apparent laissez faire approach.

Pictured: RuPaul poses with the award for Outstanding Competition Program in the press room during the 71st Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on Sept. 22 in Los Angeles.

35. Judge Tammy Kemp hugs Amber Guyger

Judge Tammy Kemp hugs Amber Guyger YouTube live stream screenshot

It was the hug heard ’round the world as Judge Tammy Kemp presented Amber Guyger with a bible and hugged her shortly after her guilty verdict was read for murdering Botham Jean in his own home last year in Dallas.

Kemp was widely slammed for her sympathetic treatment during such a high-profile murder trial.

In October, Kemp said during an interview that she “wouldn’t be getting this criticism if Miss Guyger were Black.”

36. Popeyes brings back its chicken sandwich

Popeyes Introduces Chicken Sandwich Source:Getty

Popeyes brought back its chicken sandwich, inviting a frenzy that resulted in multiple instances of violence with at least one case turning deadly.

Pictured: A sign indicating that chicken sandwiches are sold out hangs at the Popeyes location on Brookline Avenue near Fenway Park in Boston on Aug. 26.

37. TMZ fires Van Lathan

REVOLT And AT&T Summit Source:Getty

Former TMZ personality Van Lathan said he wanted to make clear was that he’s not “the angry, violent Black guy” much of the media coverage made him out to be after he got fired. Multiple reports said Lathan attacked his white co-worker Michael Babcock by choking him. Lathan suggested that was a mischaracterization.

Pictured: Van Lathan attends the REVOLT & AT&T Summit on Oct. 25 in Los Angeles.

38. Cyntoia Brown is freed from prison

Cyntoia Brown Long Signs Copies Of "Free Cyntoia" Source:Getty

Cyntoia Brown was released from prison on Aug. 7 after spending 15 years behind bars.

She was only 16 years old when she shot and killed Johnny Mitchell Allen, 43, in self-defense. Brown was arrested in 2004 after she thought Allen was reaching for a gun when he tried to solicit her for sex. Prosecutors argued she wanted to rob him and was not defending herself. After being tried as an adult, Brown was convicted of first-degree murder in 2006.

Pictured: Cyntoia Brown Long speaks onstage during An Evening with Cyntoia Brown at Clark Atlanta University on Nov. 11 in Atlanta.

39. Trump is impeached

President Trump Departs White House For Michigan Campaign Rally On Day Of House Impeachment Vote Source:Getty

The president was finally impeached on Dec. 18.

Pictured: President Donald Trump departs the White House for a campaign rally in Michigan on Dec. 18, the same day the U.S. House of Representatives vote on two articles of impeachment against Trump charging him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

40. Eddie Murphy hosts “Saturday Night Live”

Saturday Night Live - Season 45 Source:Getty

Eddie Murphy returned to his old stomping grounds for the first time in 35 years to host “Saturday Night Live” with help from a few of his comedian friends – Tracy Morgan, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock and Kenan Thompson.

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