We have no concrete evidence to support this, but 2016 seemed to take an unusually large number of artists, activists and leaders of color. Here are words from some of the notables who passed away.

Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Maurice White in a black suit with white pinstripes, navy shirt and blue tie against white background Earth, Wind and Fire cofounder Maurice White poses during the 'Jammin for Ray' Post-Grammy Party following the 47th Annual Grammy Awards at Spago's Restaurant on February 13, 2005 in Beverly Hills, California.

Most people can’t see beauty and love. I see our music as medicine.“—Earth, Wind & Fire co-founder Maurice White (December 19, 1941—February 3, 2016)

Colorlines Screenshot of Berta Cáceres, taken from Facebook on December 19, 2016.  Berta Cáceres in red and white and blue flannel shirt against green foliage

I cannot live in peace, I am always thinking about being killed or kidnapped. But I refuse to go into exile. I am a human rights fighter and I will not give up this fight.“—Honduran indigenous and environmental organizer Berta Cáceres (March 4, 1971—March 3, 2016) 

Photo: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images Black man in black hat and jacket with hands in prayer against white background Recording artist Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest visits the Tribeca Film Festival 2011 portrait studio on April 27, 2011 in New York City.

The fog and the smog of news media that logs false narratives of Gods that came up against the odds, We’re not just n**** rappers with the bars, it’s kismet that we’re cosmic with the stars.“—”We the People,” A Tribe Called Quest co-founder Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor (November 20, 1970—March 23, 2016)

Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images Brown woman in black coat against black glass building and grey sky Zaha Hadid, world famous architect visits the Riverside Museum, her first major public commission in the UK on June 9, 2011 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Yes, I’m a feminist, because I see all women as smart, gifted and tough.“—architect Zaha Hadid (October 31, 1950—March 31, 2016)

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images Alt-text: Prince in black and white shirt holds up his hands Prince speaks at the 36th NAACP Image Awards at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on March 19, 2005 in Los Angeles, California.

“Does anybody hear us pray, for Michael Brown or Freddie Gray? Peace is more than the absence of war.”—musician, songwriter, activist Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958—April 21, 2016)

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images Black woman with black glasses smiling in black blouse against blurry brown background Afeni Shakur attends the film premiere of 'Tupac Resurrection' at the Cinerama Dome Theater on November 4, 2003 in Hollywood, California.

For us, we’re troublemakers, because why wouldn’t we be troublemakers in a society that has no respect for us?”—former Black Panther Afeni Shakur (January 10, 1947—May 2, 2016)

Photo: Mark Mainz/Getty Images Black man holds up fists in light blue shirt against dark grey background with orange and green text Boxing legend Muhammad Ali attends the 'Xbox Live Madden NFL 2005' launch party at Shelter, on July 28, 2004 in Los Angeles, California.

No, I am not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of White slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end.“—boxer and activist Muhammad Ali (January 17, 1941—June 3, 2016)

Colorlines Screenshot of actor and Lakota Chief David Beautiful Bald Eagle, taken from Facebook video on December 19, 2016. Native man in brown and white feather head attire and white and brown and yellow outfit and beige pants

“I know we can’t go back there, back to where we were. But we can tell the young ones how it was and they can remember, and they can bring it back. They can return.”— actor, sportsman, Lakota Chief David William Beautiful Bald Eagle (April 8, 1919—July 22, 2016)

Colorlines Screenshot of journalist George Curry, taken from Facebook on August 22, 2016. George Curry in navy suit and multicolored tie with white shirt, against light blue background

I think White America really doesn’t understand the pain and degradation a person endures when they face racism.“—journalist and publisher George Curry (February 23, 1947—August 20, 2016) 

Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images Brown man in shiny black patterned jacket and white vest with black shirt against dark lit background Singer Juan Gabriel performs onstage during the 10th annual Latin GRAMMY Awards held at Mandalay Bay Events Center on November 5, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

They say we’re living difficult times, that people are curious and they want to know more, but people also aren’t dumb.“—Mexican singer Juan Gabriel (January 7, 1950—August 28, 2016)

Colorlines Screenshot of Gloria Naylor, taken from Twitter on October 4, 2016. Gloria Naylor in orange outfit and head wrap with brown blurry background

There is a problem in America. An Irish or Polish American can write a story and it’s an American story. When a Black American writes a story, it’s called a Black story. I take exception to that. Every artist has articulated to his own experience. The problem is that some people do not see Blacks as Americans.“—author Gloria Naylor (January 25, 1950—September 28, 2016) 

Photo: Don Emmert-Pool/Getty Images Gwen Ifill in teal blazer, sitting at a desk PBS journalist and debate moderator Gwen Ifill looks at Democratic vice presidential candidate U.S. Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) during the vice presidential debate at the Field House of Washington University's Athletic Complex on October 2, 2008, in St. Louis, Missouri.

We can’t expect the world to get better by itself. We have to create something we can leave the next generation,”—journalist Gwen Ifill (September 29, 1955—November 14, 2016)

 
Photo: Jorge Rey/Getty Images Man with white beard in green hat and jacket behind two black microphones and brown podium against blurry yellow background Cuban President Fidel Castro gives a speech in front of the U.S. Interest Section May 14, 2004 in Havana.
 

We believed at the beginning that when we established the fullest equality before the law and complete intolerance for any demonstration of sexual discrimination in the case of women, or racial discrimination in the case of ethnic minorities, these phenomena would vanish from our society. It was some time before we discovered that marginality and racial discrimination with it are not something that one gets rid of with a law or even with 10 laws, and we have not managed to eliminate them completely in 40 years,”—Cuban president Fidel Castro (August 13, 1926—November 25, 2016)

 
Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images Asian woman with black hair in black dress with purple and red accents at clear podium with black microphone against blurry brown background Model and honoree China Machado speaks on stage at the 13th annual Women Who Care event benefiting United Cerebral Palsy of New York City at Cipriani 42nd Street on May 7, 2014 in New York City.
 

We [non-White models] had no images. We had nothing that told us we were nice-­looking. Nothing. So I didn’t think of myself as good-looking at all. It never occurred to me.“—high fashion model Noel De Souza “China” Machado (December 25, 1928—December 18, 2016)