ESSENCE's Year in Review 2012

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Real Talk: 10 Celebrities Who Made Us Proud in 2012

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Gabby Douglas
Photo Credit: Derek Blanks

This has been a heckuva a year. Here are 10 celebrities who have made me proud in 2012.

Kerry Washington
She’s the first Black woman to lead a primetime show since Teresa Graves starred as policewoman on ABC’s short-lived Get Christie Love. Scandal’s cult following takes over Twitter each week to chronicle every scandalous on-going in Kerry’s world and of course, her very fabulous professional wardrobe.

Oprah Winfrey
She spent 25 years as a successful talk-show host, and we just assumed Oprah’s network OWN would be a success from jump. Not so much. It took a while for Oprah to get her footing, but now she’s got it. Her one-on-one interviews with Rihanna, Usher and the Houston family after Whitney’s passing have been ratings gold. And who can resist tuning in for fierce and fabulous Miss Robbie from Welcome to Sweetie Pies?
 
Dr. Steve Perry
CNN introduced us to the magnetic principal in Black in America. He was changing the lives of his Cincinnati students at Capital Prep. TV One gave him a show, Saving Our Sons, which gave the nation an up-close look at his magic. Many folk say they care, but Dr. Perry shows us by putting in the work, leaving no Black child behind.

Jamie Foxx
We don’t get enough Black heroes, and Foxx, playing a freed slave in Django Unchained, is the first in a long, long time. This fictional hero gave Black folk the redemption for slavery they had been waiting for and his inspiration was winning the freedom of his enslaved Black wife. What’s love got to do with it? Everything!

Gabby Douglas
She flipped and tumbled and jumped, and she landed her way into our hearts at the 2012 Olympics. I watched my TV with tears in my eyes, yelling at the screen “Go Black Girl, GO!!!” With her near-perfect landings and infectious smile, she won America over, and despite the media hype, no one gave a damn about her hair!

President Obama
Let the polls tell it, and the 2012 election was neck–in–neck. Even on election night the race was uncomfortably close. But Obama pulled ahead in the end, spanking his opponent and continuing his legacy as America’s first Black President.

Susan Rice
Even before POTUS could nominate her as Secretary of State to replace Hillary Clinton, the GOP was gunning for her throat. Rice chose to avoid controversy by withdrawing her name from consideration for the position. Her humility in putting her country first proved just how much she was the right woman for the job she would never take.

Nene Leakes
Dedicated viewers of reality show Real Housewives of Atlanta know just how far Nene Leakes has come in five seasons. With her mainstream gigs on NBC’s The New Normal and Glee and her “very rich” status, Leakes has become less belligerent and more hilarious. Her recent quips on RHOA have caused fans who once threw side-eyes to offer their support. 

Issa Rae
She became an Internet phenomenon with her web-series Awkward Black Girl, which she parlayed into an enviable partnership with rapper/producer Pharrell Williams on You Tube for season two. If that wasn’t enough, she’s working with producer extraordinaire Shonda Rhimes for the upcoming ABC show I Hate LA Guys.

Jay-Z
Jay-Z has always repped Brooklyn, but with his ownership stake in its new Barclay’s arena and a multi-night series of concerts for its opening, Beyoncé’s husband took the borough to a whole ‘nother level. Brooklyn’s favorite son “put on” for his city, rising from the Marcy projects to center stage and Brooklyn could not be any prouder of his feat.

Demetria L. Lucas is the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk

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