The Biggest Moments of 2010

End of Year Recap

As we make our way through busy streets to find last-minute gifts and attend holiday parties, it’s time to look back at the most memorable moments of 2010.We saw Haiti suffer a devastating blow, sex scandals that rocked the church, many marriages, engagements and babies — and let’s not forget all the comebacks, viral videos, TV drama and more. As we reminisce, let us not forget, but make peace with the tragedies that shook us to our core, and make permanent memories of the celebrations that brought us incredible highs.Though the headlines didn’t always make us proud, we hope to make 2011 a more prosperous, joyous, successful year than 2010 ever was. Cheers to the end of an amazing year, and the beginning of the new one…

Bridal Bliss

We’re happy to report that the couples who tied the knot this year outnumbered the married pairs that called it quits. There was LaLa Vazquez and Carmelo Anthony’s celeb-studded wedding, Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz’ private Mediterranean soiree and T.I. And Tiny’s triple vow exchange in Las Vegas, Atlanta and Miami. Let’s not forget Nicole Richie and Joel Madden’s glamorous celebration at Lionel Richie’s home and the recent joining of young lovers Jurnee Smollett and Josiah Bell. We can’t wait to watch “Real Housewives of Altanta’s” Cynthia Bailey say ‘I do’ to Peter Thomas. And with R&B divas Amerie, Monica and Keyshia Cole all announcing their engagements this year, 2011 should be filled with more wedding fabulosity. Plus New Orleans Hornets baller Chris Paul put a ring on his long-time girlfriend Jada Crawley and Naomi Campbell and Vladislav Doronin are expected to get hitched any day now — who wouldn’t love to be on that guest list?

2010 Breakups

Hollywood relationships often crumble under the pressure of the spotlight. Unfortunately 2010 was no exception with couples like Halle Berry and Gabrielle Aubry and Eva Marcille and Lance Gross who announced amicable splits earlier this year. The breakups that caused the most jaw-drops were definitely from the married folk heading to divorce court, from Toni Parker’s naughty text messages to Tiger Woods’ growing list on mistresses. Plus, actress Garcelle Beauvais cut things off as soon as she outed her cheating hubby Michael Nilon with an e-mail to the NYPost, while Siovaughn Wade wouldn’t let things end with her ex, Miami Heat baller Dwyane Wade,filing a number of lawsuits against him and his girlfriend Gabrielle Union.

Baby Talk

Babies were definitely in the news this year. Numerous celebrity couples welcomed the pitty-patter of feet or they announced their pregnancy. Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey shared that they are expecting twins, while Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz welcomed a boy, Christina Milian and The Dream welcomed a baby girl, Ne-Yo welcomed a little girl, Keyshia Cole had a son and “RHOA” star Kim Zolciak and boxing champ Laila Ali both announced they’re having babies in the spring.

For Colored Girls

Tyler Perry’s all-star adaption of Ntozake Shange’s seminal play, “For Colored Girls,” brought in $19.4 million in its opening weekend—proving that an all-Black cast (that didn’t include Madea) can actually open a movie!

Oprah’s Big Year

This year, not only was the Queen of daytime talk the only African-American on the Forbes Billionaire’s List, she was also ranked the most charitable celebrity. She kicked off her 25th year with one of the most memorable giveaways for her lucky audience: an all-expenses paid trip to Australia. Oprah, we love you!

The Wendy Williams Show

Many talk show junkies are patiently awaiting Oprah’s final show and when that happens, Wendy Williams is poised and ready to take over as our next big talk show host. In light of that, Tyra Banks ended her show this year after five great seasons and the Mo’Nique show took off to new heights this year.

Beyonce’s Big Year

Beyonce won six Grammys for last year’s “I Am…” album and her world tour grossed a cool $103 million.

Steve Harvey’s Number One Book

Radio talk show personality and relationship guru, Steve Harvey, released “Straight Talk, No Chaser”andsoared to number one on the New York Times Bestseller’s list.

Michael Jackson Mayhem

Michael Jackson passed away over a year ago, but we couldn’t stop talking about him in 2010. From the news updates on his estate, the Conrad Murray trial, Oprah interviewing his mother and children, Joe Jackson filing a wrongful death suit, and the sale of MJ paraphernalia, the King of Pop surely could not rest in peace. Oh yeah, did we mention his new album dropped on December 14th?

Willow Smith’s Debut

We should have known little Willow Smith was a game changer when she sported a shaved head at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in November of 2009. By this summer all eyes were on Will and Jada’s daughter as she debuted one of the most infectious songs of the year. “Whip My Hair’ shot straight up the iTunes charts and garnered enough remakes to make it a certified classic.

Fantasia’s Meltdown

Fantasia had a rocky year for numerous reasons. But what stood out the most was her rocky relationship with ex-boyfriend, Antwaun Cook. Fantasia was accused of breaking up his marriage and she also revealed she terminated a pregnancy during their relationship. To top it off, she tried to commit suicide in August. Despite all of those set backs, she bounced back with a brand new album, “Back to Me,” earning her several Grammy nominations.

Mo’Nique Takes Home an Oscar

Mo’Nique’s chilling portrayal of Mary in the movie “Precious,” earned her statue after statue — from the Critics Choice Awards, Screen Actors Guild to the ultimate prize, the Oscar win.

Kanye West’s Comeback

From his public meltdowns to his triumphant hit songs (“Power”, “Runaway” just to name a few)and back, Kanye West seemed to have the year from hell and heaven all in one. In the midst of this, he still found time to transform into a style icon, trading in his jeans and hoodies for tailored pants and blazers and winning an award from the Accessories Council to boot!

Isaiah Mustafa’s Commercial

Isaiah Mustafa’s tongue-in-cheek Old Spice commercial went viral on the Internet, making him an overnight sensation. The original video is currently at 26 million views!

2010’s Repeat Offender

Let’s just call it redemption gone wrong. After multiple speeches, interviews and an MTV Special, about the lessons he’s learned before going to jail. T.I emerged from prison, only to return back in a matter of months.

Monica’s Stalker

Monica’s stalker situation came to a end this year. After being stalked on and off for six years, her stalker was arrested and her life returned to normal.

Janet Cutting Hair

After 25 years of rocking her signature long locks, Janet Jackson chopped her tresses into a sleek short cut in 2010—and she’s never looked better. We can’t wait to see what the icon does next!

LeBron James Leaves Cleveland

Going from the most loved basketball player to the most loathed was a spectacle worthy of TV. Luckily for viewers, Lebron James captured this in the epic special which attempted to explain his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat.

“The Karate Kid” Scores Big

When Will Smith’s 12-year-old son Jaden took on a remake of “The Karate Kid” earlier this year, few imagined he would break box office records by having one of the highest opening weekend revenue. To date, “The Karate Kid” has grossed $358 million worldwide.

Chris Brown’s Emotional Tribute

In the middle of a Michael Jackson tribute at the 2010 BET Awards, Chris Brown broke down on his knees and cried the ugly cry while singing “Man in the Mirror.” The performance mirrored MJ’s 1988 Grammy performance, where Jackson cried during the same song. People weighed in for weeks whether it was a publicity stunt or a young man feeling the weight of his actions.

Aretha Franklin and Condoleezza Rice in Concert

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice played piano for the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin during a performance at the Mann Center for Performing Arts in Philadelphia. Rice, a classically trained pianist, performed a selection from Mozart’s Piano Concerto and later accompanied the Queen of Soul for a rendition of “I Say a Little Prayer.”

Aretha Franklin Recovers from Surgery

The Queen of Soul canceled her tour this past summer on doctor’s orders. Though she wouldn’t reveal the source of her pain, Franklin released a statement saying that she had a “successful surgery.” Whatever her ailment, we wish Aretha the best.

Joan Smalls Becomes the Face of Estee Lauder

Joan Smalls made history as she was named the second model of color to ever be the face of Estee Lauder. For women of color everywhere this is certainly a huge deal!

ESSENCE Turning 40

ESSENCE turned 40 this year and with that brought lots of moments of joy. Thank you for allowing us in your homes for so long.

Celebrities Who Turned 40

In conjunction with ESSENCE turning 40, there were a number of celebs who turned 40 as well. Naomi Campbell, Tyson Beckford, Taraji P. Henson, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Regina Hall, Nia Long, Aisha Tyler, Mariah Carey, Queen Latifah, Malcolm Jamal Warner, Nicole Ari Parker, Mike Epps, Anthony Anderson, Alonzo Mourning all turned 40 in 2010.

2010’s Deaths

Sadly in 2010 we had to say goodbye to many of our legends, icons and TV favorites. In early January, soul singer and R&B crooner Teddy Pendergrass died at 59. And this spring we lost entertainment legend Lena Horne, child star actor Gary Coleman and civil rights fighter Dorothy I. Height. Lastly, blaxploitation film actress Vonetta McGee died mid-summer. Rest in Peace.

“Housewives” Drama

If it wasn’t for the drama on “Real Housewives of Atlanta” Sunday nights would be a total drab. The ladies down in Atlanta sure know how to keep us entertained week after week with juicy drama and quotable comments. Toast to the “RHOA” stars for making 2010 memorable.

Lady Gaga and Beyonce’s Telephone

Epic is the only way to describe this alignment between mega-stars. Although the 10 minute video drew criticism for being overly long and dark, it still attracted millions of viewers on it’s debut and has nearly 100 million views on Youtube alone to date.

Obama Wins

President Obama conquered many fronts in 2010. In the beginning of the year he got the government to perform a total overhaul on the health care system and just this week the Senate overturned the controversial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy which banned openly gay troops from serving in the military. These are certainly two big wins for 2010.

Nicki Mina/Lil Kim Beef

Can’t we all just get along? Or at least release a single together? Apparently for Nicki Minaj and Lil Kim the answer is no. After Minaj dropped her diss record, “Roman’s Revenge,” Kim responded with her own called “Black Friday.” And the feud continues….

Haiti’s Earthquake

Everything seemed to fall apart when a powerful 7.0 magnitude hit the small, impoverished country of Haiti, leaving an estimated 230,000 people dead.Soon after, the world gathered around to support the small nation with donations and aid. Even First Lady Michelle Obama visited the island to show her support. Haiti continues to be in our prayers.

Hope For Haiti Concert

Nearly 100 celebrities, including Will Smith and Brad Pitt, banded together to host the “Hope for Haiti” telethon 10 days after the earthquake in Haiti. Musicians like Rihanna, Wyclef Jean and Beyonce performed, helping to raise $57 million.

We Are The World” 25th Anniversary

In light Haiti’s disaster, the stars aligned to remake “We Are the World.” On February 1st, Toni Braxton, Wyclef, Usher, Will. I. Am, LL Cool J, Trey Songsz and more lent their voices to another great cause.

Wyclef Running for President

Wyclef Jean has always been passionate about his native Haiti, but everyone was taken by surprised when he filed papers for his presidential bid on August 5th, 2010. The next month would prove challenging for the former Fugees frontman who was soon rejected by Haiti’s Provincial Electoral Council, and forced to drop out of the race.

Montana Fishburne’s Mistake

Montana Fishburne-or Chippy-D if you’re nasty – shocked people when she brazenly announced her career as a porn star. But, perhaps, no one was more shocked than her father, Laurence Fishburne.

Soul Train 40th Anniversary Box Set

It’s been 40 years since Soul Train hit the TV screen and lit up our family rooms. Time Life offered a 40th Anniversary box set called “The Best of Soul Train” this year and it sold like hot cakes! It featured performances of Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers and more.

Written Word

It was a great year for the written word. Terri McMillan, one of the most successful authors of her generation, released “Getting to Happy,” the sequel to the legendary "Waiting to Exhale,” and Jay-Z, one of the most successful rappers ever, released “Decoded,” breaking down his lyrics as they relate to his life.

Sesame Street “I Love My Hair” Video

When a tiny, brown-skinned muppet sang: “Don’t need a trip to the beauty shop/’Cause I like what I got on top,” generations of Black girls and women immediately felt the love. We applaud Sesame Street for helping to teach self-acceptance to Black girls, in the sweetest way imaginable.

Bitch is the New Black

Whether you were for against this satirical peek into the lives of “urban” Black women, there’s no denying the author Helena Andrews’ memoir was a runaway success in 2010. The film rights were bought before Andrews’ even finished it!

Gone Viral

When Antoine Dodson’s colorful interview about a break-in at his sister’s apartment hit YouTube, the Huntsville, Alabama native shot to viral stardom. Seemingly overnight, his impassioned soundbites spawned a zillion musical tributes, from rap songs to heavy metal moments. The video alone has earned over 25 million views. Now run tell that, Antoine.

Scandal in the Church

Bishop Eddie Long’s sex scandal shook the church to it’s core. The New Missionary Baptist Church leader was named in a sex suit that claimed he bribed young men with gifts and money in exchange for sexual acts.

Courtroom Drama

This summer, supermodel Naomi Campbell took the stand in Charles Taylor’s war crimes trial and was asked if she received blood diamonds. Though it appeared the court couldn’t get a clear answer from her, Campbell revealed she was indeed given “dirty stones,” but had no clue about their current whereabouts.

Gulf Coast Oil Spill