What would a year be without its fair share of celebrity scandals and squabbles? This year, Hollywood, hip hop, and the sports world, provided us plenty of fodder to chat about, tweet about and certainly have heated conversations about. From the sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby and Ray Rice and Janay Rice’s violent elevator encounter, to Azalelia Banks’ cultural appropriation allegations against Iggy Azalea, and Tameka “Tiny” Harris’ new eye color, see the now infamous moments that had us talking in 2014.
Beloved TV dad Bill Cosby fell from grace after over 20 women, including supermodel Beverly Johnson, accused him of drugging and/or sexually assaulting them in 70s and 80s. Cosby has not made any direct comments confirming or denying the allegations but has felt the backlash as he’s lost university affiliations, Naval titles, and televisions specials as allegations continue to surface.
All was not well in the Knowles-Carter Clan this May when video footage surfaced of Beyoncé’s little sister Solange attacking Jay Z in an elevator as the trio was leaving the Met Gala. There’s still no explanation of what caused the now infamous fight but Beyoncé did mention it in her Flawless Remix, so it was good for something.
The New York Times had no shortage of shade to throw this year. In a serious error of judgement, he magazine called Shonda Rhimes an “Angry Black Woman” in an article written by a critic. Rhimes responded on Twitter calling the author of the article an angry black woman herself and resign ingot yoga and dancing to shake off the negativity.
In the same piece, New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley said actress Viola Davis was “less classically beautiful than [Kerry] Washington” (among other things). Davis later called Stanley’s slight an attempt to “erase” a person. “Being a dark-skinned Black woman, you heard it from the womb,” said Davis. “And ‘classically not beautiful’ is a fancy term for saying ugly. And denouncing you. And erasing you.”
The Lifetime biopic Aaliyah: Princess of R&B was simultaneously the most-watched and most-hated TV film of 2014. Fans of the late singer heavily criticized Lifetime and Executive Producer Wendy Williams for the casting, writing, and overall story behind the film, and started a hilarious trend of memes after the biopic premiered.
Twitter’s backlash of the VH1 reality show Sorority Sisters was so strong that it prompted companies to pull their ads. Petitions have been created to have the show cancelled, and many viewers took to Twitter to express their disappointment and embarrassment.
True to form, this year K. Michelle held nothing back when sharing the intimate details of her love life. The singer revealed an eight-month-long relationship with British actor, Idris Elba, who was already in a relationship with the mother of his newborn child. See? Scandalous! K. Michelle used this relationship as the inspiration behind her new album, Anybody Wanna Buy A Heart?, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard R&B Charts.
In Septmber, TMZ released shocking footage of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee Janay Palmer in an elevator at Revel Hotel Casino in Atlantic City. Rice’s punch left Palmer unconscious on the floor. He then dragged her out into the lobby. He apologized for the incident and Palmr (now Mrs. Rice) backed him up. “To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass of for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific,” she wrote on Instagram.
Halle Berry found herself in a dramatic battle over her 6-year-old daughter’s hair this year. Berry demanded that the courts order her ex-husband Gabriel Aubry not to alter their daughters hair after she became suspicious that he was straightening it and lightening the color.
The premise of VH1’s Bye, Felicia did sit so well with many: Atlanta-based life coaches Deborah Hawkes and Missy Young set out to help white women in Los Angeles better themselves and say “goodbye to the Felicia” (the negativity) in their lives. Um, ok?
GOP Aide Elizabeth Lauten thought the Thanksgiving holiday was the perfect time to give thanks and give shade to President Obama’s daughters. In a Facebook post, Lauten criticized the Obama girls for their expressions and attire during the annual Presidential Turkey Pardon saying they had no class and deserved a spot at the bar. Lauten has since apologized and resigned.
Blue Ivy Carter’s adorable turn at the 2014 MTV VMAs had everyone talking. But things took a turn for the uncomfortable when Karrueche Tran—aka Chris Brown’s girlfriend— commented on Blue’s hair during a segment on BET’s 106 & Park. “I really did wake up like this, because my parents never comb my hair,” said Tran, reading from a teleprompter. Stephen Hill, BET’s music programming and specials president, made a public apology on Twitter, making it clear that Tran was not at fault for the comment.
Beauty is only skin deep but apparently Tiny Harris didn’t get the memo. The wife of rapper T.I. underwent a controversial cosmetic surgery procedure to permanently change her eye color from brown to “ice gray.” The eye color change got many a side-eye from fans of the reality star who believe the invasive and dangerous surgery was a step too far.
Actress and former child-star Raven-Symoné got a side eye from the entire Black community when she told Oprah Winfrey that she didn’t want to be labeled “African-American” on an episode of ‘Where Are They Now?’ Symone told Winfrey she doesn’t believe in labels and has been defending her controversial views ever since the episode aired.
Tank sparked a Twitter war of words after he tweeted a question asking why dark-skinned women disliked light-skinned women. “I have an honest question,” he tweeted. “What do dark skinned women have against light skinned women? Aren’t we all Black at the end of the day??” It’s still unclear what prompted him to tweet the question, but Black Twitter swiftly responded.
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with felony child-abuse in September after disciplining his 4-year-old son with a switch. Peterson agreed to a plea deal which reduced the charges to that of reckless assault, a misdemeanor that comes with a $4,000 fine and an order to perform community service. Peterson later apologized for the incident. “I have learned a lot and have had to reevaluate how I discipline my son going forward,” Peterson said in a statement. “But deep in my heart I have always believed I could have been one of those kids that was lost in the streets without the discipline instilled in me by my parents and other relatives.”
Earlier this year, CeeLo posted a series of disturbing tweets about rape. “If someone is passed out they’re not even WITH you consciously! so WITH Implies consent,” he tweeted. “Women who have really been raped REMEMBER!!!” The tweets came just a few days after Green pleaded no contest to one felony count of giving a woman the drug Ecstasy at a dinner in 2012. #DoBetter
Azaelia Banks and Iggy Azalea took rap beef to another level this year with their feud. Banks has been extremely vocal about her contempt for the white Australian rapper’s rise in the hip-hop music scene, calling her a cultural appropriator and invoking the wrath of rapper T.I., who publicly endorses Iggy. Iggy, on the other hand, has called Azealia Banks a hypocrite, a hot head, and a bigot and is unfazed by her critics. We’ll see how this plays out.
Earlier this year, the Real Housewives of Atlanta star was charged with identity theft and bank fraud in Atlanta after being implicated in the crimes during a Secret Service counterfeit investigation. He was sentenced to eight years in prison in July. His wife Phaedra Parks filed for a divorce in October.
It was the private conversation heard ‘round the world: LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling telling his then-girlfriend, v. Stiviano, not to bring Black people to Clippers games. Sterling was forced to sell his team following the leak of the audiotape.