The year 2001 had some of the best, worst and most tragic moments to be remembered. While it will forever be the year America —and the world— because of the September 11th attacks— there were some sweet moments to remember from the second year of the 21st century.
Comedian and short-lived singer Eddie Murphy introduced the world to the loveable and very energetic Donkey in the DreamWorks-animated film, ‘Shrek’.
Carmen A Hip-Hopera
Marking Beyoncé’s debut acting role, 2001’s ‘Carmen: A Hip Hopera’ brought a new spin on the 1875 opera, ‘Carmen’. Featuring an all-star hip-hop cast, the movie — which saw Yoncé star alongside Mekhi Phifer — was an arguable letdown for those expecting to see the singer dominate in her first on-screen acting role.
Missy Elliot “One Minute Man”
Missy Elliot’s ‘Miss E… So Addictive’ was another one of her iconic albums that included the songs “One Minute Man” and “Get Your Freak On”. Like her previous work, she collaborated with Timbaland for the entire project.
Alicia Keys Songs in A Minor
‘Songs In A Minor’ was the debut album from a 20-year-old Alicia Keys. Aside from the literal co-sign she got from Clive Davis and five Grammy wins, the album is one that truly captures the sound of the time.
Four months after being acquitted from the 1999 club shooting, the rapper (then formerly known as Puff Daddy) released the one and only album — ‘The Saga Continues…’ — under the moniker P. Diddy.
Rush Hour 2
‘Rush Hour 2’ — a movie co-starring Black actor Chris Tucker — debuted in box offices and would go on to rake in $347.3 million, making it the highest-grossing martial arts film of all time.
JAY-Z The Blueprint
Jay-Z released his now universally acclaimed album ‘The Blueprint’ the morning of September 11, 2001. Delivered during one of the most controversial times of the rapper’s life, the album is now cited as one of his best to date.
The Proud Family
Widely known as the Disney Channel’s first and only all Black cartoon series, ‘The Proud Family’ aired its first episode starring Kyla Pratt, Tommy Davidson and Paula Jai Parker. The show went on to run until 2004.
Michael Jackson 30th Anniversary Concert
The Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration was a two-part concert honoring Michael Jackson’s thirtieth year as a solo entertainer. Filmed in New York, the second show was the day before the September 11th attack on the city. While eerie to think about, the concert was a moment MJ fans cherish.
A couple of cops have an insane day in the hit-film ‘Training Day’. Starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke, the film grossed $76 million and earned Washington the Oscar for Best Actor at the 74th Academy Awards.
By the time Ja Rule came out with his third studio album ‘Pain Is Love’, he was a top-selling artist. Him, along with his Murder Inc co-signee Ashanti, were everywhere and this album was nominated for a Grammy the following year. It’s three top 10 singles were “Livin’ It Up”, featuring Case, “Always on Time”, which featured Ashanti, and the remix of Jennifer Lopez’s “I’m Real”.
Word of Mouf
As a collaboration between Disturbing tha Peace and Def Jam South, Ludacris’ second album ‘Word of Mouf’ would set the tone —in addition to other Atlanta artists— of the current hip-hop base heavy sound we hear today.
As a way to share her story via images and highlight amazing models of color, Iman dropped ‘I Am Iman’ in 2001. The book featured the iconic photo of all the top models of the time that was also featured in Vanity Fair.
The Bernie Mack Show
Legendary comedian Bernie Mac debuted his scripted series ‘The Bernie Mac Show’ on Fox. The show would go on to run for five seasons and make the world forever remember “Uncle Bernie”.
Rappers Redman and Method Man may predominantly be known for their sharp and witty lyrics, but at the end of 2011, they added creators of a Black cult classic to their list, too. Releasing the stoner film ‘How High’, the duo introduced the world to an unforgettable film that would have fans still waiting for its sequel almost 20 years later.