Beyoncé was chosen to sing the national anthem at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration in January. However, when news broke that the pop diva used a pre-recorded version, which is routine for ceremonies like this, due to the freezing temperatures all hell broke loose. Beyoncé proved she could sing the anthem flawlessly at a Super Bowl press conference weeks later. She ended by saying, “Any questions?”
“Sure Thing” singer Miguel delivered the crash heard around the world during the 2013 Billboard Awards. Attempting to jump from one stage to another, Miguel fell short landing on an innocent fan named Khyati Shah. Her legal representation stated there’s reason to believe Shah might have suffered brain damage. There’s no word if she actually filed suit against Miguel.
Paula Deen nearly saw her career crash and burn after admitting to using the N-word in a legal deposition this year. In the days and weeks the followed, Deen’s name and image would be dragged through the mud. She loss her job with the Food Network. Smithfield Foods cut ties with the star along with Caesars Entertainment Corporation. Deen eventually posted several apology videos for the comments and hired Scandal inspiration Judy Smith to save her career.
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden made headlines when he leaked several thousand classified documents to the media. Among them were details on the government’s surveillance program. Since leaking the documents, Snowden has fled to Russia where he lives in temporary asylum. He is charged with espionage and stealing government property.
In honor of their wedding anniversary, Beyoncé and Jay Z took a trip down to Cuba. However, their trip to the country caught quite a bit of attention from lawmakers in the United Sates. Some took issue with the couple vacationing in the communist country, saying it was politically insensitive.
Season 13 of American Idol was exciting for more reason that one. Diva Mariah Carey and rapper Nicki Minaj went head-to-head on live television, exchanging insults, side eyes and more. We only wish their petty feud didn’t take away from the contestants.
NeNe Leakes’ $1.8 million wedding wasn’t without its glitches and mishaps. A wedding planner sued the reality star for unpaid work. Tiffany Cook claimed Leakes paid a deposit, but failed to pay the remaining bill, totaling $1,142,900. Leakes later dismissed the claims. No word on where the case is today.
DMX was the only star Iylana Vanzant couldn’t fix this year. Their explosive interview and intervention back in April caused quite a stir across the internet. Since their counseling session, DMX has been in and out of jail. Let’s hope 2014 brings a better, healthier and smarter DMX.
First Lady Michelle Obama is not one to play around with. Back in June, a gay rights activist interrupted her during a planned 20 minute speech only to demand that President Obama sign an executive order on gay rights. Mrs. Obama took the impolite heckler to task. “One of the things I don’t do well is this,” she explained confronting the woman. “Listen to me or you can take the mic, but I’m leaving. You all decide. You have one choice.”
In March, Kordell Stewart filed for divorce. The NFL star said his marriage was “irretrievably broken.” Things went from bad to worse for the couple when rumors began swirling around Kordell’s sexuality. Their divorce was made official in early December.
Russell Simmons received a ton of backlash for green-lighting the infamous “Harriet Tubman Sex Tape.” The clip depicted Tubman having sex with her master to gain leverage to run the Underground Railroad. Simmons issued an apology for the insensitive video. “I thought it was politically correct,” he said. “Silly me. I can now understand why so many people are upset.”
Lauryn Hill was sentenced to three months in prison and three months home confinement for tax evasion back in May. In her defense, she wrote a blogpost explaining why she opted out of paying the government. Today, she’s on tour before beginning the second portion of her sentence.
The Real Housewives of Atlanta scandal known as “textgate,” between characters Apollo Nida and Kenya Moore, set the internet ablaze. Phaedra Parks told ESSENCE.com, both Apollo and Kenya are wrong. “As a woman you know better than that,” she said. “We as women know how to conduct ourselves. It is very inappropriate, malicious, backhanded, deceptive and disgusting to be sneaking around and texting someone’s husband and saying, ‘Oh you look cute today.’”
Racial profiling incidents at Barneys and Macy’s were hot topics this fall. However, Jay Z was caught in the middle of much of the scandal given his partnership with Barneys. Numerous Jay Z supporters and activists demanded he pull out of the agreement that would benefit his foundation. The rapper vowed to continue despite criticism. He later explained in a statement, “I am no stranger to being profiled and I truly empathize with anyone that has been put in that position. Hopefully, this brings forth a dialogue to effect real change.”
Rachel Jeantel caught a lot of heat for her attitude and lack of enthusiasm on the witness stand during George Zimmerman’s trial this summer. But, the way Black twitter reacted to her was simply mean and unforgivable. Track star Lolo Jones received backlash for tweeting, “Rachel Jeantel looked so irritated during the cross-examination that I burned it on DVD and I’m going to sell it as Madea goes to court.”
“Blurred Lines” was one of the biggest songs of the year. Now nominated for a Grammy, the song continues to be the subject of great debate. Robin Thicke and Marvin Gaye’s family have been in an ongoing copyright infringement suit for much of the year. According to reports, Thicke offered Gaye’s estate a settlement after reports came out that he copied the late singer’s “Got To Give it Up.” After rejecting it, Thicke filed a suit to get a judge to rule the song is original, despite Thicke’s statement he was inspired by Gaye. Gaye’s estate has since filed a countersuit.
Kenan Thompson came under fire for saying Saturday Night Lives‘ lack of female comedians is due to a shortage of Black female comedians who are “ready.” Well, that didn’t sit well with us. In fact, we drew up our own list of Black female comedians who are more than ready for the spotlight.
This year saw mountains of natural hair issues in our school systems. Unfortunately, some of them may have scared our girls from embracing their beauty. From Tiana Parker to Vanessa VanDyke, there were too many mishaps to name. Let’s hope 2014 brings friendlier (and more cultured) teachers and administrators.
Actor Terrence Howard may have had a stellar year with his career, but his personal life was all in the headlines. In August, his ex-wife Michelle Ghent accused him of domestic abuse following their messy divorce in May 2012. Things became escalated when Howard filed a police report claiming Ghent threatened to kill him and his family on top of spraying him with pepper spray.
Destiny’s Child mini-reunion during the Super Bowl halftime show left some people feeling uneasy—mainly Keyshia Cole. She tweeted some not-so-nice words about Michelle Williams that set the internet on fire. “I think I was frightened to blink for a sec. Then Michelle sung and woke my a** up from my daze! She always f—king the groove up,” she tweeted. Some seven months later, Cole apologized for her comment. Williams denied tweeting an equally cruel remark.
When VH1 aired its TLC biopic, we knew Pebbles would have something to say about the way she was depicted. Pebbles issued a statement saying, “The movie contains many false and defamatory statements and scenes about me. Please know that I have never cheated or mislead anyone.” Pebbles vows to defend her reputation, accomplishments and character. As for probably legal action, she says her attorney will demand retractions from VH1.
Where do we begin? Blackface became super popular amongst some groups this year—mainly fashion editors, models and a select few actresses (Julianne Hough). When will people learn this is never OK?
If there was one name constantly in the headlines this year, it was Kanye West. Unfortunately, most of those headlines weren’t so friendly. From his rants and off-the-cuff radio interviews to his battles with the paparazzi and constant PDA with fiancée Kim Kardashian, there was no escaping this man. No matter how you feel about him, West certainly kept us entertained all year long. At least Nori was the bright spot in all of this.