50 Hottest Summer Moments of 2012

When it comes to unforgettable moments, the summer of 2012 was a gift that kept on giving. Here are 50 memorable moments.

Yolanda Sangweni Aug, 28, 2012

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You can always count on Oprah to have a celebrity in tears, telling ALL their business. Rihanna sat down for an intimate talk on Oprah's Next Chapter to discuss fame (how she copes with it), success, and even Chris Brown. Most-talked about was the the singer's revelation that she still loved her ex.

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Gabby Douglas was this summer's breakout star. The Virginia native made history by becoming the first African-American woman to win the gold medal in the Artistic Gymnastics Women’s Individual All-Around final. She also took home gold in the Artistic Gymnastics Women’s Team final.

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Rico Hines out a ring on Pam! Beloved Martin star Tichina Arnold married Hines, a basketball coach, in an intimate ceremony in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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Frank Ocean

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Those of us craving a Lauryn Hill appearance got one in the form of the emcee walking into court to plead guilty to not paying Federal taxes in 2005, 2006 and 2007. In August, the state of New Jersey also entered a civil judgement against her for $440,000, adding to the $1.8M she owes the government. Keep your head up, L-Boogie!

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Beyonce became the summer's most-talked about celebrity do-gooder when she partnered with the United Nations to encourage everyone to do a good deed on World Humanitarian Day. A video for her song "I Was Here" helped inspire one billion messages for World Humanitarian Day, which the United Nations said was a social media record.

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The Jacksons took the cake for riveting family drama this summer. First Michael Jackson's siblings fire off a letter accusing his estate of fraud. Then Katherine Jackson goes "missing," according to MJ's daughter, Paris. After she reemerges, Katherine temporarily loses custody of MJ's kids in July, and quickly regains it. In mid-August, a California judge grants her and grandson TJ Jackson's co-guardianship. Oy vey!

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Serena Williams and big sis Venus Williams reclaimed their title from the 2008 Beijing Olympics with another gold medal in the women's doubles this year. Just a day earlier, Serena grabbed the gold in women's singles, beating Russia's Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1.

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President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama showed some major PDA when they found themselves on kiss cam at Team USA's basketball game against Brazil in July.

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Kimye! Love them or hate them, this globe-hopping power couple made it their business to be the summer's "it" pairing. Paris, New York, Hawaii - their love is on a world tour.

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"Happy white peoples Independence Day the slaves weren't free but I'm sure they enjoyed fireworks," tweeted Chris Rock on July 4, stirring up fireworks of his own.

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Though Sparkle sizzled in our hearts (it did feature Whitney Houston's last performance after all), audiences didn't warm up to the soulful remake, which came in at number five in the box office (earning $12 million opening weekend).

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It was the bar brawl heard around the world. Drake and Chris Brown got into a bottle-throwing altercation at a New York nightclub, which reportedly stemmed from their mutual love for Rihanna (sigh!). Drake and Brown are being sued by the club for $16 million. There’s got to be a cheaper way to resolve your issues, fellas.

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The most sought-after 8-month-old, Blue Ivy Carter, made her summer appearance when a customer at Bergdorf Goodman snapped a pic of her and mom Beyonce shopping. Within days Bey’s braided updo would summon commentaries and celeb copycats of its own.

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Tameka Raymond and Usher’s custody battle raged on this summer, filled with unpleasant allegations from both sides. It ended with the R&B crooner being awarded primary custody of their two sons a few weeks after Tameka’s 11-year-old son Kile Glover died in a jetski accident. Tameka has vowed to appeal.

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Maria Carey

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Kevin Hart celebrated his 33rd birthday with ESSENCE with a star-studded party at the ESSENCE Music Festival.

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Chad and Ev’s reality show love didn’t last more than a few months in reallife when the former NFL star reportedly head-butted wife andBasketball Wives star Evelyn Lozada. She filed for divorce in early August, two months after saying “I Do.”

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Call it the summer of coming out. Shortly after Frank Ocean’s revelation was R&B Divas star Monifah confession that she was in a same-sex relationship.

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Somebody should have warned Mindless Behavior that you don’t make snarky remarks about Lauryn Hill’s tax troubles on national television, mmkay? Group member Ray Ray said BET Awards co-presenter Mike Epps’ singing was bad, “like Lauryn Hill tax accountant bad.” The teen heartthrobs later apologized after fans took them to task on Twitter. “We meant no disrespect to our girl Lauryn Hill,” they later tweeted.

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Whether you were watching Love and Hip Hop Atlanta or not, chances are your family, your colleagues, and Twitter timeline was talking about it. From Stevie J., Mimi and Joselyn’s love triangle, to K. Michelle domestic abuse accusations, the show had all the makings of an addictive telenovela.

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Alicia Keys took to Instagram to show off a shorter new ’do. “Look what I done did!” she wrote.

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Reality shows about celebrity exes can take a turn for the worst (Ahem,! But we still secretly watch them), butHollywood Exeskept it classy and refreshing this summer.

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This summer was doubly awesome thanks to the second season of Awkward Black Girl, which premiered in June with new funding from Pharrell Williams. Creator Issa Rae also graced the cover of ESSENCE’s “Young, Black and Amazing” issue.

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Hot momma alert. Jada Pinkett Smith showed 40 was indeed fabulous when she posted a Twitpic of herself emerging from the ocean in a bikini. “Don’t believe the hype,” she wrote. ’We do get better with age."

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Singer Janelle Monae was tapped to be the face of Cover Girl’s Fall campaign. Did we mention how much Black girls rock!

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This summer Bobbi Kristina Brown made her acting debut on Tyler Perry’s For Better or for Worse to rave reviews. Next up for Whitney’s baby girl is the family’s reality show, slated to air on Lifetime.

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Nicki Minaj made headlines by pulling out of Hot 97′s Summer Jam festival following negative remarks about her song “Starships” from the station’s on-air personality, DJ Peter Rosenberg. Fifty-seven percent of ESSENCE readers thought she should have still performed.

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For the first time in 16 years, the U.S. women’s 4×100 relay team walked away with a gold medal at the 2012 summer Olympics. Sprinters Carmelita Jeter, Bianca Knight, Allyson Felix and Tianna Madison also set a new world record, completing the race in just 40.82 seconds.

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BET remembered Whitney Houston with a star-studded tribute that included Brandy, Chaka Khan, Monica, and Cissy Houston.

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Our favorite “It” Brit was ESSENCE.com’s guest editor in June. She spent the day telling us about her musical icons and answering reader questions.

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Usain Bolt sprinted his way into history books. The Jamaican athlete became the first Olympian to ever win back-to-back gold medals in the 100-meter and 200-meter races. He sprinted across the finish line in just 19.32 seconds, earning his fifth gold medal.

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Like a hot outfit, nails made quite a statement this summer. Even Beyonce took to her tumblr page to share a fan’s creativity.

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Jennifer Hudson expanded her empire by announcing her first clothing line to be sold exclusively on QVC.

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Another R&B songstress expanding her empire is Kelly Rowland, who recently became the official worldwide brand ambassador for TW Steel watches. Haute!

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"My favorite festival memory would have to be in 2012 when D'Angelo took the MainStage after being out of the musical circuit for over 10 years. It was if he was singing directly to ME and watching him move from one instrument to another, showed that he was leaving himself on that stage and GOD was in the house. #JAMSESSION #PURETALENT"- Allyson Brown, ESSENCE Creative Director of Marketing

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Solange declared she was NOT the president of the Natural Hair club. "My hair is not very important to me... so I don’t encourage it to be important to you," she tweeted.

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Chaka Khan's 60+ pound weight-loss was nothing if not inspirational. The 67-year-old singer told ESSENCE.com lost the weight thanks to a exercise and becoming vegan.

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Mary J. Blge out. Zoe Saldana in. Much was said about the casting of Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone in an upcoming biopic. Seventy six percent of ESSENCE readers didn't think it was great casting. Where do you stand?

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NeNe Leakes is being blessed abundantly this year. First, her role in NBC's The New Normal, and in June, her first grandchild. The outspoken reality star says she didn't know about granddaughter Bri-Asia Bryant until a few months ago.

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Meagan Good married Sparkle producer DeVon Franklin in an intimate ceremony in Malibu, California. The couple met while filming 2011's Jumping the Broom.

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We're declaring this the summer of Shemar. Everywhere you looked there was Moore, flexing those perfect pecs and flashing his pearly whites. But we're not complaining.

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Ukranian reporter Vitalii Sediuk got more than he bargained for when he tried to kiss Will Smith during the Moscow premiere of Men in Black 3 — and it was all caught on tape. Well, we know better than to try to plant a wet one on Mr. Smith.

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Halle Berry's custody battle with ex Gabriel Aubry continues. Berry, pictured with fiance Olivier Martinez, is reportedly planning to move to France.

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ESSENCE Music Festival headliner Mary J. Blige graced her 12th ESSENCE cover in June 2012. Could anyone be more deserving than the Queen of Hip Hop Soul?

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Dearest Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford, you should have known better than to say you didn't think Queen Aretha was a good fit for the American Idol judges seat because of her age. "My audience and fans span the age of 8 to 90! And are multi-ethnic," wrote Aretha in response.

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In a surprising move, Steveie Wonder and wife Kai Millard announced they were divorced after 11 years of marriage.

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The OMG Girlz joined Diggy Simmons, Coco Jones and more for the ESSENCE Music Festival's inaugural "New and Next" concert.

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The U.S. men's basketball team — which includes Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Chris Paul, Jevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, James Harden, and more — took home gold.

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ESSENCE honored gospel duo Mary Mary for their outstanding contribution to music. Their star-studded tribute included performances by Kim Burrell, Tremaine Hawkins and Pastor Marvin L. Winans.