The Comeback Kid: 14 Celebs Who Made a Triumphant Return to Stardom

Janet Jackson is going on tour, Missy Elliott is in the midst of her comeback and Ja Rule just dropped a new song. After hearing radio silence from these A-listers for years, we only have one question about their comebacks: What took so long?!

ESSENCE.COM Aug, 06, 2015

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Miss Jackson is back, and we couldn't be more excited. After a 7-year hiatus, Janet Jackson announced that she not only would be releasing a new album, but she would also be embarking on a world tour (it's currently on hold while she helps her father, Joe Jackson, recover from a stroke and multiple heart attacks). You better believe that we will be there in the front row!

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Ja Rule, where you been? The rapper burst onto the scene this week, surprising everyone by dropping a new song, "Wake Up." And it looks like there are more on the way. "The records I'm going to be dropping on Soundcloud are ART pieces, raw, uncut, not mixed or mastered. Gems from the vault!!!" he tweeted yesterday. Ja Rule has been staying busy since taking a break. He has been featured in movies like The Fast and the Furious, and he is a spokesperson for Magnises, a credit card for millennials. 

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Ten years ago, Missy Elliott released her hit album, The Cookbook, but since then, it has been nothing but crickets from the M.C. However, we were all ecstatic when the Superbowl tapped Missy to perform at the 2015 halftime show. Just last month, she had the Superdome on its feet when she performed at our ESSENCE Festival. We can only pray that this is the beginning of a beautiful and grossly overdue comeback. 

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We thought the world was coming to a very unsexy end when D'Angelo abandoned his music following the release of Voodoo in 2000. The R&B crooner  ran into a slew of complications in recent years, including the folding of his management company, substance abuse issues and a breakdown following his success. So understandably, we were all thrilled when he made his comeback at 2012's ESSENCE Festival. Just last year, he shocked us all when he dropped a surprise album, Black Messiah. Weeks later, he performed on Saturday Night Live, donning a "Black Lives Matter" t-shirt. 

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We were all left scratching our heads when Dave Chappelle abruptly abandoned his hit Comedy Central show, The Chappelle Show, and said that the show was "ruining his life." He became uncomfortable with how audiences were receiving his jokes and said that "people can't distinguish between what's real and fake." After more than 10 years, the comedian is slowly making his way back into the spotlight, performing at Radio City Music Hall and expressing interest in returning to television.

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After a string of duds at the box office, Eddie Murphy made his box office return in 2011 with Tower Heist, and the following year, he starred in A Thousand Words and hosted the Oscars. Next on his plate? He's gearing up to reprise his role as Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop 4

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Jennifer Hudson lived through a devastating tragedy when her mother, brother and nephew were violently murdered in 2008. The singer took time to recover and has since released multiple albums, dropped 80 pounds, gotten engaged, and given birth to her first born, David Otunga Jr. Last month, she launched a New York & Co. fashion line. JHud is back! 

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After having to file for bankruptcy—twice—and being diagnosed with lupus, the R&B singer turned her financial and health woes into a teachable moment for all. She recently opened up about her money problems on her hit reality TV series, Braxton Family Values. In 2013, she released her latest album, Hurt You, with the help of her mentor, long-time friend Babyface. 

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The pop diva took a hiatus from public life after her breakdown on MTV’s TRL back in 2001. The singer later returned to the spotlight with a string of successful albums and motherhood (shoutout to Dem Babies!). She just signed on to guest star on Empire, and she's slated to make her directorial debut later this year with a Hallmark channel Christmas special. Oh! And she just secured her status with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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In 2006, Brandy was involved in a fatal car crash that claimed the life of a 38-year-old woman. The star opted to take a brief hiatus and came back in 2008, dropping multiple studio albums since then. She starred on Brandy & Ray J: A Family Business with her brother Ray J, and she's currently slaying Broadway as Chicago's first Black Roxie Hart. 

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The comedian suffered a meltdown on a busy Los Angeles street in 1996 when police picked him up for brandishing a gun. A few years later, he would check himself into rehab. The comedian came back to work in films like “Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins,” and “Big Momma’s House.” Sony Pictures announced yesterday it would be producing two more sequels in the Bad Boys franchise, but no word yet on whether Martin would be reprising his role! 

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A string of bizarre events shaped the boxing champ’s early career — from his abusive relationship with ex-wife Robin Givens to ravenously (and infamously) biting off Evander Holyfield’s ear. The ex-heavyweight has since rehabilitated his career, starring in Hollywood blockbusters like The Hangover

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The rap mogul had his share of troubles when he was indicted for weapons and gun charges in 2000. Diddy was acquitted with the help of the late Johnnie Cochran, Jr. “I’ve changed, I’ve matured,” he told Time. “This whole thing has made me deeper.” He has gone on to build an empire, and in recent weeks has teased a Bad Boy reunion.

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T.I. has had his share of bad press. The rapper has served time for both weapons and drug charges, but is now back on the scene, after completing his new book, “Power & Beauty: A Love Story of Life on the Streets.” He tied the knot with Tiny five years ago—and their love is still going strong!