As we look back on the year 2010, we remember those we lost. We said goodbye to trailblazers and legends. We started the year with the passing of Teddy Pendergrass and ended it with the death of Teena Marie. The music industry suffered a great loss with these two giants. In between, we remember Bernie Wilson of The Bluenotes, Legendary Broadcaster Malcolm Poindexter, Robert Wilson of The Gap Band, CBS News Reporter Harold Dow, Music Pioneer Weldon McDougall, Actress and Jazz Singer Abby Lincoln, Music Producer Harvey Fuqua, Ali Ollie Woodson of The Temptations, Ron Banks of The Dramatics, Marvin Isley of Isley Jasper Isley and The Isley Bothers, Actress Vonetta McGee, Legendary Broadcaster Reggie Bryant, Eunice Johnson of Johnson Publishing, Lena Horne, Bishop Walter Hawkins, Gospel Great Albertina Walker, Actor Gary Coleman, Music Pioneer Dick Griffey, Garry Shider, the longtime musical director of Parliament Funkadelic and Malinda Sapp, the wife of Gospel Singer Marvin Sapp.
2010 also brought us scandals and former American Idol Winner Fantasia led the pack. She got involved with a married man, got pregnant, tried to kill herself and her married boyfriend’s wife took her to court. In between, she won her court case released an album and went on tour.
Anita Baker almost went to jail for not cooperating with a divorce decree. She divorced her husband of 23 years Walter Bridgeforth, who was demanding money from her in royalties. She cried to the judge, said she didn’t understand and was spared a jail sentence.
DeShawn Snow got dumped from The Real Housewives Of Atlanta and lost her husband former Basketball Player Eric Snow. He got his girlfriend pregnant and dumped DeShawn, but it was DeShawn who got the last laugh. She got paid, and now she is getting a new reality show focusing on her new life as a single woman with kids.
Late Night Talk Show Host and Comedian George Lopez announced he was divorcing his wife Ann Serrano after getting her kidney and 17 years of marriage. Speaking of kidneys, Comedian/Actor Tracy Morgan got a new kidney a few weeks ago.
Elin Woods divorced Golfer Tiger Woods and got over $200 million plus the kids. She made Tiger pay for his cheating.
Former Football Great Lawrence Taylor found himself facing a third degree rape charge.
Beyonce’s dad Matthew Knowles had to admit The Kid Is His Son. His mistress was able to prove he fathered a child by her and for a while Matthew and his wife Tina Knowles separated.
Tiki Barber found himself in hot water when he dumped his pregnant wife Ginny Cha, who was carrying twins, for a 23-year old blonde intern. He lost his gig on The Today Show and definitely got the title of Cad Of The Year.
Morgan Freeman divorced his wife of 26 years and she got paid. Myrna Freeman got a nice settlement: $400 million in cash and real estate. She put up with his cheating for a while. The 73-year old Oscar winner had been linked to various women.
Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s political career got railroaded when he admitted to cheating on his wife, Sandi.
Bishop Eddie Long made headlines when several young men came forward claiming the Bishop coerced them into sexual situations in exchange for money, jewels, cars, clothing and trips around the world. Bishop Long never admitted to any wrongdoing, but he is makings plans to settle out of court with the men.
The I.R.S. wants its money. They came after various celebrities including Actor Wesley Snipes, who went to jail, Comedians Sinbad, Chris Tucker and Katt Williams, Singer Kelly Roland of Destiny’s Child, Basketball Star Derrick Coleman, Singer Toni Braxton, who filed for bankruptcy for a second time, Actor Morris Chestnut, Terrence Howard, Singer Faith Evans and Actor Boris Kodjoe.
Eddie Murphy’s ex-wife Nicole is also in trouble with the I.R.S. The ex-Mrs. Murphy blew through a $15 million divorce settlement.
It was a good year for Talk Show Host and Comedienne Mo’Nique. She won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the movie Precious.
Patti LaBelle returned to Broadway in Fela.
Maxwell teamed up with Jill Scott and hit the road for an amazing tour.
2010 also served as the year of the comebacks. After a ten year absence, Sade returned. After 13 years and a short prison stint, El DeBarge came back with Second Chance. Kem, R Kelly and Ron Isley, all of whom returned from legal and personal struggles with new projects. In the literary world, Terry McMillan returned with Getting To Happy, a sequel to Waiting To Exhale, and Iyanla Van Zandt bounced back from heartbreak and loss with a new book Peace From Broken Pieces.
The Queen Of Soul Aretha Franklin also made headlines. She went on tour with former U.S. Secretary Of State Condoleezza Rice and performed at the Mann over the summer. Her oldest son Eddie was attacked in Detroit, and she had to be hospitalized for pancreatic cancer.
Singer Will Downing took a break from touring when he took ill. Downing is battling the muscle disorder polymyositis.
Let’s talk babies. Singer Alicia Keys got married and had a baby son with Producer Swizz Beatz, and Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon announced they are expecting twins next year.
Several stars returned to TV including Holly Robinson Peete in the daytime talker The Talk, Terrence Howard and Regina Hall joined the cast of Law And Order: Los Angeles, Michael Ealy joined the CBS show The Good Wife and Blair Underwood plays the president in the show The Event.
Michael Jackson made news. He is the top earning dead celebrity. Through various business deals, the Michael Jackson estate grossed over $285 million. Despite all that money, the Jackson family, led by Michael’s parents Joe and Katherine, are still at odds over money.
Actress Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for The Blind Side, and was blindsided herself when her husband was caught cheating on her. She kicked hubby Jesse James to the curb and adopted a beautiful baby boy Louis Bardo Bullock.
It was quite a year for Legendary Producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. An arson fire last February took part of their famed Philly International Records building. In May, they received doctorate degrees from Berklee College in Boston. And, in November, the Rock And Roll Hall Of Famers had a Philadelphia street named in their honor. Gamble And Huff Way is located on Broad Street’s Avenue Of The Arts between Spruce and Pine Streets.
Steve Harvey had an amazing year with another best selling book, Straight Talk No Chaser: How To Find, Understand And Keep A Man, and he’s the new host of the TV game show Family Feud.
The Dell East returned. The performance center at 33rd and Ridge had a two-year absence because of a huge renovation. We had quite a summer with Frankie Beverly And Maze, The Legends Of Funk, Marvin Sapp, Heads Of State Bobby Brown, Ralph Tresvant, Johnny Gill, Brian McKnight, The O’Jays, Dave Koz, Jonathan Butler, Sheila E, and Teena Marie’s final Dell East performance.
2010 also brought us instant celebs including General Larry Platt, a 63-year old civil rights activist who became an overnight sensation when he tried out for American Idol with the song Pants On The Ground.
The most watched youtube video was Antoine Dodson with The Intruder Song. He made headlines when he spoke out about a break in at his sister’s house. A pair of computer wizards put his news tape to audio and viral history was made.
Oprah Winfrey announced her next chapter and her plans to leave daytime TV. Oprah starts anew with her new network OWN in January 2011.
Two major tours are set to take place in 2011 including Prince with his Welcome To America tour, and Sade returns to America after an 11-year absence.
I have to say I love covering all aspects of entertainment, but covering death has to be the hardest part. The recent loss of Lady T, Teena Marie, still stings and oh how I miss Teddy…..Have a blessed New Year everybody…see you in the world of entertainment next year.