The Year in Pop Culture

The Year in Pop Culture

Amber McKynzie looks back at 2012’s most memorable entertainment news stories

December 31, 2012


From Blue Ivy's birth to Kevin Clash’s child abuse charges, 2012 has been quite a year for the entertainment industry. Not leaving a moment to rest, the year that was supposed to be the end of the world was instead marked by unbelievable events. Take a look back at the biggest pop culture moments:

Whitney Houston's Death: News headlines have been wrought with shock-and-awe moments this year, but there’s only one that still leaves entertainment lovers breathless. The music world came to halt Feb 11, the night before the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, when the media swarmed with reports of that R&B diva Whitney Houston had died at the Beverly Hilton Hotel just hours before she was set to attend Clive Davis’ pre-Grammy party. Rumors quickly circulated as to who made the 911 call, and what caused her death—Ray J was blamed in the beginning—but even after fingers were pointed in every direction, the public still had to face that music’s legendary songstress had passed.

Chris Lighty Commits Suicide: After battling extreme money problems and never-ending marital struggles, Chris Lighty committed suicide in his Bronx, New York home this August. Said to owe an estimated $5 million in taxes and $53,584 to City National Bank in overdraft fees—according to the NY Post—the Violator executive argued with his estranged wife, Veronica, went into his backyard and fired his gun. The news brought the hip-hop world to its knees, as Lighty worked with the likes of P. Diddy, Mariah Carey, Ja Rule, 50 Cent, Missy Elliott and Busta Rhymes during his impactful career.

Octavia Spencer Wins Oscar For Best Supporting Actress: This past February marked a new place in Black history as Octavia Spencer took home the award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Minny in The Help (2011). The Alabama native became only the fifth Black actress to ever win an Oscar. There was a mixture of excitement for Spencer and eye rolling over the role that brought her the statue, as the actress portrayed a maid.

The Birth of Blue Ivy: After years of rumor and controversy, Beyoncé Knowles and Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter finally brought an heiress into the world. Blue Ivy Carter was born at New York City’s Lenox Hill Hospital, on Manhattan’s Upper Eastside, January 7, 2012. But her birth wasn’t all smiles for everyone. Expressions of joy and anger surfaced the Net as many in need of the hospital claimed to be denied service because Jay and Bey allegedly bought out an entire wing of the medical center to ensure security. One man even claimed he wasn’t allowed to see his newborn twins because security to entertainment’s royal couple wouldn’t permit him to enter the newborn nursery.

Chris Brown vs. Rihanna and Karrueche:  Chris Brown’s love affairs have been no secret to the media since his pre-Grammy beating in 2009. Radio, television and print outlets have kept close watch on R&B’s bad boy since the incident, and the attention certainly didn’t let up this year. C. Breezy started dating the exotic looking Karrueche Tran in late 2011. But while the two appeared to be living in paradise, they announced their break-up in October and Brown released a video telling fans he’s in love with two people. His “other love” was no secret, as he was soon after spotted with Rihanna over a long weekend. But the moment the media blinked, the singer-turned-rapper was having slumber parties with Karrueche.The three have played out their relationships quite messily over Twitter and Instagram and it doesn't appear like they'll be much more discreet in the year to come.30. And if that isn’t enough, she got the chance to perform alongside Alicia Keys, at the singer’s request, during this year’s MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles.

Frank Ocean Comes Out: On July 4, days before the release of his debut album, Channel Orange, Frank Ocean penned a letter to his fans via his Tumblr page, telling the world that his first love was a man. The R&B and hip-hop world are known for their homophobic ways, but entertainment’s heavyweights rallied together in support of the rising star. Not only did Russell Simmons and 50 Cent speak on Ocean’s behalf, Beyoncé also spoke in favor of the NoLa singer’s decision to open up about former affair. “Be fearless, be honest, be generous,” Bey wrote in a poem dedicated to Ocean. While many were nervous, the Odd Future-affiliated artist’s testimony didn’t affect his album’s ranking or sales. The LP went on to rank on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart, coming in at No. 2, followed by more that 131,000 units sold during its first week.

Kevin Clash Accused of Child Molestation: Elmo is nearly everyone’s favorite Sesame Street character. But the innocence of Elmo came to a screeching halt when Kevin Clash, the voice of the wiggly red puppet, was accused of sexual abuse at the beginning of November. While the the initial accuser recanted his statement, an alleged four victims have come forward saying they engaged in a sexual relationship with Clash while under age. Since the second accusation, the Elmo personality has resigned from the PBS children’s show, and continues to face federal lawsuits from his alleged teenage lovers.

Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson Abuses Evelyn Lozada: On Saturday, August 11, former Miami Dolphins receiver, Chad Ochocinco, was arrested for domestic violence against his new wife, Basketball Wives star, Evelyn Lozada, less than 60 days after their dream wedding. The newlyweds’ fight started over a receipt found in the trunk of their car that rang up a box of condoms that weren’t being used by the VH1 reality star. As the two engaged in a heated argument outside of their home, the Florida linebacker decided to head-butt his wife. Johnson was taken in and held at Broward Country Jail until he could appear before a judge.  After being charged with simple battery Ochocinco was quickly released from the Miami Dolphins, and VH1 decided to cancel the couple’s reality show Ev & Ocho, which was scheduled to premiere September 3.

Rick Ross vs. Young Jeezy at the 2012 BET Hip-Hop Awards: As hundreds gathered in Atlanta this September, to honor hip-hop’s greatest, two rap rivals just couldn’t seem to keep the peace. Rick Ross and Young Jeezy caused quite a scene backstage during the final performance of the show, which was honoring the late Violator music executive, Chris Lighty.  After the typical pushing and shoving, the fight spilled into the Atlanta Convention Center’s back parking lot where additional artists joined the brawl including MMG rapper Gunplay, who was jumped by 50 Cent’s security. The altercation caused whispers throughout the convention center, and moments later the incident was trending on Twitter. Soon after, footage surfaced on none other than the infamous

Kanye West & Kim Kardashian Make It Official: Five months after filing for irrevocable differences from husband Kris Humphries, Kim K. was mysteriously back it at with none other than Kanye West. While many thought the “relationship” was just a publicity stunt, the two seem to be holding on strong.

Wiz Khalifa & Amber Rose Announce Baby On the Way: One year after Jay-Z and Beyoncé shared their excitement over their pregnancy at the VMAs, Wiz Khalifa and Amber Rose announced that Amber was a mom-to-be on the show's red carpet. The Pennsylvania-bred couple announced their engagement earlier this year, and said they would make it all official before the baby comes. Little “Kahlifa-Rose,” as Wiz puts it, is due any day now.

Floyd Mayweather Turns Himself in for Three-Month Jail Sentence: Nearly two years after attacking his ex-girlfriend in front two of their children, Floyd Mayweather Jr. finally turned himself in to complete a three-month jail sentence in Las Vegas. While acknowledging “time served,” or in Mayweather’s case, completing domestic violence counseling and community service hours, the five-time champion was handcuffed and taken away not saying a word. Mayweather entered a plea deal, which prevented him from serving up to 34 years in jail if he was found guilty. After a brief two months behind bars, the heavyweight was released one month early.



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