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Thread: Pop-Culture Highlights of 2012 - MJ #11

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    Default Pop-Culture Highlights of 2012 - MJ #11

    15 Black Pop-Culture Highlights of 2012

    From bath-salt mania to sweet little Blue Ivy, these people and things defined the year.
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    Rudy Eugene (; Beyoncé with Blue Ivy (

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    --><!--paging_filter-->From bath-salt mania to sweet little Blue Ivy, these people and things defined the year.

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    --><!--paging_filter-->(The Root) -- It's been a roller-coaster year for black pop culture. We lost a queen and celebrated a king -- with the death of R&B diva Whitney Houston and the anniversary of pop megastar Michael Jackson's Thriller and Bad albums -- and hip-hop royalty gave us our first heir apparent, Jay-Z and Beyoncé's little Blue Ivy Carter. Here's The Root's list of the most commemorative and cringeworthy moments in 2012.

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    • 1. The Birth of Jay-Z and Beyoncé's Daughter

      Jay-Z and Beyoncé with Blue Ivy (

      "The most beautifulest thing in this world is Daddy's little girl," raps "Big Pimpin' " proud papa Jay-Z on the song "Glory," released after the birth of his daughter, Blue Ivy Carter. One would guess Blue's life is anything but -- jet-setting off to playdates in St. Tropez and stunting in diamond-studded baby booties. Still, mama Beyoncé gushed that it's all about the little things: "I love changing diapers; I love it. I love every moment of it, it's so beautiful."
    • 2. The Birth of Kimye and Retread of Chrihanna

      Kanye West and Kim Kardashian (Steve Mack/Getty Images Entertainment); Rihanna and Chris Brown (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

      What's in a name? Try everything. Just ask Kimye, the tabloid-loving mashup of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West; or Chris Brown and Rihanna, Twitter-known as Chrihanna. Both couples can't seem to make a move without the cameras or the speculation. Once the media bestow a twosome title, it's a done deal no matter how doomed the situation looks. So watch out, Olivia and Fitz -- or should we say Olitz.
    • 3. Black Film Highlights

      Hart in Think Like a Man (; Corinealdi in Middle of Nowhere (; Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild (

      Whoever said that black folks won't see a movie without Madea must have missed the recent tidal wave of exceptional black cinema. From the box office success of the big-screen adaptation of Steve Harvey's Think Like a Man (yep, it really was funny) to the praise for Ava DuVernay's indie hit Middle of Nowhere, black film has been redefined. Kevin Hart is now comedy gold, and Beasts of the Southern Wild actress 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis could win a little gold man.
    • 4. The London Olympics

      Jason Kempin/Getty Images

      At the 2012 summer Olympics, the U.S. didn't just rack up the most gold; we also got the athlete with the golden heart -- newly minted American sweetheart 16-year-old gymnast Gabrielle Douglas. Adding to the list of black accomplishments were tennis icon Serena Williams, who won her first gold medal in the singles event; and Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, who beat himself for the world record.
    • 5. The Death of Music Icons

      Whitney Houston (Bertrand Guay/AFP); Don Cornelius (Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment); Donna Summer (Ethan Miller/Getty)

      Whitney Houston cemented herself as a pop legend by blowing audiences away with the soundtrack of 1992's The Bodyguard. So it's no surprise that her final performance would be another effortless mix of music and movie in the remake of Sparkle. In that film, Houston shined brighter than she had in a long while, reminding fans why they missed her. Other titans in American music whose work is so ever present it can't possibly be missed: Soul Train creator Don Cornelius and the woman who defined disco, Donna Summer.
    • 6. Bath-Salt Mania

      Rudy Eugene (

      Obsessive fans of AMC's zombie drama Walking Dead collectively freaked when the bath-salt craze hit the newswire. The synthetic drug was rumored to gift its users with sensations of invincibility, superhuman strength and, most "walker"-like, cravings for human flesh. A strange case of an allegedly salted-out cannibal in Florida most likely spiked the sales of Home Depot's "doomsday kits." Rudy Eugene wasn't actually on bath salts, but the story had already become legend by the time the toxicology reports came out.
    • 7. Frank Ocean Shocks Urban Music

      Frank Ocean at the 2012 VMAs (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

      The pronoun police caught up with R&B crooner Frank Ocean just before the July release of his album, Channel Orange. Ocean distinctly sang to a "him" in the unrequited love song "Bad Religion," and the buzz about the singer's sexuality almost drowned out the record. In a letter posted to fans on his Tumblr page, Ocean effectively "came out" (although he eschews labels), divulging that he'd fallen in love with a male friend. Instead of imploding, hip-hop embraced Ocean's brilliant debut studio album.
    • 8. Reality-TV-Related Ratchet Behavior

      Chad Johnson and Evelyn Lozada (Gary Miller/Getty)

      Domestic violence and pop culture have been inextricably linked as of late. Reality stars get the worst of it -- from former NFLer Chad Johnson's assault on his estranged wife, Basketball Wives star Evelyn Lozada, to Love and Hip Hop flesh peddler Stevie J getting slapped by his mistress, fellow ratchet-monger Joseline. Table flipping, drink throwing and random malays are now must-see TV.
    • 9. Lauryn Hill Tax Evasion

      Lauryn Hill (Jason Miller/Getty Images Entertainment)

      This wasn't the comeback Lauryn Hill fans had been hoping for. In July the Grammy-winning songstress pleaded guilty to owing taxes on more than $1.5 million. On her Tumblr page, the Sister Act 2 star claimed that she was trying to protect her family: "I did whatever needed to be done in order to insulate my family from the climate of hostility, false entitlement, manipulation, racial prejudice, sexism and ageism that I was surrounded by." Oh, OK.
    • 10. Trayvon Martin Celebrity Hoodie Mania

      From top left: Roland Martin, the Miami Heat, Nelly, Carmelo Anthony, Diddy, Chad Dawson (

      Black male celebrities threw their hoods up to draw attention to the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin, who was wearing a hoodie when he was killed. CNN contributor Roland Martin, rap mogul Sean Combs, actor Jamie Foxx and the entire Miami Heat roster, among others, released pictures of themselves in hooded sweatshirts to demonstrate that anyone could look like Trayvon.
    • 11. Michael Jackson's Musical Anniversaries

      Doug Benc/Getty Images

      You know you're old when ... the undisputed King of Pop Michael Jackson's iconic albums Thriller and Bad are both celebrating anniversaries this year. It's been 30 years since my cousins tortured me by turning off all the lights and flipping on the "Thriller" music video, and 25 years since parking lots became the most likely stage of a spontaneously choreographed gang fight.
    • 12. Emergence of 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar

      2 Chainz (Chris McKay/Getty Images); Kendrick Lamar (Chris McKay/Getty Images)

      Judging by the number of voters who Facebooked and retweeted a picture of President Barack Obama as rapper 2 Chainz with the caption "#2Termz," the artist formerly known as "Tity Boi" has arrived. Riding on the same wave of "Where'd this guy come from" is West Coast rapper Kendrick Lamar, whose album Good Kid, M.A.A.D City debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200.
    • 13. Tupac Hologram

      Christopher Polk/Getty Images

      Rappers don't die; they magically digitize. Proof that Tupac was gone but not forgotten came this year when a CGI reincarnation of the murdered rapper appeared onstage at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April. The Tupac-gram even performed "2 of Amerika'z Most Wanted" with his old Death Row label mate Snoop Dogg -- er, Lion.
      The company behind the gimmick, Digital Domain Media Group, has since filed for bankruptcy.
    • 14. Black Nerdism: Melissa Harris-Perry, Kevin Durant, Donald Glover, Baratunde Thurston

      Harris-Perry (The Root); Glover (Chris McKay/Getty Images); Thurston (Jemal Countad/Getty); Durant (

      Being a nerd isn't all that bad, and being a black nerd is a brand you can take to the bank -- literally. Just ask newly nerd-flag-flying celebs like MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry, Community star Donald Glover and best-selling author Baratunde Thurston. For a quick lesson on how to dress the part, take a peek at geek-chic Oklahoma City Thunder player Kevin Durant's entire wardrobe.
    • 15. LeBron Quiets Doubters

      After suffering a season as the player fans loved to hate, King James shut down his detractors by winning the 2012 NBA finals in Game 5 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. In the final game, James scored his only triple-double of the season. The icing on the cake -- and the cherry on top? LeBron went on to be named league MVP, then won the gold at the London Olympics. Haters say what?

      Michael at #11. :wild:

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