Remembering the Black Celebrities, We Lost in 2022Jan 16, 2023 02:00PM ● By Boitumelo Masihleho
In 2022, we've sadly said goodbye to many notable celebrities and other influential people. FunTimes Magazine commemorates some of the Black stars we lost last year and remembers their achievements.
Sir Sidney Poitier
Groundbreaking actor Sidney Poitier died at his home in Los Angeles on January 6, 2022. He was 94 years old. Poitier was the first Black man to win the Best Actor Oscar. He also received a Grammy Award, two Golden Globe Awards, and a British Academy Film Award. Poitier received numerous honorariums during his lifetime including the Academy Honorary Award for his lifetime achievement in film in 2001. In 2009, Poitier was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President Barack Obama. He was also named an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 1974.
André Leon Talley
Fashion icon André Leon Talley died from an undisclosed illness in a hospital in White Plains, NY, on January 18, 2022, at the age of 73. Talley served the pages of Vogue for more than 40 years. He was Vogue's creative director, from 1988 to 1995, and was editor-at-large from 1998 to 2013. Additionally, he acted as a fashion advisor to the Obamas in 2008, introducing Michelle Obama to the designer Jason Wu, who went on to design her inaugural gown. In 2020, France awarded him the Chevalier de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres honor for arts and letters. He released The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir in 2020. In it, he chronicles his start in New York City in the 1970s, his tumultuous relationship with Wintour, and his experiences with racism in the fashion world, and it became a New York Times Best Seller.
Legendary funk and soul singer Betty Davis, lauded as an ahead-of-her-time performer that blended much of her signature swagger to her short-term husband Miles Davis, passed away at the age of 77 on February 9. After graduating from New York's Fashion Institute of Technology, Davis worked as a model for Wilhelmina and became one of the first Black models to be featured in magazines Glamour and Seventeen. She became a dual force in singing and modeling, bringing her visionary performance skills to the studio and becoming one of the first Black women to write, arrange, and produce her own albums. More recently, Davis’ music was featured in television series such as Orange Is the New Black, Girlboss, Mixed-ish, and High Fidelity.
The Brazilian soccer legend and record-holding winner of three World Cups, died on December 29, 2022, as a result of multiple organ failure from complications from colon cancer at 82 years old. Considered one of soccer's greatest players, Pelé helped to popularize the game, particularly in the United States, during his banner years in the 1960s and 70s. He was the only soccer player ever to compete in four World Cups and to win three in 1958, 1962, and 1970. Also, an accomplished musician, he composed music, including the soundtrack for 1977's Pelé, and recorded albums of popular Brazilian music. He penned several autobiographies, including 1977's My Life and the Beautiful Game, which helped associate the phrase "the beautiful game" with soccer from that point on.
South African rapper, songwriter, singer, composer, actor, entrepreneur, and fashion designer, Rikhado Makhado, who went by the stage name Riky Rick died on February 23, 2022, at the age of 34. The rapper who was very open about battling depression took his own life. He was also the founder and owner of the record label Cotton Club Records and a member of Boyz N Bucks. Riky Rik rose to mainstream fame in 2014 with the hit single "Nafukwa". His first studio album, aptly named Family Values, included the hit song "Boss Zonke". His music fused a charismatic blend of hip-hop and kwaito - a uniquely South African take on house music.
Singer, actress, host, and reality star Traci Braxton passed away on March 11 after a lengthy battle with cancer. She was 50 years old. In addition to being a talented writer, singer, radio host, and television personality Traci contributed much of her adult life to social work for children with disabilities. In 2011, Traci reunited with her sisters for the WE TV reality show Braxton Family Values. Traci began her acting in movies in 2018. She was featured as Nana in the 2018's movie Sinners Wanted and in 2019's All In as a foster mom.
Coolio, the rapper and actor behind such '90s hits as the Grammy-winning "Gangsta's Paradise" and "Fantastic Voyage," died in September 2022 at 59. His cause of death was not announced. Coolio first achieved success with his 1994 debut album It Takes a Thief, spawning the hit "Fantastic Voyage." The following year he appeared on the soundtrack to the Michelle Pfeiffer film Dangerous Minds with "Gangsta's Paradise." One of the most successful rap songs of all time, it was the top song of 1995, spending three weeks at No. 1, and winning the 1996 Grammy for Best Rap solo performance. He recorded a total of eight studio albums and acted in a number of films and TV shows, including Batman & Robin, Martin, The Nanny, and All That. Famously, Coolio also recorded the theme song to the show Kenan & Kel.
Nichelle Nichols was an American actress, singer, and dancer best known for her portrayal of Nyota Uhura in Star Trek and its film sequels. Nichols' portrayal of Uhura was groundbreaking for African American actresses on American television. From 1977 until 2015, Nichols volunteered her time to promote NASA's programs and recruit diverse astronauts, including some of the first female and ethnic minority astronauts. Asteroid 68410 Nichols is named in her honor. She also received The Life Career Award, from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films, in 2016, the first woman to receive it.
Kirsnick Khari Ball, known professionally as Takeoff, was an American rapper and he was sadly murdered on November 1, 2022. He was best known as the youngest member of the hip hop trio Migos along with his uncle Quavo and first cousin once removed Offset. Their breakthrough single, "Versace," came out in 2013, the album Yung Rich Nation followed in 2015 The group scored multiple top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 including "MotorSport" featuring Nicki Minaj and Cardi B, "Stir Fry", "Walk It Talk It" featuring Drake, and "Bad and Boujee" featuring Lil Uzi Vert. Takeoff made his own full-length debut in November 2018 with The Last Rocket, which debuted in the Top Four on both the R&B/hip-hop chart and the Billboard 200. He also received two Grammy Award nominations.
The death of beauty expert and entrepreneur AJ Crimson was announced by a dear friend of his on March 30 via Instagram. The Founder and CEO of AJ Crimson Beauty was considered a pioneer in the cosmetics industry. Crimson’s clients included Fergie, Missy Elliot, Amerie, LeToya Luckett, Keyshia Cole, Angela Bassett, and Raven-Symoné. AJ Crimson Beauty products have ripped runways and been used on the sets of highly watched TV shows such as Scandal, The View, The Real, American Horror Story, and on box-office smash hit movies like The Hunger Games. Crimson also worked on the latest Marvel movie, Blank Panther: Wakanda Forever before his untimely death.
South African actress Busisiwe Lurayi, perhaps best known for her starring role in the 2021 Netflix film How To Ruin Christmas: The Wedding, tragically passed away on July 10, 2022. Busi’s acting career took off when she scooped a role in 2013 during a musical remake of Sarafina. She made a guest appearance on the medical show drama series ER in 2016. In 2006 she won the inaugural South African Film and Television Awards for Best Supporting Actress in a TV Comedy, for her role as Phumzile on the sitcom City Ses’la from 2005 to 2006.
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Boitumelo Masihleho is a South African digital content creator. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Rhodes University in Journalism and Media Studies and Politics and International Studies.
She's an experienced multimedia journalist who is committed to writing balanced, informative and interesting stories on a number of topics. Boitumelo has her own YouTube channel where she shares her love for affordable beauty and lifestyle content.
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