2009: Not A Spectacular Year, But A Memorable One

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    Time flies when you’re…well, you fill in the blank.

    The last twelve months — which seemed to go by at an accelerated pace — have been full of ups, downs, recoveries, relapses, changes, surprises, bad times, good times, and everything in between.

    Hopefully, 2010 will be special.

    A lot of interesting things happened in 2009 in the world of show business, which is unlike any other place else in the universe.

    After eons of being a dominant factor on afternoon TV, OPRAH WINFREY announced that she will bring her celebrated talk show to an end in 2011. But not to worry: She is starting her own cable network.

    To say 2009 was a great year for the BLACK EYED PEAS would be an understatement. The unique, multicultural band was everywhere, and the sales of their exciting album, “The E.N.D.,” continue to be through the roof.

    WHITNEY HOUSTON made a highly publicized return after rising from the depths of drug abuse hell. People were happy to see her back, and her album, “I Look to You,” was well received. However, during certain television appearances, especially “Good Morning America,” it was apparent that her voice has been, to some extent, damaged.

    It sounds so strange to say “the late MICHAEL JACKSON.” His passing was the biggest shock of the year. Jackson, the ultimate megastar, made an impact that was as awesome as the loyalty of his fans, who stuck by him through everything. Nothing can ever change the fact that he was one of the greatest entertainers in the history of show business.

    We also had to say farewell to, among others, television news legend WALTER CRONKITE, songstress MARY TRAVERS (of Peter, Paul and Mary), author E. LYNN HARRIS, comedian SOUPY SALES, comedic actress BEA ARTHUR, actor (and dancer) PATRICK SWAYZE, actress ALAINA REED HALL (“227”), songwriter ELLIE GREENWICH, actress FARRAH FAWCETT and former “Tonight Show” sidekick ED McMAHON.

    Following an incredibly long absence, MAXWELL finally re-emerged with “BLACKsummers’night.” Fortunately for him, his fans had not given up.

    Detroit’s own KIMMIE HORNE made her first jazz album, titled “Loving This Jazz,” and did a good job.

    One of the biggest scandals of the year was CHRIS BROWN brutalizing his girlfriend, RIHANNA. No one knows all the details, but there was a strong backlash against Brown from the public and the industry. However, he apologized to Rihanna and to the public, and also paid his dues after his sentencing. Rihanna’s album, “Rated R,” is a smash and, surprisingly, Brown has made major inroads with his album, “Graffiti.”

    PAULA ABDUL, the popular, and sometimes unpredictable, “American Idol” judge since the show’s inception, will not be returning next season. Her replacement, much to the surprise of everyone, will be Ellen DeGeneres.

    After dating for only one month, LAMAR ODOM of the Los Angeles Lakers married model and “celebutante” KHLOE KARDASHIAN.

    The sex scandal involving the world’s greatest, and highest paid, golfer, TIGER WOODS, continues to generate headlines. (Sure it’s newsworthy, but in the greater scheme of things, it’s not that important.)

    MOTOWN celebrated its 50th anniversary throughout the year, culminating with a big bash at the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Hotel. (Still no Diana Ross, though. One has to wonder why she never participates in these events.)

    One of weirdest and most unsettling stories of the year involved actress MACKENZIE PHILLIPS revealing that her father, the late JOHN PHILLIPS from the famed pop/rock group the Mamas and Papas, had a long incestuous relationship with her.

    “HAIR,” the “tribal love rock musical” that became a sensation in the 1960s and gave us hit songs such as “Aquarius,” “Easy To Be Hard” and “Let the Sunshine In,” returned to Broadway and was and continues to be a huge success. (The original “Hair” also introduced the public to, among others, Melba Moore and Ronnie Dyson.)

    Once again, KANYE WEST behaved arrogantly and with a substantial amount of ignorance. At the Video Music Awards, he leaped on stage while country star Taylor Swift was being honored and rudely interrupted. Viewers found this appalling.

    JAY LENO’s 10 p.m. prime time variety/talk/music show was introduced. Unfortunately, response has been lukewarm. Nothing against Leno. It’s just that people are in the habit of watching other types of programs at that time. Plus, shows like this work better in late-night time slots.

    Detroit’s own BETTYE LAVETTE finally became a bona fide star. She even sang for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

    KEM, the singer/musician from Detroit with two Gold albums to his credit, showed a great amount of community compassion by giving a free concert at Cass Park. The purpose was to raise money for and bring attention to the homeless, drug addicted, etc. Kem rose from just such a background.

    At long last, SADE returned with new material.

    One of the most talented, talked about and outrageous contestants on “American Idol,” ADAM LAMBERT, was first runner-up, but based on popularity, record sales and press coverage, actually won the competition. Also, Lambert is not at all ashamed of being gay, which is as it should be because it isn’t bad and isn’t good. It just is.

    Detroit voters decided that although they respected MARTHA REEVES for her history-making achievements during Motown’s golden era, they were not satisfied with the job she was doing as a member of Detroit City Council. So they did not return her to office. (She was still, however, far better than the embarrassing Monica Conyers.)

    BARACK OBAMA, the first Black president of the United States, announced that when and if a movie is made on his life, he would be pleased to have Will Smth portray him. (He joked that they both have ears that stick out.)
    As hard as it is to believe, the legendary TINA TURNER reached the big 7-0.

    And speaking of age, a number of top stars turned 60 in 2009 and continue to prove that this milestone age does not signal the beginning of the end of a career. On the contrary, they are all going strong.

    The “60 Club” includes PAM GRIER, LIONEL RICHIE, BRUCE SPRING­STEEN, GEORGE FOREMAN, PAUL SHAFFER, BRENDA RUSSELL, RICHARD GERE, VERA WANG, FRANKLIN AJAYE, TOM JOYNER, MERYL STREEP, LARRY HOLMES, PHILIP MICHAEL THOMAS, LORETTA DEVINE, GLORIA GAYNOR, JEFF BRIDGES, AHMAD RASHAD and SHELLY LONG.

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