2020 has been one hell of a year and will definitely be one that will be in the history books. 20 years from now, many of us will be telling our kids about this crazy year that was filled with wildfires, UFO, monoliths and this never ending (as it feels) COVID-19 pandemic that has everyone rocking ninja mask to go to the grocery store. But I think what let me know it was about to be a sad year was when legendary basketball player Kobe Bryant passed away from a helicopter accident. To take it over the edge for me, is when news came out that he was with his daughter. That feeling alone I will never forget as I got home after hanging with my own dad that day and probably hugged my almost 1 year old daughter at time tighter than ever before. 2020 many of us cried, reflected and hopefully found some light at the tunnel, but here are 8 black celebrity men we lost in 2020, but we will never forget.
NBA legend, Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, CA in January. Traveling with eight other people, including his 13-year old daughter Gianna, the helicopter crashed amid foggy conditions and left no survivors.
The Black Mamba spent 20 years in the NBA and all 20 were with the Los Angeles Lakers. Looked at as one of the greatest players of all time, Bryant took the Lakers to win five NBA championships and was an 18-time All-Star. In his career Kobe also played in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics, he won two gold medals as a member of the U.S. national team.
Almost a month after he won the lifetime achievement award at CMAs, Black, trailblazing country musician, Charley Pride passed away at the age of 86 from COVID-19 complications. Announced on his facebook page it stated, “It is with great sadness that we confirm that Charley Pride passed away this morning, Saturday, December 12, 2020, in Dallas, Texas of complications from Covid-19 at age 86. He was admitted to the hospital in late November with Covid-19 type symptoms and despite the incredible efforts, skill and care of his medical team over the past several weeks, he was unable to overcome the virus.”
Pride’s rise began in the late 60’s and he continued to be one of Country most sought after artist well into the 80’s. Pride had 30 number 1 hit songs on Billboard Country music charts and had a wopping 52 top 10 hits over the course of his career.
Pride had influenced many black country singers to tread into the Country music world such as Jimmy Allen, Darius Rucker, Kane Brown, Mickey Guyton, Cowboy Troy and many more!
Chadwick Boseman who gained much attention as his role as T’Challa in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movie Black Panther, died in August at the age of 43. During fighting a four year battle with colon cancer, Boseman gave not only black americans, but America some of the best movies we should never forget.
From ‘Get on Up’ the biopic about legendary musician James Brown, to ’42’ the biopic about LA Dodgers Legend Jackie Robinson who broke barriers in MLB. Chadwick Boseman’s list of movies also include ‘9 Kisses’, ‘Gods of Egypt’, ‘Captain America: Civil War’, ‘Message from the King’, ‘Marshall’, ‘Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame’, ’21 Bridges’, ‘Da 5 Bloods’ and his last movie that was just released on Netflix, “Ma ‘Rainey’s Black Bottom’
You will truly be missed and it’s always will be Wakanda Forever.
The REAL King of Rock and Roll, Little Richard died this year on May 9 from bone cancer. He was 87. Little Richard who was known for hits songs such as “Tutti Frutti”, “Long Tall Sally” and many more, was born Richard Wayne Penniman in Macon, GA. With his music, Richard broke barriers as he helped with the integration of White American and African Americans all with the power of music.
Many of the “legends” that the World thinks of today was inspired, if not, taught by Little Richard. This list includes The Beatles (who he taught how to sing his music), Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Bill Haley, Jerry Lee Lewis and more.
Little Richard was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of it’s first group of inductees in 1986. Within his career he has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy, Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation and Hall of Fame Award from the NAACP Image Award.
Civil Right icon and Congressman, John Lewis died at the age of 80 years old in July after battling stage four pancreatic cancer. The man who has been known to cause “Good Trouble” was an American politician, statesman and civil rights activist. Lewis also served the House of Representatives for Georgia’s 5th congressional district from 1987 until his death in 2020.
Before his career in politics Lewis was one of the “bix six” (which included Martin Luther King Jr., James Farmer, John Lewis, A. Philip Randolph, Roy Wilkins and Whitney Young) leaders who organized the 1963 March on Washington and help to end legalized racial segregation in the United States.
Even though black Americans continue to fight for equal rights, many of the rights that we have today are because of the sacrifics of this man and so many more.
Born Cordy Tindell Vivian, but known as C.T. Vivian was a civil rights leader and field general for Martin Luther King Jr. He died at the age of 95 on July 17. C.T. Vivian was also a minister, author and founded the C.T. Vivian Leadership Institute, Inc.
The also, Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity member was known by Martin Luther King Jr. as “the greatest preacher to ever live.”
Uptown Records founder, Andre Harrell died at the age of 59 in May. Known for discovering Sean “Diddy” Combs and managing Motown Records, his death was concluded, but according to Wendy Credle, Harrell’s ex-wife, he had been suffering from heart problems in the time leading up to his death.
Born Wayde Douglas Bowles, but known as Rocky Johnson passed away at the age of 75. As you can figure, Rocky Johnson is the father of actor and former WWE wrestler, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, but also was a WWE Hall of Famer, former World Tag Team Champion which also came the first African American Tag Team champions.
At the age of 16, Johnson moved to Toronto, where his wrestling career began. In the beginning he actually trained as a boxer and even sparred with legends such as Muhammad Ali and George Foreman at the beginning of their careers.
Johnson was announced as an inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame along with is father-in-law on February 25, 2008.