AFRO’s Arts and Culture highlights from 2022

2022 will go down in the history books as a wild ride for those who follow the latest happenings on the arts and culture scene. From Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg taking over the Super Bowl to slap heard around the world, courtesy of actor Will Smith, the unpredictable world of entertainment did not disappoint.

Temptations Musical

Photo Credit: Photo by Facebook/Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

“Ain’t Too Proud-The Life and Times of The Temptations” had its last Broadway performance on Jan. 16. A cast of talented artists then hit the road with the musical that details the story of the acclaimed, all-male Motown group. The Broadway play, which opened at the Imperial Theater in 2019, came to Baltimore in May 2022 with electric choreography and top notch lighting design. Soon, the jukebox musical will travel across the pond to premiere on the West End in March 2023.

Super Bowl 2022

Photo Credit: AP Photo

Dr. Dre took (far left) over the 2022 Super Bowl on Feb. 13 with a stunning performance that included Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dog and 50 cent. The artists garnered more than 103 million viewers with a set list that included hits like “The Next Episode,” “In Da Club,” and “Family Affair.”

Brittney Johnson

DC native Brittney Johnson made history on Feb. 14 after becoming the first Black woman to play Glinda in Stephen Schwartz’ “Wicked.” Johnson was the role’s understudy for three years before becoming the full-time good witch. The Tisch School of the Arts graduate previously appeared in “Les Miserables,” “Motown,” and “Sunset Boulevard.”

  1. Chris Rock slaps Will Smith at the Academy Awards
AP Photo

Actor Will Smith slapped host Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards, held on March 27, after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head. The “Red Table Talk” show host started shaving her head after a long struggle with alopecia. Later in the show, Smith won best supporting actor for his role in “King Richard.” The Academy decided to ban Smith from Academy Award ceremonies for 10 years in response to the incident.

Second Quarter (April – June)

64th Grammy Awards Show

At the 64th annual Grammy Awards Show, which aired on April 3, musical duo Silk Sonic swept the ceremony with their debut single, “Leave the Door Open.” Members Anderson. Paak and Bruno Mars received awards for record of the year, song of the year and best R&B song. The pair also tied with “Pick Up Your Feelings” singer Jazmin Sullivan, who won best R&B album and best R&B performance. But the big winner of the award show was Jazz singer Jon Batiste who took home 5 grammys, including album of the year for “We Are” and best music video for “Freedom.”

Andrew Woolfolk dies

American saxophonist Andrew Woolfolk died on April 24 after a six-year battle with an undisclosed illness and complications from a serious stroke. The Texas native, who was raised in Colorado, was a longtime member of Earth, Wind & Fire. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer was 71 when he died.

Kevin Samuels dies at 53

Kevin Samuels made a name for himself by sharing his controversial views regarding Black men and women and relationships. The 53-year-old’s unexpected death of hypertension on May 5 split the Black community in half, with some grieving his death and others celebrating.

Rihanna and ASAP Rocky gave birth to their first child

Barbadian pop and R&B singer Rihanna and American rapper A$AP Rocky gave birth to their first child on May 13. The baby boy’s name has yet to be shared with the public, but his image was disclosed on Dec. 17, after paparazzi took photos of the child against the couple’s wishes. In turn, Rihanna decided to release her son’s image on her own terms before the paparazzi’s pictures could surface and make the tabloid rounds.

Master P Miller loses his daughter to drug addiction

Tytyana Miller Overdose- Further highlighting the devastating effects of the opioid epidemic in the Black community, multi-platinum artist Percy “Master P” Miller lost his daughter on May 28. The 25-year-old died of fentanyl intoxication after years of struggling with drug addiction.

DMV wins big at Tony’s

Bowie State University senior Myles Frost won best performance by an actor in a leading role for his performance in “MJ the Musical” at the 75th Tony Awards, held on June 12. At 22, Frost beat out notable Broadway names, including Billy Crystal and Hugh Jackman. This was his first nomination and award.

Dean of Howard University’s College of Fine Arts Phylicia Rashad, best known for her role as Clair Huxtable on “The Cosby Show,” won her second Tony Award for her performance in “Skeleton Crew.” She received best featured actress in a play for her role as Faye.

Versus TV continues its live-stream competitive performances

Verzuz TV continued the popular live-stream competition, created during the COVID-19, into 2022 with match-ups that included American singer-songwriters Jill Scott and Erykah Badu. R&B singer Omarion was no match for Baltimore native Mario, who brutally eliminated his completion one smooth croon at a time on June 24.

Third Quarter (July – September)

PnB Rock shot and killed in California Roscoe’s

  • On Sep. 12, American rapper PnB Rock, legally named Rakim Hasheem Allen, was robbed and killed at a Roscoe’s House of Chicken ‘N Waffles restaurant in Los Angeles. Three people have been arrested in relation to the robbery and murder: 40-year-old Freddie Lee Trone, his 17-year-old son and Shauntel Trone, who is being charged with accessory after the fact.

Black actresses of Abbott Elementary win big

Sheryl Lee Ralph poses in the press room with the award for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series for “Abbott Elementary” at the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards on Monday, Sept. 12, 2022, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Quinta Brunson, winner of the Emmy for outstanding writing for a comedy series for “Abbott Elementary,” poses in the press room at the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards on Monday, Sept. 12, 2022, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
  • “Abbott Elementary,” a mockumentary about an underfunded public school in Philadelphia, revived the network sitcom and won big at the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards, held on Sep. 12. Quinta Brunson became the first Black woman to be nominated for three Emmys this year for her work as part of the cast of Abbott Elementary, which took home the top prize for having the best writing for a comedy series. The same show also garnered Sherly Lee Ralph an Emmy for best supporting actress in a comedy series. Ralph, best known for portraying Deena Jones in the premiere of Broadway’s Dreamgirls, won best supporting actress in a comedy series. Her acceptance speech, which included Ralph singing a portion of Dianne Reeves’ “Endangered Species” has become one of the most iconic in the history of the award show.

Fourth Quarter (October – December)

TD Jakes passes the torch to his daughter

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR TD JAKES MINISTRIES – Bishop TD Jakes symbolically passes the torch of his women’s conference to his daughter Sarah Jakes Roberts as her husband, Touré Roberts, watches during the conclusion of Woman, Thou Art Loosed! The Grand Finale. on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022 in Atlanta. (Rita Harper/AP Images for TD Jakes Ministries)
  • TD Jakes passed the torch to his daughter, Pastor Sarah Jakes Roberts, on Oct. 3 after decades of leadership in the faith community. Jakes will be in charge of leading the Woman, Thou Art Loosed ministry. The ceremonial handoff took place at the closing events of the Woman, Thou Art Loosed! annual conference at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. While anointing Roberts, Jakes said, “With every drop of oil that falls upon your head, may the strength and power of the almighty God rest upon your life.”

Hollywood amplifies the Till name

  • In 2022 Hollywood said the name of 14-year-old Emmett Till again and again as major networks and film production companies remembered his story. On Jan. 6 ABC premiered “Women of the Movement,” recounting the story of Mamie Till-Mobley and her son Emmett, and on October 14, Chinonye Chukwu released her second film, “Till.”

Howard Alumni uncovers the horrors of private prisons in a new film

Takeoff shot and killed outside a Houston, Texas bowling alley

  • Migos rapper Takeoff was shot and killed outside of a Houston bowling alley after a verbal dispute broke out during a dice game on Nov. 1. Legally named Kirsnick Khari Ball, the music artist was 28 years old when he died. Houston police arrested Patrick Xavier Clark for the murder a month later. Takeoff’s funeral service was held on Nov. 11 at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta with a number of celebrities in attendance, including fellow Migos members and relatives, Offset and Quavo.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

  • “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Marvel’s second installment of the first mainstream African-American superhero series, premiered on Nov. 11. The highly-anticipated film came two years after the untimely death of Chadwick Boseman, who previously played the Black Panther. Letitia Wright, who plays Princess Shuri, became the new Black Panther. For several weeks, the movie remained at the top of the box office and is expected to surpass $800 million globally.

Trevor Noah

After seven years of leading Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, Trevor Noah is stepping down as host. The South African Comedian, known for his political satire and wit, celebrated his last show on Dec. 8. During his reign as host, Noah received several accolades from the NAACP Image Awards and one from the MTV Movie & TV Awards.

Tory Lanez convicted for shooting Megan thee Stallion

On Dec. 23, a Los Angeles jury found rapper Tory Lanez guilty of shooting Grammy-award winning artist Megan Thee Stallion in a dispute that turned deadly in July 2020. Lanez could be sentenced to 22 years and eight months in prison and also faces the possibility of deportation back to Canada, his home country.

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