Politicians, celebrities and athletes prove headliners
By Everything Underground
A former world class surgeon, longtime entertainer and reigning champion were among those who provided the headlines for other top stories in 2015. Dr. Ben Carson, Bill Cosby and Serena Williams each provided plenty of material for newspapers, magazines and websites.
Carson, a retired surgeon best known in the medical world for a revolutionary procedure that separated Siamese twins, had been a Fox News commentator and severe critic of President Obama's healthcare plan. But after a speech at which the President was a guest where Carson had plenty of negative things to say about both his program and the nation's direction as a whole, things caught fire.
Carson was urged to run for the Republican Presidential nomination by several conservative groups, and he entered the race as a longshot. At one point, he'd vaulted all the way into the number two spot, but then his momentum stalled, in part due to a curious decision to suspend his campaign for a book-signing tour. He also made highly controversial comments throughout the summer about Muslims, abortion, Black Lives Matter and Syrian refugees.
Though no longer in the second spot with winter approaching, Carson is still very much a part of the GOP process. The gap between him and the front-runner Donald Trump is much wider today than at his peak of popularity during the summer, but he remains among the top six candidates vying for the nomination.
Bill Cosby had been widely viewed since the '60s as a beloved celebrity, a father figure to many due to the influence of his '80s sitcom "The Cosby Show." But old charges evolved into a host of new ones in 2015, with more than 50 women emerging at various times to accuse him of everything from improper conduct to borderline rape.
Cosby's reputation plummeted. A planned comeback show on NBC and birthday/anniversary celebration on Netflix were cancelled. Some 30 institutions revoked honorary degrees they had previously given him, though his Emmy awards, Mark Twain prize and Medal of Freedom at this point seem safe.
His defenders insist that he's being railroaded, and claims against at least two of his accusers have been the stuff of online fervor. But in 2016, Cosby faces at least one deposition, and there are also ongoing attempts to force his wife Camille to be deposed as well.
Serena Williams came within two matches of being the first person to win all four world titles within the calendar year, the "Grand Slam." She did achieve her second "Serena Slam," holding at one point the Australian, French, Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles simultaneously until her loss at Forest Hills.
Williams ended the year being named "Sportsperson of the Year" by Sports illustrated. Simone Biles, the most dominant gymnast in history, took a third straight world title and was selected the Olympic Athlete of the Year. Floyd Mayweather concluded (at least for now) an undefeated boxing campaign, retiring without trying to break Rocky Marciano's record. He settled instead for tying it.
Lester Holt became the first Black man since Max Robinson to anchor a weeknight network broadcast as he took over the reins at the NBC Nightly News. South African export Trevor Noah took over the "Daily Show" hosting duties from the beloved Jon Stewart.
Black films had perhaps their greatest year from a commercial standpoint. Whether it was the N.W.A. biopic "Straight Outta Compton," the faith-based "War Room" or the coming-of-age youth vehicle "Dope," it was suddenly no surprise to see a Black-themed production atop the box office.
It was also a big year for Blacks on TV, with Fox's "Empire" breaking records in its first season, and "Black-Ish" the pivotal new sit-com. While there's still no exactly a flood of dramas or serious works spotlighting Blacks, there's definitely more Black faces everywhere, and Shonda Rhimes became the first Black woman to ever head an entire night of programming thanks to the Thursday night power lineup of "Grey's Anatomy," "Scandal," and "How To Get Away With Murder."
Lastly, Black Twitter's strength as the social media site of choice for young Black Americans was evident throughout 2015. While Facebook continues to be the dominant site in terms of dedicated users, Black Twitter was often the agenda setter.
There are so many hot button items and topics ahead in 2016, so there should be no shortage of things to discuss on Black Twitter.