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2008’s Biggest Stories: Runners Up

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1. The N***er Controversy

N***er. An ugly word and a lightning rod, to be sure, especially in light of Barack’s historic run.  It came front and center when legendary rapper Nas decided to title his album just that-N***er.  Despite more than one precedent of media with that title, including civil rights activist Dick Gregory’s autobiography, there was a firestorm of controversy surrounding that decision, with boycotts threatened, and discussion reaching fever pitch.  Nas and his milkshake walked red carpets of award shows with shirts emblazoned with the word, much to the chagrin of everyone trying to bury the word and revel in all their Barackedy goodness.

After months of public support, pressure from retailers (money talks) forced the good folks at Def Jam bowed to the pressure and Nas removed the N***er from the title.  In its place was no title but a visceral image that in reality said all that needed to be said regarding the album’s mission. Amazingly, with all the weight of such an album title and the pressure attached, Nas delivered a high quality appropriate and relevant album, and all the hysteria regarding it’s advent disappeared.

 

2. The Jay-z/ Beyonce Wedding…Finally

 

Denial.  “We’re just friends,” they said. Attending awards shows together and leaving through separate exits.  Being careful not to be photographed together.  Such was the phantom relationship between Shawn Carter and Beyonce’ Knowles.  Secret lovers, that’s what they were.  The thing is, it was probably the worst kept secret in the industry.  Although no one probably knew the extent of their love, but everyone knew it was more than meets the eye.

In 2008 Mr. Carter finally decided to make an honest woman out of the hottest chick in the game wearing his chain and the pair wed amid much fanfare.  From the moment they applied for a marriage license in Westchester, the media became treasure hunters, with false reports of the marriage becoming commonplace. By the time Jigga put a ring on it, we were all secret weddinged out, but Black love is always something to celebrate. May their marriage last at least as long as the press’/gossip columns’ speculation about their relationship.

 

3. Remy Ma Jailed

 

The most expensive $3000 in history became even more expensive as femme fatale Remy Ma lost her freedom in the wake of her attempted murder trial. The free Remy T-shirts were to no avail as she was convicted in the shooting of her childhood friend Makeda Barnes-Joseph following the misplacement of $3000 during a birthday celebration in Manhattan.  Remy Ma was convicted of two counts of first-degree assault, attempted coercion, and criminal possession of a weapon. She was found not guilty of gang assault and witness tampering.

Despite her conviction, Remy, and long rumored beau, Rapper Papoose decided to move forward with getting married. Then it got even crazier.  Reports of sneaking handcuff keys into prison and assorted innuendo gave the affair a circus like atmosphere. Although originally facing 25 years in prison, Remy was sentenced to eight years. Papoose, a day after a failed marriage attempt, had to be removed from the court for outbursts following the sentencing.

4. R. Kelly Acquitted

After nearly a decade of legal wrangling, repeated trial delays, and additional allegations, R. Kelly finally went to trial for the infamous sex video. Despite damning video evidence, Kelly was acquitted of all charges after only seven hours of deliberation.  The lack of testimony from the alleged victim and her family played a major role in his acquittal. Neither Kelly, nor the alleged victim testified during the trial, but both denied their involvement in the sex tape to a grand jury in 2002. During the trial, only one witness, Lisa Van Allen, testified to having knowledge of Kelly’s alleged relationship with the 13-year-old girl.

 

The verdict marked the end of a sensational four week trial which polarized the community.

5. Da Brat Going To Prison

 

In a shocking turn of events, rapper Da Brat was sentenced to three years in prison on assault charges stemming from a November 2007 altercation in a club.  That altercation involved Da Brat striking budding model and Atlanta Falcon’s cheerleader Shala Stevens with a champagne bottle.  The assault caused lacerations and swelling to Stevens’ face, and caused permanent disfigurement, leading to a loss of employment as Steven’s was scheduled to appear on an episode of Tyler Perry’s House Of Paine.

The assault took place at a club owned by Jermaine Dupri, who had been the creative force behind much of Da Brat’s commercial success. In addition to the three years, Da Brat, whose real name is Shawntae Harris, will be subject to seven years of probation and 200 hours of community service.

 

Which one of these runner ups was the most shocking?  Chime in below and look out daily from now until New Year’s Eve for 2008’s Biggest Stories!

 

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