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2008: Shapeshifters of the Year (Cont.)

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

See the first installment of 2008 Shapeshifters RIGHT HERE.

Solange Knowles: Bombshell, the body, and the music

Solange is not one to play the sibling rivalry thing. She is a mother, a fighter, a lover, and a singer. In 2008 her "Hadley Street Dreams" album was all that she wanted it to be, which was not what we expected. Sales were dismal, critics were vicious, but the work still sits next to our collective speaker boxes, far from being played, but close enough to remain in memory. Months after its debut it's clear to see that her older sister Beyonce's album had one sole purpose: to make Solange's album listenable. Mission accomplished.

Sage Steele: Whoa, She's Hot, Wha--ESPN?

The year was good to a couple of African American sportscasters, both getting the job of their lives way up in cold, Bristol, Conn. Sage Steele is the chick on "SportsCenter," ESPN's flagship production. She graduated from Indiana, and got the job in 2007 after stints in Tampa and Baltimore. She's on record as saying that when she was just a cub reporter she interviewed Lou Holtz and got him to do the Macarena. WTF?

Reischea Canidate: Sports scores and more

Perhaps you've seen news anchor Reischea (REE-SHAY) Canidate on ESPN lately. The relatively new hire landed at the Sports network after about five years in New York's channel 5 and before that in San Diego. The fact that you can catch her dishing about T.O., the New York Yankees and Detroit Red Wings on most nights is a testament to the sales pitch that ESPN is pushing to lure promising African American talent. The old saying was that it was too cold in Bristol for a brotha (or sister), but I guess the money's right.

Desiree Rogers: Obama's Social Butterfly

Straight out of the Big Easy, Desiree Rogers, 49, Chicago corporate executive and civic leader, saw her star rise considerably in 2008. Not that being appointed by Barack Obama to plan social functions is a small feat, but Desiree, a Harvard grad, was embarking on running a social networking initiative for Allstate before she got the call. With that on hold for at least 4 years, the socialite is expected to liven up White House functions with the flavor of New Orleans.

Jazmine Sullivan: Old school voice, new school choice

Few singers can channel the gutter, the heavens and what's in between as seamlessly as new R&B singer Jazmine Sullivan. The Missy Elliott protege burst out on the scene with a few anthemic singles ("I Bust the Windows Out Ya Car"). (Have you heard "Lions, Tigers and Bears"? ) But in 2009, it's nobody's year if it's not Jazmine's.

Jeffrey Wright: The Consummate Actor's Actor

You probably don't know his name, oh, but you've seen him. Perhaps it was as Martin Luther King, or an activist type on "Get On the Bus." Wright, straight from Brooklyn, is known as a scene-stealer, with no greater display than in "Shaft 2000" when he jacked the whole movie from up under Samuel L. Jackson with his portrayal of a Puerto Rican drug dealer. In 2008, Wright did admirable jobs in "W" (as Colin Powell) and "Cadillac Records" (as Muddy Waters). Look for him even more in 2009.

Tyka Nelson: Sibling of The Purple One

With a heritage that includes "Purple Rain" and "When Doves Cry" it would be easy for Tyka Nelson to rest on her brother's laurels. But 2008 was the year she decided to jump back out there musically (she tried before in 1988). The urban soul thing had not yet erupted, so you'll have to forgive her reception. Now she's back with a gospel album after spending 2008 writing and recording, and her brother didn't even help. In 2009, the results will be in.

Keri Hilson: Musician/Singer/VideoVixen/Writer

It certainly can't be about the money: Keri Hilson tried and tried to make her music stick in 2008, even employing the services of Lil Wayne ("Turnin' Me On"). It just didn't happen. Radio completely ignored her, except as a backup singer or "model chick". It is as the latter that she may indeed have a future: She played the lead role in Usher's video for "Love in This Club", (as well as co-wrote "Pt. II" remix). She also starred in Ne-Yo's video for "Miss Independent" and appeared in Nelly's "Party People" video. She was also featured on Nas' debut single from his controversial album Untitled, "Hero". For 2009, look for the full swing as all-star video girl.

Candace Parker: Love and Basketball

Former Vols woman's basketball phenom Candace Parker had a great 2008. Not only did she win a national championship for Tennessee, but she became the first overall pick for the WNBA mere weeks later. Her first game? Dropped 34 points to set yet another record (not counting the slam dunks). The brawl? A first, too. You go, girl.



2009 ·Popwife Blog by TNB