In Memoriam: Remembering those Black America lost in 2020

Chadwick Boseman, Kobe Bryant and Ja'Net DuBois are just some of the notable figures who died this year

Loading the player...

In 2020 we saw the passing of many notable and influential stars and figures. From sports legends to Grammy-winning icons, these fallen stars who passed on are gone, but certainly not forgotten.

Here are just some of the people we lost in 2020 who left their mark in the news, the world and in our lives.

Chadwick Boseman (1976 – 2020)

Award-winning actor and playwright Chadwick Boseman passed away in August after a long battle with colon cancer. Chadwick’s final screen performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was released on Netflix this month.

Kobe Bryant (1978 – 2020)

N.B.A. star and legend Kobe Bryant tragically passed away this January in a helicopter crash in California, along with 8 other passengers, including his daughter Gianna. Considered one of the best to ever play basketball, a public memorial service was held at the Staples Center in February.

Gianna Bryant (2006 – 2020)

Gianna Bryant tragically passed away with her father Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash. Gianna had hoped to play basketball professionally like her father, and personally trained under him.

Anthony Chisholm (1943 – 2020)

An acclaimed actor of stage and screen, Anthony Chisholm passed away in October. Chisholm is best known for his roles in August Wilson plays (4 of which were on Broadway) and his recurring role as u201cBurr Reddingu201d in HBO‘s prison drama, Oz.

Natalie Desselle-Reid (1967 -2020)

Actress Natalie Desselle-Reid passed away this December from colon cancer. She is best known for her roles in Madeau2019s Big Happy Family, Cinderella starring Brandy and Whitney Houston, and in the television series, Eve.

Chi Chi DeVayne (1985 – 2020)

Chi Chi DeVayne, made famous as a contestant on RuPaulu2019s Drag Race, passed away in August at 34. Zavion Davenport (Chi Chi DeVayne was her stage name) died after recently being hospitalized for kidney failure.

Ja'net DuBois (1946? – 2020)

Ja’Net DuBois, known for playing Willona Woods in Good Times, passed away in February. DuBois died peacefully in her sleep at her home in Glendale, California.

Andre Harrell (1960 – 2020)

Andre Harrell, known for founding Uptown Records and discovering Sean “Diddy” Combs, passed away in May. According to his ex-wife Wendy Credle, Harrell died of heart failure.

Denise Johnson (1963 – 2020)

Denise Johnson, known for singing with Primal Scream and New Order, passed away in July. Johnson is originally from Manchester, and came to prominence on Primal Scream’s Screamadelica album.

Tommy D. "Tiny" Lister (1958 – 2020)

Known from his appearances in Friday and The Fifth Element, Tommy D. “Tiny” Lister passed away in December. “Tiny” was also a professional wrestler, wrestling the likes of Hulk Hogan in the ’80s.

Charley Pride (1934 – 2020)

Country music legend Charley Pride passed away in December from complications with COVID. Pride is known for hits like u201cKiss an Angel Good Morninu2019u201d and u201cIs Anybody Goinu2019 to San Antoneu201d

Johnny Nash (1940 – 2020)

Johnny Nash, known for singing, “I Can See Clearly Now” in 1972, passed away in October. Nash died of natural causes in Houston.

Little Richard (1932 – 2020)

Little Richard, or the u201cking and queenu201d of rock and roll, passed away in May. Little Richard died of bone cancer and is known for hits such as “Tutti Frutti,” “Rip it Up” and more.

Naya Rivera (1987 – 2020)

A singer and actress known for her role on Glee, Naya Rivera passed away in July. Rivera accidentally drowned in a California lake after saving her 4-year-old son.

B. Smith (1949 – 2020)

B. Smith, a model, author and businesswoman, passed away in February. Smith was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in her 50s, which ultimately was the cause of her death. B. Smith was 70 at the time of her passing.

Pop Smoke (1999 – 2020)

Rapper, singer and songwriter Pop Smoke was tragically killed in February of this year. His posthumous album, Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon, dropped this summer.

Bill Withers (1938 – 2020)

Known for his songs “Lean on Me” and “Lovely Day,” Bill Withers passed away in April. Withers had heart problems, and died in Los Angeles at 81.

Chadwick Boseman (1976 – 2020)

Award-winning actor and playwright Chadwick Boseman passed away in August after a long battle with colon cancer. Chadwick’s final screen performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was released on Netflix this month.

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!

Loading the player...