Saturday, December 31, 2011


It’s so hard to say goodbye.  But, here is a final adieu to some of the celebrities, politicians, newsmakers and community leaders who influenced lives in the African-American community and beyond.

The following are those who passed away in 2011:


Jan. 13 - Ellen Stewart, the founder and director of the Off-Off-Broadway pioneering group La MaMa Experimental Theater Club. She was 91.

Jan. 14 – Mississippi Winn, oldest living African American in the U.S., March 31, 1897-Jan. 14, 2011

Jan. 18 – Gregory V. Lange, WRVS Program Director. He was 56.

Jan. 26 - Gladys Horton, a member of the Marvelettes. She was 66.


Feb. 6 - Damian Bruce, ESP publicist. He was 51.

Feb. 8 - Gospel singer Marvin Sease. He was 64.


Feb. 19 - Ollie Matson – played in the NFL for 14 years. He was 80.

Feb. 20 - Dave Duerson, former NFL safety. He was 50.

Feb. 21 - Dwayne McDuffie, Creator of the television series Static Shock. He was 49.

Feb. 23 - Allen Willis, filmmaker. He was 96.

Feb. 24 - Joseph Dyer, a retired KCBS-TV executive who was one of the first African American reporters hired by a major network television station in Los Angeles. He was 76.



March 8 - Dr. Billy Ingram - founder of the Maranatha Community Church in Los Angeles. He was 58.


March 15 - Nate Dogg. He was 41.

March 18 - Drew Hill of Rams, Oilers and Falcons. He was 54.

March 21 - Willie “Pinetop” Perkins, blues piano player. He was 97 or 98. Born in 1913.

March 21 - Disco singer Loleatta Holloway, known for the 1980 hit "Love Sensation," She was 64.

March 23 - Elizabeth Taylor, actress, HIV activist. She was 79.

March 25 - Almena Lomax, civil rights activist launched Los Angeles Tribune newspaper. She was 95.

March 27 - DJ Megatron, urban radio and TV personality.

March 31 - Eugenia Wright, Hollywood Publicist.


April 1 - Manning Marable, African-American Studies Scholar. He was 60.

Apr. 5 - Ange-Felix Patasse, deposed President of the Central African Republic. He was 57.

April 20 - TV On The Radio bassist Gerard Smith.  He was 36.

April 26 - Singer-songwriter Phoebe Snow. She was 60.


May 1 - Osama Bin Laden.  He was 54.

May 11 - Mia Amber Davis, plus-sized model.

May 15 - Rapper, M-Bone from the group Cali Swag District, best known for their hit “Teach Me how to Dougie.” He was 22.

May 15 - Kenyan Olympic marathon champion Sammy Wanjiru. He was 24.

May 17 - Richard Gregory "Greg" Lewis, journalist for the South Florida Sun Sentinel and the San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle. He was 57.

May 19 - Don H. Barden, a Detroit businessman who built an empire from the cable company, casinos and other ventures. He was 67.


May 27 - Gil Scott-Heron, musician and poet. He was 62.  "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised."

May 30 - Clarice Taylor, perhaps best known for role as Bill Cosby’s matriarch mother on the “Cosby Show.” She was 93.


June 2 - Fayrene (Faye) Treadwell, one of the first female African American entertainment managers in history. She was 84.  

June 2-  Elmer 'Geronimo' Pratt, a former Black Panther Party leader who spent 27 years in prison on a murder conviction that was later overturned. He was 63.

June 8 – Clara Luper, Oklahoma City, Civil Rights. She was 88.

June 18 - Clarence Clemons, the legendary saxophonist in the E Street Band, who played alongside Bruce Springsteen for the past 40 years. He was 69. 

June 18 - Frederick Chiluba, second President of Zambia. He was 67.

June 19 - Carl Gardner, original lead singer of the R&B group the Coasters. He was 83.

June 29 - Gladys Wesson-Strickland. Mother of Herb Wesson, Jr. She was 79.


July 1 - Raymond Jones, producer and keyboardist for Chic.  Also a composer, writer, recording artist and engineer.  He was 52.

July 5 - Armen Gilliam, former UNLV and ex-NBA player. He was 47.

July 6 - John Mackey, Hall of Fame tight end and union president.  He was 69.

July 11 - Gospel icon Bishop F.C. Barnes.  He was 82.

July 18 - Mother Lillian Mobley. Known as a mother to the community.   She was 81.

July 23 - Butch Lewis, Legendary boxing promoter. He was 65.

July 24 - Jane White, singer/actress. She was 88.

July 26 - Famed Jazz Saxophonist Frank Foster He was 82.

July 27 - Charles L. Gittins, First Black Secret Service Agent. He was 82.

July 28 - Rev. Howard Creecy Jr., president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He was 57.


Aug. 2 - Delois Barrett Campbell, a member of the award-winning Barrett Sisters trio.   She was 85.

August 3 - Former NFL defensive star Bubba Smith. He was 66.

Aug. 5 - Meda Chamberlain, former executive director of the National Council of Negro Women Inc.  She was 95.

Aug. 12 - Pastor Zachery Tims of Orlando, Florida.  He was 42.

Aug. 22 - Nick Ashford of Ashford & Simpson. He was 70.

Aug. 29 - Bluesman David 'Honey Boy' Edwards dead at 96.

Aug. 24 – Esther Gordy Edwards - who helped build Motown Records alongside her brother Berry Gordy Jr.  She was 91.


Sept. 2 - McKinley "June Bug" Williams, of the R&B group Maze.

Sept. 4 - Lee Roy Selmon, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Hall of Fame defensive end. He was 56.

Sept. 16 - Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith, blues musician. He was 75.

Sept. 22 - Vesta Williams, R&B singer. She was 53.

Sept. 22 - Otis Smith. Music industry executive.

Sept. 25 – Wangari Maathai- The first African woman to win a Noble Prize. She was 71.

Sept. 26 - Jessy Dixon, a gospel legend. He was 73. 

Sept. 28 – Sylvia Robinson, the woman some call the mother of hip-hop. She had a hit as a singer-songwriter with the sexually charged "Pillow Talk."  She was 76.

Sept. 30 - Marvin “Marv” Tarplin, Motown guitarist. He was 70.


Oct. 5 - Fred Shuttlesworth, who helped lead the civil rights movement. He was 89.

Oct. 5 - Derrick Bell, first tenured Black professor at Harvard Law School. He was 80.

Oct. 13 - "Diamond" Jim Sears, radio legend.

Oct. 28 - David Watkins, an award-winning event marketing and advertising visionary. Worked with UPTOWN and Vibe.


Nov. 17 – Walt Hazzard, Former UCLA Player and Coach. He was 69.

Nov. 18 - Greg Halman, a Dutch baseball player who was an outfielder for the Seattle Mariners. He was 24.

Nov. 28 - Comedian Patrice O'Neal. He was 41. 

Nov. 30 - Chester McGlockton, former Oakland Raider. He was 42. 

Nov. 30 – J. Blackfoot, Memphis soul singer. He was 65.

Nov. 30 - Barry Llewellyn, Jamaican reggae singer and member of the Heptones. He was 64.


Dec. 2 - Soul singer Howard Tate.  He was 72.

Dec. 6 - Dobie Gray, who recorded “Drift Away” in 1973.  He was 69.

Dec. 11 - Ofield Dukes, public relations executive. He was 79.

Dec. 12 - John Atterberry, record producer. He was 40.

Dec. 16 - Rapper Slim Dunkin (real name Mario Hamilton). He was 24.

Dec. 26 - Sam Rivers, jazz musician. He was 88.

Dec. 26 - Houston Antwine, former NFL defensive end, played with the New England Patriots and Houston Oilers.

Dec. 28 – Sam Logan, Detroit newsman and publisher of the Michigan Chronicle. He was 78.

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