2010’s top winners
Black celebrities ruled the entertainment world this year with their big wins, controversies and blunders. Some of 2010’s biggest winners were singers and rappers who’re turning their careers into multi-million dollar empires. Beyoncé and Jay-Z have set the blueprint for entertainers-turned-business moguls with their growing influence. In November, Jay-Z released his first book, Decoded, which debuted at No. 3 on the New York Times Best Sellers List weeks later. Similarly, his flaxen-haired wife made major moves on stage and with her first fragrance, Heat, which hit stores in February. Riding high off the release of her I Am… tour DVD, pregnancy rumors ran rampant and – although untrue – the publicity only heightened the power couple’s fame. Forbes’ end-of-year earning roundup is calling the Texas-born starlet the top-earning singer of 2010 with an estimated $87 million in profits.

Another powerhouse vocalist, Jennifer Hudson, had a stellar year and stunned the world with a dramatic weight loss. Going from a size 18 to a svelte size 6, Hudson lost none of the soul- stirring vocals that made her a star on “American Idol” and Dreamgirls. The star also snagged a deal with Weight Watchers and her new physique landed her on the covers of InStyle, Canada’s Fashion, Australia’s Who and People magazines.

Oprah Winfrey, like fellow Chicagoan Hudson, is ending 2010 on a high note with the debut of her own TV network, OWN. Formerly the Discovery Health channel, OWN will feature a lineup directed by Winfrey and includes a much-hyped show featuring a viewer-picked host. The OWN network marks the end of the 24-year run of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

Perhaps a media mogul in the making, Nicki Minaj – who said, “I love me some Oprah” in an interview with the New York Times – captured the hearts of the 25-and-under set in 2010. Her debut album, Pink Friday, hit No.1 on the Billboard rap charts and spurred a highly publicized documentary, My Time Now, produced by MTV. Adding to the Trinidadian star’s fame was the sale of a cotton candy pink lipstick accordingly dubbed Pink Friday by popular cosmetics line MAC.

While few celebrities can match Minaj’s over-the-top colorful wigs and tongue-twisting rhymes, the sometimes outrageous cast of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta” comes close. The six women have used the show to secure book and record deals; appearances on popular talk shows, clothing lines and more. Perhaps the show’s standout star, NeNe Leakes, is having the greatest year, as she’s currently filming for “Celebrity Apprentice.” Rumors have swirled that she and husband Gregg have split, but neither has confirmed the chatter.

Meanwhile, rapper Drake didn’t need rumors to make him a household name. The 24-year-old Canadian rapper took the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 chart with his first studio album, Thank Me Later, and its hits “Find Your Love” and “Miss Me.” Despite rumors of a spat with mentor Lil’ Wayne, Drake has remained one of the most successful rappers of the year.

Like Drake, Tyler Perry has been in the public eye this year for all the right reasons. He was the force behind For Colored Girls, a film adaptation of Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. The powerful cinematic gem brought Hollywood heavyweights like Phylicia Rashad, Kimberly Elise Neal and Thandie Newton together for roles that inspired laughter, tears and every emotion in between. The film was well received and Perry’s pockets show it. According to Forbes’ “Rich List,” Perry came in third on the list of Hollywood’s 20 highest earning celebs of 2010, raking in $125 million. His longtime, aforementioned friend Oprah took the No. 1 spot and brought home an estimated $315 million this year.

The controversy crew
While many Black stars hit it big this year because of awesome album sales or new films, others created a whirlwind of controversy in the process. Drama seemed to follow Kanye West into the year after his on-stage debacle with then –teen singer Taylor Swift in 2009. Even in November of this year, West was still discussing the incident and even bashed the young singer again at a party, the Los Angeles Times reported. “Taylor never came to my defense in any interview … and rode it and rode it,” he reportedly told the crowd. “If I wasn’t drunk, I woulda been on stage longer.”

West also lashed out at the same event at “Today” host Matt Lauer for an interview several weeks prior. After a tense interview with the longtime journalist, West took to Twitter where he said, “I feel very alone very used very tortured.”

Another entertainer kept heads and magazine pages turning for different reasons. Singer Erykah Badu stunned fans and her fellow Texans when she bared all at Dallas’ Dealey Square – the scene where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated – for her “Window Seat” video shoot in March. The video quickly went viral, making Badu and her voluptuous backside the topic of heated debates and a disorderly conduct charge from the city attorney’s office and the Dallas Police Department.

North Carolina native Fantasia also found herself mired in scandal this year after an alleged affair with a married man, suicide attempt and several court dates. The negative attention threatened to overshadow the release of her album Back to Me in August. Likewise, Baltimore native ’s spat with his mom, a recovering drug addict, landed him in jail with a mug shot seen worldwide. Charges against him were ultimately dropped, when she admitted to being intoxicated at the time.

Better luck next year
Some entertainers were down on their luck in 2010 after failed sitcoms and album flops. Others, like rappers DMX, Lil Wayne and T.I., struggled through the year because of drug- and gun-related arrests. In December, New York rapper DMX was sentenced to a year in jail after violating his probation in Arizona. Weeks later, he was moved to the mental health ward for an undisclosed reason, according to Arizona Department of Corrections records. In November, heavily tattooed rapper Lil Wayne returned to society after spending eight months at the infamous Rikers Island prison for a 2009 gun charge.

And just when fans thought father and newlywed T.I. had turned over a new leaf, he and wife Tiny were arrested in September for drug possession. He is currently serving an 11-month jail sentence. Other entertainers who landed in the slammer this year are Gucci Mane, Lloyd Banks, Kid Cudi, Wiz Khalifa, Ja Rule, Waka Flocka Flame and Lil Boosie.

On a lighter note, Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mba