We lost so many talented and inspirational people in 2022. From actors and musicians to athletes and activists, the Black community has felt incredible losses. The following are some of the most notable Black celebrities that died in 2022.
1. Sidney Poitier
Born on February 20, 1927, Sidney Poitier passed away at the age of 94 on January 6, 2022. He died of heart failure.
Poitier was a successful actor known for his work in The Defiant Ones, Lilies of the Field, A Raisin in the Sun, and In the Heat of the Night. He was the first Black actor to win an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1964. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. Poitier was perhaps the most famous Black celebrity that died in 2022.
2. Betty Davis
On July 26, 1944, Betty Davis was born in Durham, North Carolina. She died at the age of 77 on February 9, 2022. She passed away from cancer in Homestead, Pennsylvania.
Davis was a funk singer whose songs included Shut Off the Lights and If I’m in Luck I Might Get Picked Up. She also worked as a model and was married to jazz musician Miles Davis.
3. Ronnie Spector
Spector was the lead singer of the group the Ronettes, which formed in the 1950s. Their songs included Be My Baby, Walking in the Rain, and Baby, I Love You. In 2007, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
4. Sam Lay
On March 20, 1935, Sam Lay was born in Birmingham, Alabama; he died in Chicago, Illinois, on January 29, 2022. He was 86 at the time of his death from natural causes.
Lay was the drummer for Muddy Waters from 1960 until 1966 and was also a member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. He performed with other musicians like John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley, and Bob Dylan during his career.
5. Traci Braxton
Born on April 2, 1971, Traci Braxton passed away on March 12, 2022. She died at the age of 50 after having cancer.
Braxton started her career with her siblings, releasing a song called Good Life in 1990. She later became a backup singer for her sister Toni Braxton. In 2014, she released a solo album, Crash & Burn, followed by On Earth in 2018. She was also known for her role in the reality tv series Braxton Family Values.
6. Barbara Morrison
Born on September 10, 1949, in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Barbara Morrison died on March 16, 2022, in Los Angeles, California. At the age of 72, she died shortly after being hospitalized for cardiovascular disease.
Morrison was a jazz and blues singer who worked with musicians including Johnny Otis, Jimmy Smith, James Moody, Ray Charles, and Etta James. She also had a solo career which included her 1996 album I Know How to Do It.
7. Kenny Ejim
Born in Brampton, Canada, on December 3, 1994, Kenny Ejim passed away in Bahrain on February 14, 2022. He was 27 at the time; a cause of death was not released.
Ejim was a professional basketball player who played for the Canadian Elite Basketball League, including the Hamilton Honey Badgers and the Saskatchewan Rattlers. At the time of his death, he was playing in the Bahraini Premier League with Al-Najma.
8. Denroy Morgan
Born in Jamaica on May 15, 1945, Denroy Morgan passed away on March 3, 2022. He died from cancer at the age of 76.
A reggae musician, Morgan played with the Black Eagles in New York City. He also had a successful solo career in the 1980s. His best-known song was I’ll Do Anything For You.
9. Anita Doherty
Born in The Bahamas on January 25, 1949, Anita Doherty passed away on March 28, 2022. She died at the age of 73; the cause of death has not been released.
She was a pentathlete who competed in the 1970 British Commonwealth Games and was inducted into The Bahamas Hall of Fame in 2011. She was also a teacher, principal, and city councilor.
10. Calvin Simon
Born on May 22, 1942, in Beckley, West Virginia, Calvin Simon passed away on January 6, 2022. He died at the age of 79; a cause of death has not been released.
Simon was a singer for Parliament-Funkadelic and later started a record label, Simon Says Records.
11. Moses J. Moseley
Born in South Carolina on December 24, 1990, Moses J. Moseley died on January 26, 2022, in Georgia. He died from a gunshot wound to the head at the age of 31; it has not been determined if his death was a suicide or accidental.
Moseley was a model and actor, best known for his role in The Walking Dead show. He also appeared in the Watchmen, Queen of the South, Tales, and American Soul.
12. Wayne Cooper
On November 16, 1956, Wayne Cooper was born in Georgia; he passed away on April 11, 2022. He died at the age of 65 after having kidney disease.
Cooper was a basketball player in the NBA from 1978 until 1992. He played for the Golden State Warriors among other team, like the Portland Trail Blazers, Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks, and Utah Jazz. Cooper later worked as the vice president of basketball operations for the Sacramento Kings.
13. Fred Johnson
Fred Johnson died on March 31, 2022, at the age of 80 from natural causes.
Johnson was a founding member of the band The Marcels, who were best known for their cover of the song Blue Moon. Other songs included Summertime, Heartaches, and You Are My Sunshine.
14. Snootie Wild
Born on April 23, 1985, LePreston Porter–better known as Snootie Wild–passed away on February 26, 2022. He died at the age of 36 after being shot.
As a singer and rapper, he is known for his songs Yayo and Made Me. He was featured on several tracks by other artists like Jazz Anderson, Master P, and Extream Bling.
15. Marrio Grier
Born on December 5, 1971, in North Carolina, Marrio Grier passed away on March 15, 2022. He was 50 years old at the time of his death; the cause was not disclosed.
Grier played football for the New England Patriots for two years after being drafted in 1996. Prior to this, he played college football. After his NFL career, Grief played for the Carolina Cobras and the Colorado Crush in the Arena Football League. He later worked as a police officer in Pineville, North Carolina.
16. Charles Greene
Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, on March 21, 1945, Charles Greene died on March 14, 2022. He passed away in Lincoln, Nebraska, at the age of 76; his cause of death was not disclosed.
Greene was a sprinter who made his Olympic debut in Mexico in 1968, winning a gold medal with the 4 x 100 meters relay team. He later served in the army and worked as a high school track and field coach.
17. AJ Crimson
AJ Crimson was born on August 10, 1994, in Detroit, Michigan. He passed away on March 30, 2022, at the age of 27. His cause of death has not been released.
Crimson was a celebrity makeup artist who worked with stars like Missy Elliott, Angela Bassett, and Brandy. In 2013, he started his own cosmetics line called AJ Crimson Beauty, which was designed for Black women.
18. Natty Wailer
Born on September 30, 1954, Nathaniel Wynter–also known as Natty Wailer–died on March 30, 2022. He was 67 when he passed away from cancer.
A reggae musician, he was best known for his work with Bob Marley in the 1970s. He also worked with Peter Rosh, Aston Barrett, and King Tubby and was part of the band Reggae Vibes in the 2000s.
19. Charles Yohane
Born in Mbare, Rhodesia, on August 26, 1973, Charles Yohane died on February 12, 2022. He was killed in a carjacking in South Africa at the age of 48.
Yohane played football for the African Wanderers, the AmaZulu Football Club, and the Bidvest Wits Football Club in South Africa. He also played for the Zimbabwe national team in 2004 and 2006.
20. Gary Brown
Born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, on July 1, 1969, Gary Brown passed away on April 10, 2022. He died at the age of 52 from cancer.
Brown played football for Penn State before being drafted by the NFL in 1991. He played for the Houston Oilers, the San Diego Chargers, and the New York Giants.
21. LaShun Pace
Born on September 6, 1961, LaShun Pace died on March 21, 2022. She passed away at the age of 60 from organ failure after being on kidney dialysis for many years.
Pace was a gospel singer who was part of the 1980s group The Anointed Pace Sisters. She also had a solo career, releasing her debut album, He Lives, in 1990. Pace was inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame in 2007.
22. Patrick Shai
Born in South Africa on December 9, 1956, Patrick Shai passed away on January 22, 2022. He died by suicide at the age of 65.
Shai was an actor who appeared in the films Red Scorpion, Schweitzer, The Sheltering Desert, and The Bang Bang Club. He also had acting roles in various television shows like Generations, Ashes to Ashes, and Hillside. Shai was also a dancer, writer, and director.
23. Cheslie Kryst
Born on April 28, 1991, in Jackson, Michigan, Cheslie Kryst died on January 30, 2022. She jumped to her death from her apartment building in New York City at the age of 30, a young Black female celebrity that died in 2022.
Kryst was a lawyer and an entertainment news correspondent for Extra. She was nominated twice for a Daytime Emmy Award. Kryst also won the Miss USA pageant in 2019.
24. Fitzroy “Bunny Diamond” Simpson
Bunny Diamond died on April 1, 2022. He passed away at the age of 70 from complications due to diabetes.
He was a member of the Jamaican group the Mighty Diamonds, which performed from 1969 to 2012. Their songs included Right Time and Have Mercy.
25. Ross Browner
Born in Ohio on March 22, 1954, Ross Browner passed away on January 4, 2022, in Tennessee. He died at the age of 67 from complications of Covid-19.
Browner was a football player who played in the NFL for ten years. He had an incredibly successful college football career with the University of Notre Dame before being drafted in 1978 by the Cincinnati Bengals.
26. Jamal Edwards
Born in England on August 24, 1990, Jamal Edwards died on February 20, 2022. He passed away from a heart attack at the age of 31.
Edwards was a DJ, founder of SBTV, fashion designer, director, and author. He was also an advocate for mental health and set up a foundation to reopen youth centers and provide opportunities for young people.
27. CPO Boss Hogg
Born on September 9, 1969, in Compton, California, Vincent Edwards–aka CPO Boss Hogg–died in California on January 12, 2022. He was 52; the cause of death was not released.
CPO Boss Hogg was a rapper who started his career with the group Capital Punishment Organization. Their album To Hell and Black came out in 1990. He also appeared on the song Picture me Rollin’ by 2Pac.
28. Karim Ouellet
On December 8, 1984, Karim Ouellet was born in Senegal; he died on January 17, 2022, in Quebec City, Canada. A cause of death was not released.
Ouellet was a pop singer who released his debut album Plume in 2011, followed by three additional albums in the next five years. He won a Juno Award in 2014 for Francophone Album of the Year. He was best known for his 2012 song L’Amour.
29. Deon Lendore
Lendore was a track and field athlete who won bronze with the 4 x 400 meters relay team at the 2012 Olympics. He also won the 2017 World Relays in The Bahamas and the 2019 World Relays in Japan.
30. Keith Eric Martin
Born in Washington, D.C. on September 22, 1966, Keith Eric Martin was found dead on March 25, 2022. He passed away in the Philippines after a heart attack at the age of 55.
Martin was a record producer, R&B singer, and songwriter. His debut album It’s Long Overdue was released in 1995, followed by All the Hits in 2003. His songs included Never Find Someone Like You, Moment in Time, and Because of You.
31. Oscar Chaplin III
Born on February 22, 1980, Oscar Chaplin III passed away on February 25, 2022. He died at the age of 41; a cause of death has not been released.
Chaplin was a weightlifter who participated in the Olympics in 2000 and 2004. He also won Junior World Champion in 2000. After his weightlifting career, he worked as a coach in Georgia.
32. Johnny Brown
On June 11, 1937, Johnny Brown was born in St. Petersburg, Florida. He passed away in Los Angeles on March 2, 2022, due to cardiac arrest at the age of 84.
Brown is best known for playing Nathan Bookman on the television show Good Times. In addition to his work as an actor, he was also a singer who released two albums in the 1960s.
33. Donald “Tabby Diamond” Shaw
Born on October 7, 1955, Tabby Diamond passed away on March 29, 2022. He was killed in a shooting at the age of 67.
He was best known as the lead singer of the reggae band, the Mighty Diamonds. Their songs included Pass the Kutchie and I Need a Roof.
34. Lusia Harris
Born on February 10, 1955, Lusia Harris passed away on January 18, 2022. She died in Mississippi at the age of 66 from undisclosed causes.
Harris was the only Black basketball player for Delta State University during her time there; she was named most valuable player in 1975. She also represented the United States at the 1976 Olympics, winning a silver medal with her team.
35. Roddie Haley
Born on December 6, 1964, Roddie Haley passed away on February 17, 2022. The cause of death was not disclosed; he was 57 at the time of his death.
Haley was a track and field athlete who participated in various events, including the 400 meters race and the 4 x 400 meters relay. He won gold at the World Championships and the Pan American Games in 1987.
36. Jacob Oulanyah
Born in Uganda on March 23, 1965, Jacob Oulanyah died in Seattle, Washington, on March 20, 2022. He passed away from cancer at the age of 56.
Oulanyah was a member of the Ugandan parliament who served as a speaker and deputy speaker. Prior to this, he worked as a lawyer in private practice.
37. Odalis Perez
Born on June 11, 1977, Odalis Perez passed away at the age of 44 on March 10, 2022. He died at his home in the Dominican Republic after falling from a ladder.
Perez was a pitcher who played in the major leagues for ten years. He began his baseball career with the Atlanta Braves and later played with the Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Washington Nationals.
38. Rayfield Wright
On August 23, 1945, Rayfield Wright was born in Georgia; he passed away on April 7, 2022. He was 76 at the time of his death; he had been in hospital after having a seizure.
Wright played football with the Dallas Cowboys beginning in 1967, and he retired in 1980. He later worked as a coach with the Arizona Rattlers in the AFL and started the Rayfield Wright Foundation to assist youth with college funding.
39. Gerald Williams
Born in Louisiana on August 10, 1966, Gerald Williams died on February 8, 2022. He passed away from cancer at the age of 55.
Williams was a major league baseball player from 1992 until 2005. He was drafted by the New York Yankees and later traded to the Milwaukee Brewers. He also played for the Atlanta Braves, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the Florida Marlins, and the New York Mets.
40. Lani Guinier
Born on April 19, 1950, Lani Guinier died on January 7, 2022. At the age of 71, she passed away due to complications of Alzheimer’s disease.
Guinier was the first Black woman to have a tenured position as a professor at Harvard Law School. She was also the head of the voting rights project at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
41. Autherine Lucy
Born in Shiloh, Alabama, on October 5, 1929, Autherine Lucy died on March 2, 2022. Her cause of death has not been released; she died at the age of 93.
Lucy was the first Black student to attend the University of Alabama in 1956; she was suspended after riots broke out, and she endured death threats. In 1989 she returned to the school to complete her degree.
42. Ron Miles
Born in Indiana on May 9, 1963, Ron Miles died in Colorado on March 8, 2022. He died from cancer at the age of 58.
Miles was a jazz musician who studied at the Manhattan School of Music. He released his first album in 1987 and would go on to record an additional eleven albums, the final one coming out in 2020. He later worked as the director of the Jazz Studies program at the Metropolitan State University of Denver.
43. Doris Derby
Born on November 11, 1939, in New York City, Doris Derby passed away in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 28, 2022. She died at the age of 82 from cancer.
Derby was a civil rights activist, a teacher, a professor, and a photographer. Much of her photography had to do with the civil rights movement; she captured the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr.
44. Junior Siavii
Born on November 14, 1978, Junior Siavii passed away on January 13, 2022. He died at the age of 43 after being found unresponsive in his cell at the Leavenworth penitentiary.
Siavii played in the National Football League from 2004 until 2011. He was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs and also played for the Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks.
45. Andre Leon Talley
Born in Washington, D.C, on October 16, 1948, Andre Leon Talley passed away on January 18, 2022. He died at the age of 73 from complications of Covid-19 and a heart attack.
Talley was a fashion journalist who worked for Vogue. He was the magazine’s first Black male creative director and later the editor-at-large.
46. Riky Rick
Born in South Africa on July 20, 1987, Riky Rick died on February 23, 2022. He died by suicide at the age of 34.
He was the founder of Cotton Club Records and a rapper. He won two South African Hip Hop Awards in 2021. In 2014, he won an MTV Africa Music Award for his song Nafukwa. Other songs by Riky Rick included Barbershop, Sondela, and Boss Zonke.
47. Grandpa Elliot
Born on July 10, 1944, in New Orleans, Louisiana, Elliot Small died on March 8, 2022. He died at the age of 77 after complications from an infection.
Small started his career singing as a funk musician before he adopted the Grandpa Elliot persona. He performed as a street musician in the French Quarter of New Orleans.
48. Syl Johnson
On July 1, 1936, Syl Johnson was born in Mississippi; he died on February 6, 2022, in Georgia. At the time of his death, he was 85; he passed away from heart failure.
Johnson was a blues singer who was best known for his songs Different Strokes, Come On Sock It to Me, Is it Because I’m Black, and Take Me to the River. He released a total of 17 albums between 1968 and 2017.
49. Dwayne Haskins
Born in New Jersey on May 3, 1997, Dwayne Haskins passed away on April 9, 2022 in Florida. He was hit by a vehicle at the age of 24.
Haskins played in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Prior to being drafted by the NFL, he played for Ohio State University.
50. Kenny J
Born on July 15, 1952, Kenrwrick Joseph died on January 2, 2022. He passed away from Covid-19 at the age of 69.
Kenny J was a professional soca parang and calypso singer in Trinidad and Tobago. His songs included The Paint Brush, Leave She Alone, and Addicted to Sweet Soca. He was also a retired police officer.
51. Arnold Mickens
On October 12, 1972, Arnold Mickens was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He passed away on January 18, 2022, at the age of 49; his cause of death has not been released.
Mickens played football with the Indianapolis Colts and the Butler University Bulldogs. He later worked as a high school counselor in Indianapolis.
52. Soumeylou Maiga
On June 8, 1954, Soumeylou Maiga was born in Mali; he died at the age of 67 on March 21, 2022. The cause of death has not been released.
Maiga was the Prime Minister of Mali from 2017 until his resignation in 2019. Prior to this, he served as the vice president of the Alliance for Democracy in Mali, Minister of Defense, and Secretary-General of the Presidency.
53. Ernie Andrews
Born on December 25, 1927, Ernie Andrews died on February 21, 2022. He passed away from complications related to a blood clot he sustained after a fall at the age of 94.
Andrews was a jazz and rhythm and blues singer whose songs included If I Had You, Travellin’ Light, and Some Enchanted Evening. He sang with the Harry James Orchestra for several years.
54. Jimmy Johnson
On November 25, 1928, Jimmy Johnson was born in Mississippi. He died on January 31, 2022, at the age of 93.
Johnson was a blues singer and guitar player who released 13 albums between 1977 and 2019. In 2016, he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis, Tennessee. In addition, he was recognized as the “Best Blues Guitar Player” by Living Blues in 2020 and the “Blues Artist of the Year” in 2021.
55. Moe Brooker
Born in Philadelphia on September 24, 1940, Moe Brooker passed away on January 9, 2022. He was 81 at the time of his death; a cause was not released.
Brooker was a multitalented artist who studied fine art at Temple University. He was a painter, sculptor, printmaker, and educator. Furthermore, he was the first Black faculty person at the Cleveland Institute of Art.
56. Kuli Roberts
Born in South Africa on December 16, 1972, Kuli Roberts died on February 9, 2022. She was 49 at the time; her cause of death was not released.
Roberts was an actress and journalist. She worked as a fashion and beauty editor and television presenter in South Africa. Roberts co-hosted the reality show What Not To Wear from 2004 to 2005.
57. Lawrence Brooks
Born on September 12, 1909, Lawrence Brooks passed away on January 5, 2022, at the age of 112.
Brooks was the oldest World War II veteran in the United States. He is also believed to have been the oldest man in the country when he died. Despite serving his country, he was denied GI benefits after the war because he was Black.
58. John Drew
Born on September 30, 1954, John Drew passed away on April 10, 2022, at the age of 67 after having bone cancer.
Drew was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in 1974 and played in the National Basketball Association. He later played for the Utah Jazz. Drew was an NBA All-Star in 1976 and 1980.
59. Lionel James
Born in Georgia on May 25, 1962, Lionel James died in Alabama on February 25, 2022. He passed away at the age of 59 after a long battle with an undisclosed illness.
James played football at Auburn University before being drafted by the National Football League in 1984. He played for the San Diego Chargers and later became a coach and a mathematics teacher.
60. Kirk Baptiste
On June 20, 1962, Kirk Baptiste was born in Texas. He died on March 24, 2022, at the age of 59 from complications of cancer.
Baptiste was an Olympic sprinter who made his debut at the 1984 Olympics, winning silver in the 200 meters final. He also won the 200 meters race at the NCAA championships in 1984 and 1985.
61. Max Julien
Born on July 12, 1933, Max Julien died on January 1, 2022. He was 88; no cause of death was released.
Julien was an actor, writer, director, and producer. He appeared in films including The Mack, Getting Straight, Up Tight, and The Savage Seven. Julien also acted in television shows like The Mod Squad, The Name of the Game, and One of One.
Black Celebrities That Died in 2022, Final Thoughts
As we celebrate the lives of those who have passed in 2022, let us remember the talent and positivity that they brought to the world. Each of these people had their own way of contributing something special to their community and the greater society. These Black celebrities will be remembered for years to come.