Although this year has been shrouded in moments of awe and pop culture phenomenon, the bad sometimes outweighs the good.
1. The Advent of Donald Trump and his regime.
In the peculiar case of the 2017 presidential elect, his presence thus far has not been short of what one would expect from Donald Trump: incessant Twitter rants, Xenophobia and Racist rhetoric, heated contention against North Korean Dictator Kim Jong II and the firing of any and everyone who failed to adhere to his authority as Commander–In–Chief. He even fired the Director of the FBI for failing to exhibit loyalty to him. Many of Trump’s fiascos have been rooted in irrationality and foolish decisions with him at the forefront. His emergence as president was a complete disappointment to not only the 65.8 million people who casted a vote for Hillary Clinton but to the rest of Americans that don’t agree with his foolhardy antics. This was by far the biggest pop – culture catastrophe and that’s why, as bittersweet as it is, it had to first.
2. Beyoncé & Adele Perform At The Grammys
Now you’ll know it would be an irreparable offense to the Bey Hive to not include Queen Bey at the top of the list but when you add world-renowned, British soul singer Adele into the mix along with the grand magnitude of performing on the Grammy stage, this is a definite recipe for vocal greatness and a sure-fire top spot on this list. Albeit Adele dropped the F-Bomb because she started her rendition off-key and had to restart her tribute to the late George Michael, she still was able to finish strong with her performance of Michael’s “Fastlove,” a Hot 100 Top 10 hit off his song 1996 album Older. On another note, Beyoncé’s performance of two of her more emotional songs on the album: Love Drought and Sandcastles solidified her status as one of the biggest entertainers in the world.
3. Moonlight Wins Best Picture at the Oscars
An introspective lens into the maturation of a young Black man is an uncharted narrative that had yet to be thoroughly examined in mainstream American cinema until the silver – lining adaptation of 2016 American coming – of – age drama film written and directed by Barry Jenkins. The story follows a young man named Chiron through a sequence of three pivotal stages in his life: his youth, adolescence and early Adult life as he explores his sexuality and struggles with domestic instability and physical/emotional abuse. With Jenkins taking a dive into new waters, expectations for winning Best Picture were beyond reach. Moreover, the uniqueness, outstanding cast and overall novelty of the film is what stirred such a resounding buzz, placing it at the forefront of the 2017 Academy Awards. Along with its title of Best Picture, it was nominated for five additional awards: “Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role,” “Academy Award for Best Director,” “Academy Award for Best Original Music Screen Play”, “Academy Award for Best Cinematography” & “Academy Award for Best Film Editing.” Due to Moonlight’s outstanding exhibition of Black Excellence, it’s status as #3 on my list may not do it the proper justice. Nevertheless, it’s still a remarkable staple within American film of the 21st century, making its glory moment one of the best this year has to offer in popular culture.
4. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Get Engaged
There’s always going to be immense attention towards His Royal Highness Prince Harry of Wales and his commitment to marriage. The decision to dedicate your life to someone else is normal and something not very far-fetched from such a physically dazzling British prince. However, most of its allure stems from his partner Megan Markle and her status as a multi-racial woman. Now, this would be considered an astonishing 2017 pop – culture moment solely because Prince Harry chose to marry. However, once the element of him marrying someone who’s non – white comes into play, this transforms the trajectory of the British family forever. This moment is on this list because it’s a historical milestone point blank. The revolution has been and will continue to be televised.
5. The Rise Of Cardi B
Starting off as a raucous, strongly opinionated figure from VH1’s “Love & Hip-Hop: New York,” Belcalis Almanzar, better known as Cardi B spearheaded the 2017 Hip-Hop scene with the longest – running No.1 track by a solo female rapper: “Bodak Yellow.” With the success of Bodak Yellow, she has skyrocketed her brand into an international household name. From clubs to parties, baby showers, marriages and Bar Mitzvahs, Bodak Yellow is being played from DJ booths all around the world. Just being a girl from The Bronx, Cardi has asserted her presence this year and as long as she continues to produce quality music, more is to be expected in 2018.
6. The Year of the Feminist
On January 21st, 2017, The Women’s March in Washington D.C. took place. Days following the hardily memorable inauguration of Donald Trump as president, Millions of women from around the world took to the streets in protest against rape culture and to advocate in favor of women’s rights, immigration reform, and healthcare. There was an estimated 2 to 3 million women, as well as some men at the March as well. As almost a direct result of the March, women all around the nation grew inclined to run positions in office and to open up about their personal experiences with rape and molestation. The Women’s March was the “largest single-day demonstration in recorded U.S history,” according to Vogue Magazine. All in all, 2017 was a great year for advocacy of women’s rights. I’m pretty confident this year was only the precursor to the greatness 2018 has in store for women across the nation.
7. America witnesses Solar Eclipse
Some would think to ponder again on the validity of this as a “pop – culture” moment. Although it doesn’t align with the general definition of “pop culture,” it was still a very popular occurrence that deserves to be noticed. On August 21st, 2017, all of North America was afforded the once – in – a – lifetime opportunity to witness the moon completely cover the sun. This moment was so impactful simply because of the fact that it only happens twice every three years. It had to be placed on our list.
8. MAN!, 2017 Was A Great Year for Hip-Hop
Many Hip – Hop heavy hitters came swinging with all they had this year. From Jay-Z’s pledge for atonement and sentiments meant to provoke thought for grown men with 4:44 to Kendrick Lamar’s vulnerable, yet brilliant album DAMN, no one came to play around this year. Even Hip – Hop Legends Wu-Tang Clan, N.E.R.D. and Fabolous and Jadakiss released some fire albums to finalize a year full of quality Hip – Hop music. Newcomers like Gold Link from Washington D.C. and A Boogie from the Bronx were able to emerge onto mainstream appeal and showcase their distinct lyrical and song making abilities which collaborate to bolster the genre as a whole. Most artists did not disappoint and overall, this year produced some of the best albums of the 2010s decade to date.
9. Colin Kaepernick Wins 2017 GQ Citizen of The Year Award
Ever since Kaepernick decided to take a knee against standing for the National Anthem in 2016 to protest systemic police brutality against Black people, he has been denounced by NFL owners, News Commentators and Racist folk throughout the nation. Unfortunately, he has even been fired from his position as starting quarterback with the San Francisco 49ers. The NFL has made it their business to blackball Kaepernick and make an example of what happens to players when they exercise their national right to personal activism in the realm of American professional football. Despite Kaepernick’s hardships with the NFL, he has gained a large following from Americans who concede with his actions and believe that as a human on American soil, he had all the right to stand up against such malignant force. As a result of winning GQ magazine’s Citizen Of The Year award, Kaepernick exemplifies courage and upstanding character, standing up and being a scrupulous figure for Black men, young and old, to look up to all around the nation. Sadly, the adversity he endured over the past couple of years merely for non-violent protest shows that no matter who you are, one is still subject to scrutiny and mass denunciation from the powers that be. Although he still hasn’t found a new team yet, he’s found a new role that requires more than just physical dexterity. His new role as an emblem of resistance and activism requires immeasurable heart. Let’s see him keep this up in the new year. #gokaep
10. Wonder Woman and its impressive ratings
This year marks the first adaption of DC’s female superhero Wonder Woman since 1974. With DC’s mediocre track record consisting of sub-par Batman and Superman films for the last decade, Wonder Woman single-handedly succeeded in shifting the narrative with excellent box office reviews. On its opening day, the film grossed $103.3 million worldwide. This newfound trend may maintain but only time shall determine such fate.