2013 was a banner year for scandals, outrage, triumph and discoveries. Below are a few which caught our attention.
NSA Whistleblower Snowden revealed to US citizens and the world America’s domestic and international spying program. It was heroic but the outrage wasn’t as tumultuous as he’d hope. None of us took to the streets in protest of what is, essentially, 1984 made real.
A thirteen year old girl who wanted to learn took a bullet to the head from the Taliban in 2012 and lived to triumph and to inspire girls worldwide, writing a book and garnering a Nobel Peace Prize in the process.
We were shocked by the Pope’s candor and world view considering the money and sex scandals which rocked the Vatican. Francis appears to batting for the poor and down trodden in real life and on Twitter but we’d like to see more. The Vatican has a problem.
Much was written about #BlackTwitter, or as we call it, Twitter; this year. Black people, primarily in the US, log onto Twitter to talk about everything and everyone as they would in real life in a way that other groups of people didn’t: in improvisational, witty, hilarious, serious, fun ways.
Beyonce dropped an album of 14 tracks and 17 videos, breaking the Internet overnight. While we’re not Beyonce stans, we were really thrilled by the level of discussion she sparked around feminism and womanhood. That’s a good thing because women are still second class citizens in the world. Is Beyonce a feminist? Ummm.
6. Loopy Blogger/ I’m In The Office
One of our favorite finds of 2013 was comedian Loopy Blogger, founder of I’m In The Office. We found him on Instagram twerking with a refrigerator and instantly recognized his genius. His comedy, usually topical and culturally specific (American Blacks, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans and New Yorkers are usually targets) and is brutally honest as well as funny. In fact, he could be speaking for a generation.
7. Don Lemon
There’s this misconception that Black folks are monolithic. Polarizing CNN host Don Lemon drew the ire of Twitter when he suggested on air that if young black men pulled their pants up they’d be less racially profiled. This is, of course, absurd, but a conversation about respectability politics was sparked and needed.
8. Chiwetel Ejiofor
A transcendent actor who brings to life characters and stories with lasting implications, Ejiofor helped changed the thread of the discourse on race with his performance as Solomon Northup in the Steve McQueen biopic 12 Years a Slave.
9. El General
Tunisian rapper El General must be given some credit for inciting his country’s revolution with his song “Rais Lebled”, released in December 2010. It has been described as the “anthem of the Jasmine Revolution” and gave other Tunisian rappers to produce songs calling for change in Tunisian society.
10. Adria Richards
Gender and inappropriate behavior among males was spotlighted earlier this year in Silicone Valley after techie Adria Richards posted the photos and comments of two males who made sexually suggestive jokes at a computer programming conference. Richards was fired by her company for basically calling out Dude-Bro behavior in a heavily sex it and male dominated industry.
Kanye got the side eye alot this year but he still came out on top with his Yeezus tour. His rants on fashion are questionable considering the power he welds but he still entertained where it counts: on record.
12. Nelson Mandela
Mandela died at 95 this year and the world lost of its greatest freedom fighters. While US media are turning him into Ghandi, never forget that this African son fought for freedom with a gun against a US and Israeli supported system of dehumanization: apartheid.
Obama is still being Rodney Dangerfield’ in 2013, one year into his second term. His overhaul of US healthcare hit snags with website crashes and bashes from pundits but he still won in his attempt to get Americans covered.
14. Minority Owned Media
The number of black owned TV stations dropped to ZERO this year. ZERO. but thankfully we owned other forms of media to get our word and interests out. Shout out to Uptown, Rolling out, allHipHop and city newspapers like Michigan Citizen.
15. Twerking & The Harlem Shake.
It’s really interesting and sad to witness history being appropriated and rewritten in real time. We refuse to mention her name but you-know-who did not invent it but, somehow, she’s built an image on the backs of black women and when you Google the dance her image pops up.
16.Kate Moss & Playboy
For the first time in a long, long while, Playboy became interesting and collectable again thanks to Kate Moss wearing clothes. Never mind we can find her nude on the Internet.
Governments who are terrible to their people often come for gays as a way to deflect focus on real problems. This is what Putin’s government did when it banned all gay “propaganda” in Russia, basically opening a floodgate of abuse and attacks on gays.
18. Jay Z
He’s married to Beyonce, he published MCHG, he teamed up with Barneys New York but faced backlash after reports of the store’s racial profiling, he negotiated a deal for Cano worth hundreds of millions, signed Victor Cruz and admitted some of his music sucked.
19. Anderson Silva
We witnessed one horrific bone break a few days ago. It could end his career.
20. Kevin Ware