What actually happened this year? Can you remember? It all feels like a blur – let’s recap
After 2016, the year of celebrity deaths and realising things, 2017 was supposed to offer some respite – a fresh start from a hellfire year that saw Brexit and Trump get voted for. It did not. After Trump’s inauguration in January, we spent most of the month (and year) in protest. There were hints that things were going to change around February, when Brie Larson refused to clap for Casey Affleck as he received his Oscar, but the tipping point came in October when the New York Times published a piece exposing Harvey Weinstein for years of sexual assault and harassment. After that, the floodgates were opened – meaning that the rest of the year was spent exposing other powerful men for their crimes against women (and some men).
But, as bleak as it’s seemed, it wasn’t all bad – all that political and social unrest has led to some kind of unity between women and people fighting for a better world. There have been big changes in the worlds of equal marriage, and other social issues as well as technological advancements – we’ve even had humanoid robots, in a terrifying step towards the future.
Here, we break down all of the maddest, bleakest, and most exciting things to happen this year – let’s hope 2018 is maybe the year things get a bit better?
Left battered and bruised from 2016, more formally known as the year that everybody died, January ushered in the death of democracy as we know it as an orange rotund reality TV star (not Snooki from Jersey Shore) became the 45th President of the United States.
While Obama’s inauguration boasted performances from Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Sheryl Crow, Jon Bon Jovi, Shakira, and Bruce Springsteen, to large jubilant crowds, Donald Trump came up short. Having rejected his “good friend” Kanye for “not being American enough”, Trump’s rather lacklustre event included DJ Ravi Drums and Angelina Jolie’s dad. The whole thing riled women up worldwide and thus ensued the largest protest in U.S history as over 3 million women gathered to protest the incoming administration. Given that one of his first acts as president was to sign an executive order to restrict women’s rights it seems it fell on deaf ears.
With democracy definitely dead, Vine followed suit, shutting down one of the only sites that could get us through the dark days that were to come. Next came the "Muslim Ban" which sparked the New York Taxi Workers Alliance strike at JFK airport. When Uber cashed in on the strike Twitter rallied together to encourage everyone to #DeleteUber. At the end of the month Dazed’s Dominique Sisley wrote: “Congratulations to you all for making it this far. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been feeling ill and anxious for weeks.” Anyway, at the very least we were given the gift of a beautiful meme: Richard Spencer getting punched in the street.
Text Kemi Alemoru
We entered the era of alternative facts, alt-right and outright lunacy, which stepped up a notch when the Trump administration invented a terrorist attack to justify its Muslim ban (an executive order restricting US travel from seven majority Muslim countries). Kellyanne Conway, advisor and former campaign manager to Trump, referred to the “Bowling Green massacre”, a terrible (and completely fictional) incident in which two Iraqi men killed US soldiers in Kentucky.
Another (less harrowing) injustice occurred when Adele’s dull rehash of her previous album beat Beyoncé’s ground-breaking Lemonade to Album of the Year at the Grammys. Even Adele knew she shouldn’t have won, breaking her award in half to share with the Bey like the prom scene in Mean Girls. Award shows forgot how to award again as the cast and crew of La La Land took to the stage to accept Best Picture. In a dramatic twist, it turned out that Barry Jenkin’s Moonlight, the poetic coming of age tale of a gay black man in Miami that everyone thought should win, was actually the victor.
The month also saw the tragic loss of seminal Chinese photographer Ren Hang, who we commemorated with a gallery of his otherworldly photographs. Finally, a surreal viral video depicting train passengers repeatedly placing bagels on a man’s head may have summed up all it means to be British. It has to be seen to be believed.
Text Simon Fearne
Let’s take a pit stop because things are already getting pretty heavy. I want to give you some good news to remind you that good things can still happen, sort of like when Canada announced plans to legalise weed, presumably to calm the nation given the state of their disorderly neighbour, America. Or when Karl Lagerfeld made you believe in magic by launching a massive rocket at the end of his AW17 show. Jordan Peele’s satirical horror was a definitive moment for black cinema post-Moonlight, smashing records and showing the undying thirst for original storytelling unpacking America’s complicated relationship with. Thinking of all that I feel a lot less triggered ... triggered like Article 50 which Theresa May signed dooming us all to Brexit. Shit, sorry.
Text Kemi Alemoru
The phrase April showers rang true, at least metaphorically, this year as it all got a bit pathetic fallacy. Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi ad was pulled for raining on everyone’s parade, making light of the serious protests against misogyny and racial inequality. Many were left shocked by the company’s incompetence to deal with the ad that did nothing to promote it’s desired message of unity. Fyre Festival, hosted by Ja Rule, was a complete wash-out as the luxury getaway that was promised gave way to Lord of the Flies. Attendees – who paid between $4,000 to $12,000 for their tickets – were apparently greeted by half-built tents, rubbish heaps, and “feral dogs” when they arrived on the site. Elsewhere, reports started to stream in about Chechnya’s treatment of gay men when accounts of specially opened concentration camps reached the world stage.
Sony music ditched Dr Luke after years of alleged sexual abuse of Kesha. And we all felt a storm was brewing when Theresa May left us all bemused by calling a snap election to take place in June.
Text Shelley Withington
Survivors of the horrific Chechen Prison Camps came forward to tell their harrowing stories. With some saying families were being told to kill their gay children or else they would. The UK was hit by Manchester Terror attacks, which took the lives of 22 people at a live concert. However, Ariana Grande who performed that evening quickly organised a benefit concert with the proceeds going to the victims of the attack and their families.
The concert was a massive reminder that although things get dreadfully shit sometimes, most people are decent and eager to pull together and help. The aftermath showed the resilient spirit of the North England town and it’s worker bee symbol became known worldwide. Thousands of Mancunians rushed to get the symbol tattooed on themselves in memory of those lost.
In the East, Taiwan became the first place in Asia to legalise gay marriage. In the West, Finn Wolfhard took the crown of the Dazed 100.
Text Shelley Withington
Over in the states, things were getting increasingly beyond parody as a bill was passed in Texas stating that every aborted foetus must receive a proper funeral. Katy Perry, this was the time to jump back into the limelight for her next album, though it quickly became clear she'd forgotten who she was or what the word “purposeful” meant. She promised Witness would usher in a new era of “purposeful pop”. Unfortunately “swish swish bish” did nothing to dismantle the Trump administration.
Britain had its third terrorist attack of the year at London Bridge, the second since the snap General Election was called. Fashion got political as designer Katherine Hamnett launched the “Choose NHS” campaign to help keep the NHS intact. All the proceeds went directly towards helping young people vote tactically to make June the end of (Theresa) May. It wasn’t the end of her, but it set her off on a humiliating and hilarious downwards spiral as she left the door open for Corbynites to get even stronger. Young voters and BME voters gave Labour a significant boost as Stormzy and #Grime4Corbyn gave the boy the seal of approval. I don’t think Jeremy Corbyn has been able to enter a room since without cries of “Oh Jeremy Corbyn” which is probably getting a little old.
Under a week after Labour took the Kensington borough for the first time in many years, there was a lot of conversation about how the result symbolised the huge disparities between the poor and rich in the borough. But nobody could have predicted another tragedy that would serve as a glaring reminder. The Grenfell Tower blaze was and is a burning emblem for the state of our country showing that somewhere we’d lost our way and succumbed to the conspiracy of austerity, profiteering and democratic unaccountability.
It seems NASA discovered other Earth-like planets just in time. Maybe we can all escape to and start afresh if we hop in the Chanel rocket.
Text Storm Thompson
R Kelly kickstarted this year’s disturbing trends of male celebrities everyone admired turning out to be deviant sex offenders. BuzzFeed News released a report stating that several women were allegedly being held hostage in the ‘Ignition’ singer’s homes. R Kelly has denied allegations that he is the ringleader of a sex cult despite parents of the victims coming forward to make statements in their daughter's defence.
Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington, 41, sadly commited suicide. Over in the UK, tensions ran extremely high after Rashan Charles died in police custody in East London. Hundreds of people gathered in Dalston to protest chanting “murderers” and “You kill our people,” to police. All eyes stayed on the East of the city as a spate of acid attacks started to raise a lot of red flags about the availability of noxious substances. This culminated in an attack where five people were squirted with acid in 72 minutes in multiple locations in the capital.
A quick gear change: Girls Trip raked in over $30 million in its opening weekend making it the best opening of an R-rated comedy in years.
Text Storm Thompson
If it’s possible to convince climate change deniers of anything, a string of natural disasters proved that the planet is actually pretty fucked. Hurricane Harvey was the first major hurricane to hit the US in more than a decade: 77 people died and nearly 50,000 homes were damaged when South east Texas was flooded. Both Lil B and Beyoncé offered their support; the former was quicker to respond than the President who did not meet the victims until a week after the hurricane hit. Meanwhile India, Bangladesh and Nepal suffered devastating monsoon floods, killing 1,200.
America was not a good place to be this August not just because of the turbulent weather but because of its teeming with racists. There were outbreaks of right-wing violence and its first hurricane in a decade. Racists with flaming torches dominated newsstands after a Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville turned violent. 32 year old social rights campaigner Heather Heyer was murdered by domestic terrorist James Fields when he rammed his car into a group of anti-racist protesters. Trump condemned the violence “on many sides”, as if the white supremacists driving cars into crowds were somehow on an equal moral footing with the peaceful protestors. Barcelona also suffered a terror attack when 13 people of ten different nationalities were killed by a van ploughing into the crowd. ISIS claimed responsibility.
Text Simon Fearn
September saw another string of natural disasters. In Puerto Rico, Hurricane Maria killed 34 people. Trump complained “I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack” when he visited. In central Mexico an earthquake killed 237 people, including many children who were crushed as their schools turned to rubble. Also in Mexico, an unfortunate case of life mirroring art saw location scout Carlos Muñoz Portal shot dead while looking for places to film violent Netflix drug cartel drama Narcos.
There was one more step backwards for progress when L’Oréal fired its first transgender model Munroe Bergdorf after she told white people to check their privilege following the Charlottesville attacks. In a statement L’Oréal said they made the decision because they support “diversity and tolerance towards all people”. Bergdorf did not fail to point out the irony.
Londoners let out a collective gasp when TfL refused to renew Uber’s licence in the capital. The taxi firm was accused of not running sufficient background checks on its drivers and failing to report sex attacks. We’re in no danger of having to shell out for a black cab any time soon though, as the appeals process could take years.
Text Simon Fearn
October began tragically, with a mass shooting in Las Vegas, the deadliest in United States history. Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and injured 546 before killing himself. Just a few days later, on October 5, the New York Times published their exposé of Harvey Weinstein, detailing decades of sexual abuse and harassment against women in Hollywood. This opened the floodgates for a slew of accusations against other attackers in Hollywood and other industries throughout October and the rest of the year, and saw Marilyn Manson firing his bassist over rape allegations later in the month and Kevin Spacey also being accused by actor Anthony Rapp.
In slightly better news, Gucci made the pledge to go fur free from SS18 on the 11th, Playboy featured its first ever transgender playmate, Ines Rau, and Sophia the Extremely Humanoid Robot became a Saudi citizen in a not-at-all-terrifying move. Additionally, Princess Nokia threw soup at a racist train passenger, and while not necessarily great news, Theresa May’s disastrous conservative party conference (the one she spent the whole time coughing and spluttering through) brought a few laughs in a very bleak month, at least.
Text Marianne Eloise
Morrissey continued being Morrissey when he defended Kevin Spacey and Weinstein. According to The Smiths star, victims ‘go along’ with a situation before changing their mind and claiming it wasn’t consensual. He continued: “But if the incident had gone very very well, and led to an incredible career, they wouldn’t mention it.” This led to the part-time singer, full-time troll claiming he had been misquoted. Something that was later refuted with Der Spiegel released the recordings.
In other blunderous celebrity news, so-called feminist Lena Dunham decided that #MeToo was a cause she could get behind as long as any of the alleged sexual deviants wasn’t one of her friends. Having previously asserted that women don’t lie about rape, Dunham rushed to defend Girls writer Murray Miller via a joint statement written with co-showrunner Jenni Konner saying that their “insider knowledge” of Murray meant he wasn’t capable of the alleged rape of a 17-year-old girl in 2012. Critics took this as further evidence that when Lena says she believes in the equality of women, she must only be talking about herself or women she decides are worthy, given that the victim was a woman of colour it was another red flag for how her activism often lacks intersectionality.
While Dunham’s hypocrisy and Morrissey’s bigotry shocked no one, the month’s most unexpected news was emo rap star, Lil Peep’s passing at the young age of 21.
Text Kemi Alemoru
To close out an extremely horrible year, we finally got some nice news. The month began with the announcement of a follow-up to iconic video-sharing Vine by the co-founder Dom Hofmann. Netflix also announced a Sabrina the Teenage Witch spinoff, a dark, occult-oriented show based on the comics.
In fashion, Calvin Klein tapped A$AP Mob for his new campaign on the 4th, while Kate Moss fronted the Saint Laurent 2018 campaign on the 5th and Balenciaga combined its men’s and women’s shows for AW18. Keen to capitalise on our newfound desire to consume media untarnished by sexual predators, a new website, Rotten Apples was created to tell you if there are any attached to the film you want to watch – and if so, who they are.
See you in 2018, enjoy tonight’s houseparty / club / staying in bed watching Netflix, whatever it is you’re doing. Lots of love.
Text Marianne Eloise