- Oscar Mix-Up
The Academy Awards have seen its share of mistakes in the past (we all remember John Travolta heinously butchering Idina Menzel’s name), but the gaffe that will live in infamy was made Feb. 26, 2017. After being handed the wrong envelope, actor Warren Beatty mistakenly announced “La La Land” as the recipient of the Best Picture award when the Oscar was actually meant for the drama “Moonlight.” The mishap sparked both angry and humorous backlash from the entertainment industry and even a few conspiracy theories.
- Royal Engagement
In late November 2016, the world was in awe as Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle announced to the world their engagement. The world paused as it processed the anomaly that is Meghan Markle, acknowledging primarily her status as a woman of color. Additionally, headlines teemed as she was born and raised Catholic and the Queen is head of the Protestant church. Ms. Markle is a 36-year-old divorcee, as well. The couple’s relationship has broken many norms within the royal family and will be the center of attention leading up to their wedding day.
- Famous Deaths
The entertainment world lost a great deal of star power in the past year. Cinematic stars included 70s icon David Cassidy, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, comedian Jerry Lewis, Mary Tyler Moore and Batman himself, Adam West to name a few. Musical entertainers included Della Reese, Tom Petty, Fats Domino, Glen Campbell, Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, and Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington. And let’s not forget Playboy icon Hugh Hefner.
- Solar Eclipse
The total solar eclipse, which traversed across the continental United States Aug. 21, was a major event in 2017, especially for the United States. Many people, including President Donald Trump, took time out of their day to go outside to view the solar eclipse and to engage on social media regarding the event. The eclipse was significant as well because it was the first in nearly a century of this type of eclipse to travel across from one coast of the United States to another, according to National Geographic.
- Transgender Rights Progress
2017 was both a positive and negative year for the transgendered community. Victories for this community include eight transgender candidates being elected to office this November. These candidates include transgender women such as Danica Roem and Andrea Jenkins. Roem becoming the first openly trans women to win state office in America and Jenkins becoming the first transgender woman to hold public office. Despite these accomplishments, 2017 was also the deadliest year for transgender Americans. More transgender men and women were killed this year than any other year in the past decade. At least 28 transgender deaths were recorded in 2017.
2017 was a very large year for protests, both violent and nonviolent. The year started off with the massive worldwide women’s march following Donald Trump’s inauguration. This protest for women’s rights was one of the largest in the country’s history, with the Washington, D.C. march being the largest in the city since the Vietnam War. Attendance in the United States is estimated to be up to 5 million people, with even more in the whole world. Also, of note in 2017 was the #TakeaKnee movement, with athletes in the NFL and other sports kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and Donald Trump’s hateful rhetoric. On the violent side of protests, the far-right “Unite The Right” white nationalist rally in Charlottesville to protest the removal of a Confederate statue dominated the news cycle for months, with a domestic terrorist ramming his car through a group of counter-protesters leading to the death of Heather Heyer. Protests did not begin in 2017, nor will they cease to exist leading into 2018, but 2017 was the year of marginalized American citizens making themselves known.
- Las Vegas Shooting
On the night of Oct. 1, 2017, Stephen Paddock opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas, killing 59 people, plus himself. This shocked millions of people around the world, but especially in the nation where it is now known as the country’s deadliest mass shooting. This event has invigorated the debate on gun control, especially on the legality of the “bump fire stock,” a debate that is still happening well into 2018. Even now, it is a mystery why Paddock decided to carry out this tragedy. No terrorist links have been found, and no manifesto has been published, leading many to believe it was simply an act of senseless violence.
- Sexual Abuse
2017 was a huge year for sexual abuse survivors. With accusations against Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K, Kevin Spacey and several more famous men, a movement was sparked. Some of these people faced consequences in their personal lives while others did not. All of them, however, faced damage to their reputation. To raise awareness, the popular hashtag #MeToo was created, allowing those who had experienced sexual abuse or harassment to speak out about it and raise awareness to the fact that knowing someone who’s been a victim is more likely than not.
- Natural Disasters
The Northern Hemisphere was plagued with numerous natural disasters and in a short period. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria caused immense damage to the Caribbean and United States, leaving property damages and deaths in their paths. These hurricanes happened right after the other, and the latter two shined light onto Puerto Rico’s massive debt crisis, which is another reason these hurricanes were significant in 2017. These hurricanes were followed by the wildfires in California, which also resulted in major property damage and deaths. There were also numerous earthquakes during the year, including the earthquake in Mexico, which happened around the same time as the aforementioned natural disasters, which made 2017 stand out for years of natural disasters. In fact, according to The Washington Post, 2017 was the most expensive year for natural disasters in United States’ history.
- Trump’s First Year
Like 2016, a great majority of 2017 was dominated by the year’s newly inaugurated President Donald J. Trump. From what many call his “tweet storms” (that often only seem to dig his political grave further and further), his continued touting of his coined phrase “Fake News” (that continually undermines the American press and their First Amendment rights), being under a very long and intricate FBI investigation led by appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller (that has only caused him even further and more extreme scrutiny from the media), to his ongoing feud with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (that resembles a childlike mudslinging contest between two world leaders that only humiliates and endangers each of their countries), Americans and the rest of the globe have seen just about everything throughout this very long year of political change.