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The year pop culture was our saving: The best of Pop & Trends 2016

2016 is finally over, and after all we've been through, it's hard not to feel like Sideshow Bob stepping on rake after rake after rake.

As I sit here writing this, the news of Carrie Fisher’s death has just broken.

Best known as Princess/General Leia in “Star Wars,” Fisher was also an outspoken, smart, funny, talented, unapologetic woman who was also a strong advocate for substance abuse and mental health. 2016, truly the Heath Ledger’s “Joker” of years, has taken another outstanding artist and left us all feeling even emptier than we thought we could feel. From Prince to David Bowie to Alan Rickman to now Carrie Fisher, the cavalcade of untimely deaths of beloved celebrities has felt like a nasty and vindictive addition to the year of Trump and Brexit.

I don't see a year of despair. I see a year of resilience & courage. #BestofTheTempest2016 Click To Tweet

2016 is finally over, and after all we’ve been through, it’s hard not to feel like Sideshow Bob stepping on rake after rake after rake. And yet, as I look through all the amazing pieces written for The Tempest in this past year and reflect on how lucky I am to be joining you as the Pop + Trends Editor, I don’t see a year of despair. I see a year of resilience and courage.

2016 was the year that made art more important than ever. We need stories from all kinds of different voices and viewpoints. We need cultural commentary that points out injustice and shines a light on those of us who are usually forgotten or ignored. We need entertainment that helps us escape but also holds us up and brings us together. And if there’s any generalization we can make about women, it’s that we refuse to let our stories be silenced.

2016 was the year that made art more important than ever. #Best ofTheTempest2016 Click To Tweet

Let’s take a look back on a part of 2016 that might actually be encouraging. These are some of my favorite articles from the past year, and no matter what happens I can’t wait to meet the challenges of 2017 with all of you.

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1. Comic book writer G. Willow Wilson talks diversity, inclusion, and Ms. Marvel

Ms. Marvel

As anyone who follows us on Snapchat knows, I am big into comics about women. “Ms. Marvel” is a fantastic book that stars a young Muslim woman, Kamala Khan, as the superhero Ms. Marvel. This interview with the writer, G. Willow Wilson (who is also an author, journalist, and essayist), by Laila Alawa covers everything from inclusion in the comics industry, to Kamala’s Muslim faith, to advice for young women looking to follow in her footsteps.

2. 28 best #BernieHillaryRomComs for your viewing pleasure

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton

Is it okay to admit that, trolls and harassment notwithstanding, Twitter can be pretty great? There were a lot of election hashtags gimmicks over the year but I love a goofy one like this by Life + Love Editor, Nadia Eldemerdash.

Never stop being weird and silly, Internet!

3. 7 Bollywood films that will blow your mind

Priyanka Chopra

One of my favorite things about The Tempest, is that on any given page you can see articles celebrating art in all its diverse forms. Bollywood has been a major force in the international film scene for years, but a lot of people have assumptions about what Bollywood movies are or are not.

I love how this article by Tasneem Mandviwala highlights Bollywood films tackling important social and cultural issues.

4. Here’s why canceling the show “Mail Order Family” wasn’t enough

Stamps

As we continue to make strides in representation, it’s equally important to speak out when mainstream media continues to perpetuate harmful stereotypes or ignores social problems for the sake of a white-dude friendly joke.

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“Mail Order Bride” was the perfect example of NBC not thinking very hard about what they were doing, but also of people getting organized and speaking out. I think we’re all better off for this particular show not existing, a development covered by Cecilia Nowell.

5. I attended a special screening of “Hidden Figures,” the movie on the forgotten women of NASA, and it was AMAZING

Hidden Figures

This was such a cool event, I can’t help but include one of my own pieces in this roundup. If you’re reading this, “Hidden Figures” is out in theaters and I can’t encourage you enough to go see it. It’s such a heartwarming film about Black women thriving and achieving despite whatever odds are thrown at them.

“Hidden Figures” embodies the exact attitude that will help us as we move into 2017 and beyond.

Chelsea Ennen

Chelsea Ennen

Pop+Trends Editor Chelsea Ennen is a New York City based writer and recovering academic with an MA in contemporary literature, theory, and culture from King's College London. Her nonfiction writing has been published on The Mary Sue, HelloGiggles and The Female Gaze, and her dissertation on postfeminism versus third wave feminism in contemporary pop culture was accepted for presentation at the 2016 Indiana University of Pennsylvania English Graduate Organization Inter-Disciplinary Conference. She is the fiction editor of the Kaaterskill Basin Literary Journal and a novelist who would very much like to pet your dog, please.

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