On January 20, 2016, the prophet Kylie Jenner predicted this year will be the year of "realizing stuff." In a video posted to her YouTube channel, she says "Everyone around me, we're all just, like, realizing things." True! One platitude is worth a thousand words. And with a little less than half a year left before 2017 comes barging into our lives like the gigantic Kool-Aid pitcher it is, the time to take stock in what we've realized has never been more appropriate.
They say you have to think something into existence, but no one could possibly have thought Harambe would happen; the same can be said of Kim Kardashian West's CVS-length "Famous" receipts. Though, perhaps the youngest Jenner simply uttering that simple phrase was enough to set the gears in motion. Either way, we've come to realize some real lies with our real eyes... among other things, of course. Read on for our discoveries.
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Don't Mess With Kim Kardashian West Taylor Swift said she was going to take time off after her 1989 World Tour wrapped. "I think people might need a break from me," she said. Then Kanye West released his album, The Life of Pablo, which featured the song "Famous," which contained the lyric "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/ Why?/ I made that bitch famous," which did not sit well with Team Swift. The months-long ordeal found Swift playing the victim to Kanye West's predator... again. West said he personally called Swift to get her approval of the lyric; Swift said he only called to see if she would release the song on her social channels. Kardashian West told GQ there was video proof of the phone call; Swift allegedly threatened legal action if the Wests didn't get rid of the tape. Come July, after an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians that featured Kardashian West fuming over the Swift ordeal aired, she uploaded clips of the phone call video to Snapchat. I-C-O-N-I-C.
Twitter immediately started the #KimExposedTaylorParty hashtag, reveling in the veil being lifted off of pop's pristine princess. Not only was Swift exposed for lying and playing the victim, she was exposed for manipulating the press. The exposure didn't do much damage, though. Her tabloid-making relationship with Tom Hiddleston wound up buzzing longer than her exposure, but forget the #KimExposedTaylorParty we will not.
Our Icons Are Mortal The death of David Bowie left the world stunned. The subsequent passings of Alan Rickman, Prince, and Muhammad Ali, too, forced us to confront our own mortality. They humanized these otherworldly figures. If someone as extraordinary as Bowie can die, so, too, can we.
White Male Privilege Prevails So, Ryan Lochte gets intoxicated and lies about being robbed at gunpoint in Rio only to get a "boys will be boys" slap on the wrist. Meanwhile, three-time Olympic medal winner Gabby Douglas didn't put her hand over her heart during the National Anthem and got bullied over social media and told to smile more. Something's running amok here, and that something is called white male privilege. Thankfully, Lochte's dealing with the consequences now, as he's been dropped by nearly all his sponsors. Douglas, on the other hand, is thriving.
The World Is Made For Exploring, Thanks To "Pokemon Go" What did people do before "Pokemon Go," the augmented reality smartphone game? Sit inside and stare at a blue screen. But with the introduction and wild popularity of "Pokemon Go," those people took their screen-staring to the great outdoors where the Pokemon are. Wow! Technology rules. Now, people look like they are constantly texting when really they're trying to catch 'em all. Sometimes this leads to robberies and discovering a dead body, but hey, at least people are going outside and getting fresh air. That has to count for something, right?
Harambe And The Meme-fication Of Serious Topics Nothing is sacred on the internet—not even the death of a zoo animal. Harambe, a gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo, was killed after he grabbed a child who had wandered into his enclosure. What started as outrage from animal rights activists gave way to ironic social media posts claiming "Bush did Harambe." What's fascinating is how long the Harambe meme has lasted. At this point, people sharing the meme aren't talking about Harambe, the gorilla, they're talking about the meme. The internet has a funny way of using memes to make sense of difficult, often troubling situations. We've seen it with Donald Trump's presidential campaign and even the conversation around who Becky was, following Beyonce's release of LEMONADE, which revolved around issues deeper than rumored infidelity. It's too early to tell how problematic this all really is, but many argue it highlights the best and worst qualities of us as humans: the ability to ignore serious topics in favor of ironic ones in order to cope.
The Summer Blockbuster Is A Bust We were promised a summer of bombast at the movies. What we got were flops—both critical and financial. Suicide Squad didn't live up to its year-long hype, and the Ben-Hur remake is slated to be the summer flop to end all summer flops. Ghostbusters didn't do too hot either, and who even remembers The Legend of Tarzan and Independence Day: Resurgence coming out? Not many, sadly. Perhaps next year, Hollywood. Perhaps next year.
Celebrities Can Only Take So Much Trolling Internet trolls say terrible things to get a rise out of someone. Often times, they troll celebrities, thinking their subjects won't read their comment. If this year has taught us anything, it's that celebrities do read your hate and do get affected. Justin Bieber deleted his Instagram because his fans were rude to a rumored girlfriend; Leslie Jones retweeted the racist things people were saying to her before briefly leaving the platform; Fifth Harmony's Normani Kordei left Twitter after a slew of racist remarks were thrown her way. The list, unfortunately, goes on. The hate does, too. Hopefully, people wise-up and realize their words, whether delivered virtually or not, aren't shouted into the void willy-nilly.
Vocal Coaching Leads To Passion Projects After teasing her album to the point it became near-fable, Rihanna finally released Anti. And with it, unveiled a new sound and vocal strength audiences hadn't ever heard. Anti wasn't the album people wanted in the beginning, but boy, does it have legs. "Work" stayed at the top of the charts for weeks. "Work" collaborator Drake also dropped his album, Views, which featured stronger vocals and more nuanced deliveries. In the same vein, Britney Spears' ninth studio album, Glory, is shaping up to be one of the best pop albums of the year. Her voice has never sounded more alive, and the bops truly bop. It just goes to show what a little effort and practice can do for an artist's legend status.
Your Vote Counts If Britain's decision to leave the European Union taught us anything, it's that our vote counts. One U.K. citizen went on record to say they thought their vote wouldn't have mattered. Well, it did, and now Britain is on its own. With the 2016 presidential election a few months away, we cannot hammer home enough the importance of getting out and voting. You may feel like your vote is just a number in a crooked system, but it matters—really and truly. Exercise your right. Hey, there's something exciting about having a say in our future.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Oscar Winner It happened, everyone. It really did. Leonardo DiCaprio won the Oscar he's been vying for, for what feels like forever. Now, whenever his name comes up in a trailer, it will say "Academy Award-winner Leonardo DiCaprio." How... validating.