In trying to reflect on what even happened this year, I was reminded that it was so traumatic that I really couldn’t remember any of it. 

What got me through the year though, and what gets me through most things, is being so painfully online that I know pretty much everything that is happening in the world, including the things that do have any impact on my life. 

Yup—I’m talking about the celebrity gossip, the viral moments, the trending topics—giving me a reason to enact my favourite pastime: being shady.

The world is a dark place, and sometimes disconnecting and getting lost in pop culture nonsense, including who is dating who, why something is trending, and who the Internet currently is hating on, can be an act of both self-care and self-hate. A balancing act I perform well. 

So, although this entire year was a blur, there are some moments that were simply unforgettable. Although there’s always something sending social media into a stir, these trending moments had us glued to our screens. 

Here’s our roundup of big moments that took over in 2021.


It’s hard to talk about 2021 without talking about the jaw-dropping moment that kicked this year off. The Capitol Hill riots in the U.S. where hundreds of white supremacists stormed the capitol, was how we kicked off a year that felt like a riot already. If anything should have been an indicator of what was to come, that would have been it. 


Duke and Duchess of Sussex Meghan and Harry pulled a K3G and officially left the royal family this March after strife with their in-laws, being extremely relatable to Desis everywhere. Their Oprah Winfrey interview shed light on the racism that Meghan and her children experienced at the hands of the family, and what led to their eventual departure.


A ship called the Ever Given was stuck in the Suez Canal in March for over a week, causing major transportation and shipping disruptions. The rescue mission had the world captivated, because everyone was worried about whether or not they’d get their furniture on time. I mean, capitalism can’t be stopped for too long, right? 

#Rihanna supporting the #FarmersProtests was a huge story this year. It helped the protests gain more global recognition and inspired other celebrities and figures to also share their support, and prompted the Indian government to launch a campaign denouncing Rihanna, and others, including teen Greta Thunberg.


Jenny from the Block and Ben Affleck reunited this year shortly after her split from Aaron Rodriguez, giving many some early 2000s nostalgia. The iconic couple have history and their reunion definitely was a big moment of the year, and they have continued to serve up some major PDA since.


Kim Kardashian officially filed for divorce from Kanye West earlier this year sending social media into a frenzy, but not as much as when she popped out with Pete Davidson, who she is rumoured to be currently dating.


Honourable mention to Kim’s “more interesting to look at” sister, Kourtney, who got engaged to drummer and musician Travis Barker earlier this year. Many on social media have speculated that the Kardashians, (starting with Kourt and now Kim with Pete), are ushering in a new brand of boyfriends who are ghoulish and tattooed. 

#YearofDiljit From chart topping MoonChild Era album with Intense & record breaking film Honsla Rakh shot right in Surrey, Diljit Dosanjh has had one heck of a year, and his star is only continuing to rise. 


Pop superstar Britney Spears was finally freed from her conservatorship after a years-long social media campaign. This opened up a broader dialogue about conservatorships and the way that in many cases they can be oppressive and ableist, and deny people with disabilities or mental health issues their autonomy. 


If you haven’t seen it yet, you are just trying to be different (I haven’t seen it yet because I am annoying), but Squid Game took over Netflix this year and became a global phenomenon. Much like any viral thing, it came with rich celebrities sharing how out of touch they are and wearing Squid Game like a costume. 


Tragedy took place at Travis Scott’s Astroworld concert in Houston in November, claiming the lives of 10 people and injuring many more in the mosh pit turned mayhem in the large crowd. First-hand accounts detail how the show continued despite many screaming that individuals were being trampled in the audience. Scott recently spoke out for the first time about the incident, claiming he “didn’t know the incident was a mass casualty event” until after the police press conferences.


Adele released her album 30 in November, which has been at the top of the charts for five weeks running. Ahead of the album, Adele’s promotional IG Lives, interviews, and concerts took over social media, and reminded people of both her likeable personality and stellar singing and songwriting. 


Tom Holland and Zendaya were rumoured to be dating for months before a paparazzi photo leaked earlier this year of the pair kissing. Then, as promotions for Spiderman kicked off in November and early December, they became more candid about their feelings for each other, with Zendaya calling Holland “her Spiderman,” and Holland calling her “My MJ,” and reminding the rest of us we are all alone.

#VickyandKatrina When it was announced that actors Vicky Kaushal and Katrina Kaif were married this month it was shared on virtually every brown girl’s IG story all week long (hashtag inspo). The superstar wedding (and their stunning Sabyasachi outfits) have made headlines throughout the month, as the couple’s nuptials took many by pleasant surprise.

There’s likely many more stories that we’re missing, but alas, we can guarantee that 2022 will be just as much of a shitshow as this year. 

Happy new year! 

About the author

Rumneek Johal

Rumneek is a journalist, host and speaker. She is currently the BC Reporter at Press Progress where she focuses on systemic inequality, workers and communities, as well as racism and far-right extremism. Her previous work centers on asking tough questions within her community, starting conversation and chipping away at the status quo. Other focus areas for her work include the South Asian community, arts and culture, pop culture, and more. She is a proud Punjabi woman from Surrey, BC.

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