Just like that, 2022 is coming to a rapid close. It was a year filled with chaos, uncertainty, loss, pain, joy, resilience and everything in between. Reflecting on this year has reminded me, once again, that time is truly an illusion. When writing this roundup of pop culture moments that stood out to me this year, I initially listed things that happened in 2020 and 2021. That’s how much of a blur the past few years have been to me.
Through it all, I’ve stayed true to my chronically online self—closely following every morsel of vapid discourse on Twitter. I’ve gotten lost in threads about stupid celebrity gossip and truly delusional arguments over my favourite films. But not-so-quietly observing these discourses, both those that truly affect me, and those that have absolutely no bearing on my day-to-day life, have sustained me. It’s given me, and I’m sure some of you, somewhere to channel our energy.
When we’re feeling deflated at the state of the world, some silly diversions can make us feel better—even if only for a short while.
So while we brace ourselves for another year of mess, I’m here to remind us of some of the big events in pop culture of 2022. Let’s get into it.
Season 2 of Shonda Rhimes’ Bridgerton starring Simone Ashley and Charithra Chandan alongside Jonathan Bailey took the internet by storm. If you’re a rom-com girly like myself, this season of Bridgerton was a masterclass in yearning. Ashley and Bailey’s chemistry was electric and I have since rewatched the season. Bring back men embarrassingly pining for women! Put Simone and Charithra in more things!
Ah, the infamous slap. That’s right, I’m talking about Will Smith charging the stage at the 94th Academy Awards to bitch slap Chris Rock for making jokes about Jada Pinkett Smith’s alopecia. Immediately after the slap Smith shouted, “Keep my wife’s name out your f*cking mouth”. That same night, Smith won Best Actor for his performance in King Richard.
Now while the slap itself was truly ridiculous (I was one of the fortunate people who watched live in disbelief as this debacle unfolded), the discourses that followed were mind-numbing. People online were outraged at Smith for his behavior, demanding that he be banned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences—a magnitude of public pressure that we have rarely seen for serial abusers in the Academy such as Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, and Harvey Weinstein. I wish I could say I was surprised.
Diljit Dosanjh makes history with his world tour
Punjabi superstar Diljit Dosanjh made history with his “Born to Shine” tour, making him the first Punjabi artist to sell out many large arenas around the world. Fans around the world showed up and showed out at his shows in Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Australia. Beyond his tour, Diljit has spoken out about 1984 Sikh Genocide with his film Jogi—leveraging his success to invest in under- and misrepresented narratives in the community. His position on the global stage is pushing the envelope for artists to come.
The Try Guys Scandal
Many of us found ourselves googling, “Who are the Try Guys?” after our timelines were flooded with outrage over Ned Fulmer cheating on his wife. The Try Guys, a team of creators who started out together at Buzzfeed, amassed a loyal following who essentially watch the group *try* new things. One of the four members, Ned Fulmer, who had largely built his brand around loving his wife and children, was caught cheating on his wife with the Try Guys producer Alex Herrin. The rest of the Try Guys were made aware of this previously, and had already begun editing Fulmer out of their videos.
The legacy of Sidhu Moosewala
On May 29, 2022 Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, widely known as Sidhu Moosewala, was shot dead in Jawaharke village of the Mansa district in Punjab. Sidhu’s impact on the Punjabi community, and the global music industry is truly beyond description. His tragic loss sent shockwaves through the community. He was deeply passionate about his community and about the wellbeing of Punjabi youth. His care and concern was palpable in his music. His music served as an entry point into Punjabi language and culture for so many in the diaspora—it was a springboard for them to look into the political issues that make up our collective history.
Sidhu built bridges within our community, and with artists around the world. His global impact will live forever through his words and music. There’s never going to be another Sidhu Moosewala.
The Queen died
In September, Queen Elizabeth II died at the age of 96. Queen Elizabeth was the longest reigning monarch in British history. Her son, Charles III, was crowned King. While many mourned the loss of the monarch, plenty of communities around the world were indifferent, or even rejoiced at the monarch’s death. For the course of her lengthy reign Queen Elizabeth II represented a long and violent history of colonization and imperialism that lives on today. While her death doesn’t mark the end of the British monarchy, you won’t catch me shedding any tears over it anytime soon.
The Nepo Baby cover
Breaking news: Hollywood just found out about nepotism. The recent “nepo baby” discourse in Hollywood is comical for Bollywood fans, who have endured, and probably contributed to, the tired and relentless nepotism discourse within the Indian film industry. However, I will say that I thought the New York Magazine’s anchor essay, penned by Nate Jones, was just the messiness I needed. The essay broke down the contemporary artists who have previous ties to the industry. It highlighted celebrities such as Maude Apatow, Lily Rose Depp, Zoe Kravitz, Ben Platt and more. The tagline, “Aww look: She has her mother’s eyes. And agent.” Just delicious.
Tory Lanez found guilty
Just last week, Canadian rapper Tory Lanez was found guilty for the 2020 shooting of Megan Thee Stallion. According to CNN, Lanez pleaded not guilty on three counts: assault with a semiautomatic firearm, carrying a loaded unregistered firearm in a vehicle, and discharge of a firearm with gross negligence. The discourse around the trial exemplified how misogynoir is alive and well—and how it actively harms and works to silence Black women. Really, all I have to say about this trial is that I wish Megan so much love and healing. The amount of pain and retraumatizing she went through in this trial was horrifying to watch unfold in real time. She deserved so much more than what the world, and the industry she works in gave to her.
Now it’s impossible for me to highlight every influential pop culture moment of 2022. But rest assured, there will be plenty of mess in 2023. I’ll be there following every minute of it all.
Wishing you all a happy new year.
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