Pop culture to check out from 2018

Zoe Klein, Staff Writer

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Historically, the entertainment industry has turned the spotlight away from many minority groups and communities. In 2018, many of the books, songs, and movies that were released worked together to help bring more awareness to different social and political issues including sexism, racism, colorism, and homophobia. From an increase in minority representation to talking about teenage anxiety, 2018 made strides that you don’t want to miss.

“Turtles All The Way Down” by John Green is a book written from the perspective of an anxiety ridden teenage girl who reunites with a rich boy whose father has gone missing. This poignantly written ode to mental health is nothing short of miraculous. Green sheds light on the scrambled whirlwind that is mental illness, capturing the external impact of traumatic events on those with and without mental illnesses.

Although “Turtles All the Way Down” is up there, “Becoming” by Michelle Obama definitely takes the cake as one of the most influential books of the year. After selling more copies than any other book in 2018, Obama’s impact on the United States is shining brighter than ever before. People all over the country are looking to this book to remember the former first lady with nostalgic adoration.

Bringing diversity and cultural awareness to the frontline, “Black Panther” became wildly popular in a short period of time. With money flowing into the box office by the billions as the most popular Marvel movie yet, “Black Panther” is a trailblazer. The movie is a symbol of black power as the movie is one of the first examples of majority African-American casts in a mainstream, high-budget movie.

“Crazy Rich Asians” made a name for itself in Hollywood for its all Asian cast and focus on Asian-American culture. Recognizing racial biases and stereotypes against Asians, Kevin Kwan’s book brought a fascinating culture to the spotlight. The book, released in 2013, was adapted into a movie in 2018, which earned a chorus of positive reviews. Even though “Crazy Rich Asians” tends to fall more towards the light reading side than anything else, important topics like feminism, racism, and sexism take the spotlight.

2018 also brought more awareness to the queer community. As an adaptation of the 2015 hit book, “Simon vs. The Homosapiens Agenda”, “Love, Simon” had big shoes to fill. Although the movie was definitely a different take on the story, it ended up becoming exceedingly popular. People nationwide were able to come to terms with their identities, giving them a sense of community and safety.

“Pynk” by Janelle Monae was the feminist song of 2018. The symbolism within each and every lyric is mindblowing, and every listen brings a new idea or concept to the frontline. The portrayal of pink as the stereotypically feminine color and the powerful way she portrays the more suggestive parts of the song in her music video is creative and not as x-rated as one might think. Monae has chosen an early-2000s kind of feel in the production of this song, highlighting the immature or childish way in which women are portrayed in the media to this day.

Diversity and inclusivity are an important element of modernization and acceptance within our society. This year, artists, directors, and writers were able to open the eyes of many Americans, and as more and more people become more existing, doors open for more artists, directors, and writers in minority groups to show their talent like these nine have.