Ten pop culture events that took 2021 by storm

in Entertainment by

Many Americans were hopeful as the ball dropped that the beginning of 2021 would bring the end of the pandemic. However, Covid-19 raged into the new year and coupled with the decrease in social interaction — the Internet craved entertainment. Thankfully, 2021 was not an entertainment let down, and it is home to various ever-iconic moments.

(Photo/Glenn Francis)


One of the public’s favorite moments this year was the long-awaited triumph of #FreeBritney. Until this November, Britney Spears had been in a 13-year conservatorship with her father, which ended after countless protests and media coverage. A chilling court statement about her overly-restrictive life made the moment of her freedom that much more joyful.

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry exposing the royal family on Oprah

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s interview with Oprah sparked massive controversy on the Internet. When the couple revealed that a member of the royal family was worried about how dark the child may be, Oprah, along with millions of viewers, were shocked. The interview revived conversations of the family’s past controversies and ideals.


Olivia Rodrigo’s “Driver’s License”

Released in January, Olivia Rodrigo’s hit single “Driver’s License” captured the hearts of millions of fans and crushed records with over a billion streams according to Billboard. The song was a hit along with her album “Sour” as it had heartbreaking lyrics, stunning visuals and strong vocals. The most talked about, however, was the rumored subject of the song — Joshua Bassett.


The “Friends” Reunion

“Friends” — a fan favorite and one of the most popular comfort shows of all time held a reunion 27 years after its first episode. The reunion classically named “The One Where They Get Back Together” occurred after years of anticipation. The stars traveled back to the original set, answered questions and played games, reviving the original charm of the 90’s sitcom.

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Simone Biles’s withdrawal from the Olympic event

Before Simone Biles won a bronze in the balance beam competition, she withdrew from the all-around team competition due to her mental health. Her withdrawal as one of the U.S.A.’s most decorated gymnasts sparked conversations about the importance of mental health, with both naysayers and supporters. 

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Addison Rae’s “He’s All That”

Although “He’s All That” was a massive hit for Netflix with millions of viewers, the movie was met with heaps of negative remarks. After watching the movie many reviewers described it as cringe-worthy, with both the acting and the storyline greatly lacking — rewarding it a 2.5 rating on Google. The film marked Addison Rae’s debut as an actress, and its success allowed her to sign a multi-project deal with Netflix. Hopefully her next project is really “all that.”

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The Introduction of the De’Amelio Show

TikTok has launched the careers of many young influencers, most famously, Charli D’Amelio and her family. The show was launched to showcase the difference between influencers on the Internet and real life. The family, especially Charli, reveals the feeling of burnout and the effect online hate has on them, leading more influencers to open up about their struggles behind the screen.


The rise of “Squid Game”

The high stakes challenges, intense characters and intelligent directing led Squid Game to be the most-watched show on Netflix of all time in the first two weeks of release according to Variety. The show creatively takes a dig at modern capitalist society by mirroring the competition to the competition of life. Released during the pandemic — a time of economic insecurity — the show’s message was all the more powerful.


Taylor Swift’s “Red” 

In addition to turning much of the internet against Jake Gyllenhaal, Taylor Swift’s re-release of “Red” pulled on the heartstrings of listeners. Both her 10-minute version of “All Too Well” and music video of “I Bet You Think About Me” were compositions with emotional and aesthetic visuals. Her album was complete with classically soft yet dramatic vocals. 

(Photo/Wikimedia Commons)

Adele’s “30

This year’s top-selling album “30” halted Adele’s 6-year hiatus as a record-breaking hit. Inspired by her divorce, Adele delivers an album characterized by its bold lyrics, messy emotions and powerhouse vocals. This fierce album tackles both the changes in her life and getting older.

Shreya is an incoming sophomore here at American Heritage. Apart from Newspaper, she participates in clubs and extracurriculars such as Key Club, Model UN, YIS, HOSA, PBS and AASA. She loves writing, listening to music, watching TV shows and editing videos. She has been dancing for almost all her life and has a love for business and computer science. She plans on channeling these interests into her future career and exploring them further throughout high school. When she am not reading or rewatching Netflix shows, she is riding her bike or swimming in the pool.