2016 was, as the internet seems to agree, a terrible year for many reasons. The US presidential election’s many controversies, the surprise victory of republican Donald Trump, the deaths of many beloved artists, the increase of hate crimes, the shock of Brexit, followed by a loud group of Americans calling for Texit - a petition to make the state of Texas a country… and these are only some of the year’s most stressful moments. Let’s take a moment to remember what happened in 2016, focusing on the main events.
These images were not necessarily taken in 2016, they just represent the feelings behind events that marked the year.
The Passing of David Bowie
We lost an absurd amount of artists in 2016 - too many to count here - and it seems it started with the death of David Bowie on January 10th, after an 18-month battle against cancer, and only two days after the release of his last album, "Blackstar."
The video clip for the song "Lazarus" was released on three days before his death, and depicts Bowie as a blinded man tied to his bed, reminiscing about his glory days. The opening line cries: "Look up here, I'm heaven / I've got scars that can't be seen".
But what we remember the most is the brutal final image of Bowie entering a dark closet as the song ends - he stops resisting the force pulling him back and smirks as he lets himself go. He knew. And realizing that at the end of his life he chose to leave us with such a beautiful end note perfectly explains why David Bowie is sorely missed.
He was a Starman who couldn’t resist meeting us, and he certainly blew our minds.
Leonardo Dicaprio wins
2016 wasn't all bad - we gladly watched one of internet's favorite memes die as Leonardo DiCaprio finally won an Academy Award for his performance in “The Revenant.” He had been nominated four times before - the first in 1993.
Above, Leo waits for the crowd to stop applauding before he can start his acceptance speech.
The Killing of Harambe
On May 28th, a three-year-old boy entered the enclosure of a 17-year-old gorilla named Harambe. The gorilla was disoriented by the agitated crowd, and despite being confused by the boy, he seemed to pose no immediate threat, but due to pressure and uncertainty, a zoo worker shot and killed Harambe.
There were many controversies surrounding the incident, as the public showed concern with the apparent lack of zoo security, the child's mother apparent lack of supervision, and the rushed decision to kill what was up until that point a harmless animal.
Donald Trump VS Hillary Clinton
Democrat Hillary Clinton became the first woman to be nominated for the presidency of the US, going against republican Donald Trump.
Hillary was the obvious favorite because of her previous political background, and most polls were betting on her after Trump had a tremendous amount of backlash from his statements and government proposals - including the resurface of a video where he bragged about sexually assaulting women and confusing the 9/11 incident with the store 7-Eleven.
Despite all that, Trump won over enough of the country to get victory over Hillary on November 8th. He will be officially the new US president in January 2017.
The United Kingdom voted in favor of withdrawing from the European Union - an economic and political partnership formed after World War II.
The decision shocked the world and caused many protests in the UK. It will take a few more years before any actual changes are made - it's expected the United Kingdom could be completely out of the EU around March 2019, if everything goes as planned.
The term “Brexit” is a wordplay, joining the words “Britain” and “Exit” together.
Rio Olympic Games followed by impeachment
After several structural problems and safety concerns, the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, went on with relative tranquility from 5 to 21 of August.
The event introduced many countries to the tropical climate and colorful culture of Brazil, as well as the economical extremes within its society. The photo above shows fireworks booming above the massive Maracanã stadium, while a humble family watches from a favela.
Even before the event, Brazil’s government was in turmoil, as the majority of the population claimed the country wasn’t ready for such a massive event, with many concerns about the amount of money spent on the new stadiums where the Olympics would take place.
Using the public’s indignation as leverage, August 31st, the Brazilian senate voted to impeach Dilma Rousseff, Brazil's first female president, effectively kickstarting a scheme that would later put vice-president Michel Temer in control. Later studies showed that the entire scenario was fabricated under false accusations and lack of evidence.
Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds
It seems the year was bookended by two great artists passing - most recognized for her iconic role in Star Wars as Princess Leia, Carrie Fisher passed away at age 60 on December 27th.
Carrie Fisher was also a writer, producer, and humorist. She wrote several books and openly spoke about mental illness and drug addiction, receiving praise for her actions. Carrie notoriously hated the slave costume from the Star Wars movies, claiming they overly sexualized her. In fact, you can find on the web pages from the original script with her handwritten changes to the dialogue, to make her character stronger and more believable.
Only one day after Carrie died, her mother, Debbie Reynolds, had a severe stroke and died as well.
It's not fair to talk about Carrie Fisher and only mention Star Wars, so to honor both Carrie and her mother Debbie in a single picture, there was no image more powerful and beautiful than the one above, where we see Carrie watching her mother perform on stage from behind the scenes.
May the force be with you.
How was 2016 for you? Do you think it was as bad as everyone says? What other artists you would like to mention? What other events did we miss? Be sure to tell us in the comments and follow us on Facebook for more articles every day!