2018: A Year in Review
With every new year, there is the benefit of hindsight. 2018 was a year of laughs, tears, political engagement, celebrity babies, many passings, and everything in between in a year that maybe felt more like a decade by the end of it. But don’t worry! I have taken many of the year’s biggest cultural, political, and social events and condensed them into one compact list. Enjoy this ride through the tumultuous 2018!
January 1: Youtuber Logan Paul apologizes after uploading a video showing the body of an apparent suicide in Japan’s Aokigahara Forest to over 15-million of his subscribers.
January 11: Nobel Prize-winning scientist and DNA pioneer James Watson is stripped from his honorary titles at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory he once led after repeating racist comments in a documentary.
January 17: The Tide Pod Challenge encourages teenagers to consume Tide Pods, a huge health risk that turned into a popular meme. The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported 37 cases of pod ingestion among teenagers so far in the year, with half of them intentional.
January 19: In a year that highlighted the voices of sexual assault victims with the #MeToo movement, more than 140 young women including six-time Olympic medalist Aly Raisman come forward to say they were sexually assaulted by Dr. Larry Nassar.
February 1: Social media and reality TV star turned businesswoman Kylie Jenner gives birth to her and rapper Travis Scott’s first daughter, Stormi Webster.
February 4: The Philadelphia Eagles shock many when they beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII with a 41-33 win.
February 9: The 2018 Winter Olympics, also known as PyeongChang 2018, begins its winter sports events in South Korea until February 25.
February 14: A gunman opens fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 students and teachers. The shooting leads to a push towards gun control reform led primarily by students and young people, and results in 800 “March for Our Lives” rallies around the country.
February 16: The Marvel film Black Panther is released, featuring its first black superhero and predominately black cast, and becomes a cultural phenomenon overnight. The movie is critically and commercially successful, becoming the highest grossing solo superhero film and the ninth-highest-grossing film of all time at $1.34 billion. Most recently, it received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.
March 4: The 90th Academy Awards hosted by Jimmy Kimmel was dominated by The Shape of Water, which was nominated for 13 awards and won Best Picture and Best Director.
March 9: The 17th Winter Paralympics are held in Pyeongchang, South Korea until March 18.
March 14: English theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking passes away, having suffered from a rare form of motor neuron disease since 1964 that left him in a wheelchair with little muscular mobility.
April 10: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg begins a two-day Congressional inquisition after a data-mining firm affiliated with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, Cambridge Analytica, found Facebook gathering personal information from 87 million users to try influence elections.
April 15: Singer Beyoncé is Coachella’s first black female headliner and draws in a record 41 million live viewers during its first weekend.
April 16: Rapper Kendrick Lamar makes history as the first hip hop artist to win a Pulitzer Prize for his acclaimed 2017 album DAMN.
April 27: Marvel Studios celebrates its 20th film with the premiere of the megahit Infinity War. Featuring more than 40 characters, the film becomes the fourth-highest-grossing film of all time at $2.048 billion and has continued to build the Marvel empire.
May 5: Rapper Childish Gambino releases his single This is America, focusing on the wider issue of gun violence along with longstanding racism and discrimination against African Americans.
May 19: Prince Harry marries American actress Meghan Markle at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor, England. About 29 million viewers tuned in to watch the ceremony.
May 29: ABC reverses its renewal decision for the sitcom Roseanne after star Roseanne Barr likened former Obama administration official Valerie Jarett to a Planet of the Apes character, in a comment considered racist by many.
June 5: Iconic American fashion designer Kate Spade, who revolutionized the handbag to make it more accessible, passes on June 5.
June 8: Celebrity chef, travel documentarian, and television personality Anthony Bourdain dies at age 61.
June 12: The 2018 North Korea–United States summit instigates a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, held at the Capella Hotel in Sentosa, Singapore. This is the first time leaders of North Korea and the United States have met.
July 6: Eritrea and Ethiopia officially declare an end to their twenty-year conflict.
July 25: Scientists confirm a body of liquid water on Mars that was 12.4 miles wide.
July 30: Basketball star LeBron James opens up his new public school, I Promise School, for 240 third- and fourth-graders.
July 31: Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement becomes effective, transforming the Supreme Court for generations by allowing President Trump a second opportunity to nominate a new judge.
August 9: The United States announces a plan to have the United States Space Force as a new branch of the U.S. Armed Forces established by 2020.
August 15: The culturally-significant film Crazy Rich Asians features an entirely Asian cast and makes $238.4 million in the box office, becoming a huge success.
August 21: Chairman to Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign Paul Manafort pleads guilty to eight of the eighteen charges of tax fraud and evasion and failing to disclose his foreign bank accounts.
August 21: Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen pleads guilty to eight charges including paying sex workers hired by Trump to keep quiet in advance of the 2016 presidential election.
August 25: U.S. military officer and Arizona Senator John McCain passes from cancer.
September 3: After NFL drops former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for kneeling in protest to the use of the National Anthem and police brutality against black people, Kaepernick shares a partnership with Nike.
September 27: Christine Blasey Ford testifies before a Senate committee that Supreme Court Judge nominee Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her when they were both high schoolers. Kavanaugh also testifies before the same Senate committee to defend himself. The hearing sheds more light on the #MeToo movement.
September 28: An earthquake with the magnitude of 7.4 hits the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. A tsunami is triggered, killing 2,100 and injuring more than 4,600 people.
October 5: The musical romantic drama A Star is Born starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper (the former’s acting debut and the latter’s directorial debut) makes it big at the box office. It goes on to win many awards, including a Golden Globe for Best Original Song.
October 26: A Florida man is arrested for sending explosive devices through the mail to several Democratic politicians and supporters, including former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
November 2: Pop singer Ariana Grande releases thank u, next as the lead single for her upcoming fifth studio album under the same name. It becomes a commercial success and the music video, which features references to Mean Girls and Bring It On, breaks the record for the most-watched music video on Youtube within 24 hours, achieving 55.4 million views in a day.
November 7: Democrats win back the House of Representatives in the midterm elections, while Republicans makes gains in the Senate. This is one of the most diverse elections, including the first openly gay man elected senator (Jared Polis), the first Native American women elected to Congress (Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland), the first Muslim women in Congress (Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib), and the youngest woman elected to Congress (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez).
November 13: Michelle Obama’s NYT Bestselling autobiography Becoming discusses her roots and how she found her voice, as well as her time in the White House, her public health campaign, and her role as a mother.
December 22: The government shuts down over a deadlock in funding a border wall. The shutdown is partial, in which government employees are furloughed and services considered “non-essential” are suspended.
December 26: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is released from the hospital after undergoing cancer surgery. As the oldest justice at 85, Ginsburg is also recovering from breaking three ribs in a fall from the month prior.
December 28: Netflix’s Black Mirror revolutionizes the way users interact with entertainment media through its choose-your-own-adventure film Bandersnatch.