Although this year was terrible in most aspects, there were some genuinely good things that came out of 2020.
A lot of great things happened in the film industry to make quarantine more bearable. Thanks to streaming services, like Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, ect. we are able to watch hundreds of different shows at the push of a button. Because of access to streaming services, we were able to watch smaller movies that we might have never seen otherwise.
At the beginning of quarantine, Tiger King was released on Netflix. People went to social media to discuss the good, the bad and the dirty of the show and if Carole Baskin actually killed her husband. Along with Tiger King, Outer Banks, Sweet Magnolias, Never Have I Ever, #blackAF, Space Force, Unorthodox, Down to Earth with Zac Efron, and many more were released early this year. When Hamilton was released on Disney+, the entire theatre community rejoiced. Mulan, Clouds, Safety, Stargirl, The One and Only Ivan, and Black is King were also released on Disney+. ABC finally cast their first black male lead on The Bachelor after 40 seasons. Regarding the silver screen, the Academy Award for best picture went to an international feature film “Parasite.” Finally, thanks to social distancing guidelines, drive-in movie theaters made a comeback.
Aside from entertainment, a lot of great things happened surrounding the election, regardless of one’s political affiliation. To begin, a record number of Americans voted in the 2020 election, despite the ongoing pandemic. To stay safe and make their voices heard, many people chose to mail in their ballot instead of visiting the polls. Since Joe Biden won, his vice president Kamala Harris will not only be the first female vice president, but the first Black Asian American female vice president, representing a major milestone for women and people of color. The results of those votes also saw the most Native Americans elected into congress, the most trans people were elected into their respective state legislatures, many women were elected to congress, and a highly diverse and competent array of nominees are slated to be approved for the incoming cabinet.
This year really showed us how amazing musical artists are; despite being stuck at home, they still found a way to be creative. Taylor Swift dropped two albums within five months of each other. She also released The Long Pond Studio Session, a documentary film examining and explaining Swift’s recording of her eighth studio album Folklore. Billie Eilish announced a new single and swept the Grammys, winning awards for New Artist, Song “bad guy,” Album When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go, Record “Bad Guy,” and pop vocal album When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go. Beyonce dropped her Juneteenth track “Black Parade'' and for her visual album “Black is King.” Lady Gaga and Carly Rae Jepsen dropped albums and The Chicks, formerly known as The Dixie Chicks, returned with the announcement of their new name and a new album, Gaslighter. To help make quarantine some artists put in Concerts from their own home.
In March, the entire world shutdown, and there was lots to learn in our months off. To begin, we learned the true importance of essential workers like nurses and doctors. During our extended spring break, they showed up and worked hard to keep regular people like you and me safe and aware of what is going on. Even though we weren't at school or work, there were still things to be done. Everyone had to adapt to the new status of the world and Zoom into work or class. Parents with young children had to figure out how to entertain or teach their child and get some work done at the same time. We learned to recognize teachers and daycare workers as the heroes that they are.
Aside from giving essential workers some long overdue recognition, everyone had time to brush up on old talents, learn new skills, play boardgames, workout, and watch Tik Toks. To give themselves a little boost of serotonin, some people decorated for Christmas early, watched Christmas movies, or listened to Christmas music. This year, we were able to recognize the importance of social activities. We also learned to be thankful everyday, because the world could be closed down in seconds.
To adapt to the Coronavirus, many things were done to keep us safe. In late 2020, a vaccine was adapted, stopping 70% of people from developing symptoms. Before the vaccine was created, distilleries used alcohol to make hand sanitizer and some major companies made masks. Ford, GM, and Tesla made ventilators. Restaurants came up with new ways of serving customers by sharing recipes online and creating fun ways to social distance. People held drive through birthdays and graduation ceremonies. Museums opened up their collections virtually. Congress passed the Cares Act, which provided relief to suffering businesses and workers; under leadership of Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve came up with a way to keep the battered economy afloat.
Even in the biggest tragedy of 2020, the seeds of civic responsibility were planted. Many people took to the streets to protest the murder of George Floyd, a Minneapolis man killed in police custody. Across the country, people voiced their opposition to police brutality and the systematic oppression people of color in the United States have endured since the Jim Crow South. People were upset and needed their voices to be heard. Justice was necessary in this time of danger, this began a reform.
A few “rapid-fire” good things that happened this year include a panda being born at the National Zoo, more pets were adopted and more kids were put in foster homes, carbon dioxide emissions declined, and the northern lights were seen in Central Wyoming. Ashley Graham, Jenna Dewan and Anderson Cooper welcomed babies into their families. Finally, the theatre community still found a way to be creative, by writing an entire musical on tik tok based off the Disney film Ratatouille.
See? 2020 was not that bad. Although we were stuck at home for months, we learned to enjoy ourselves, use our voice, we got to watch some great shows, and listen to some talented artists' new songs. Here's to 2021 and hopefully not 2020 part 2.