The Best Entertainment Events of the Year: Read the opinions of Entertainment Reporters Lily McAndrews and Ashwin Prasad


The impact of Black Panther—Lily McAndrews

The best Entertainment event of the year was the release of Black Pantherthe best movie 2018 had to offer. From the movie’s production, direction and costume design, this movie outstandingly nailed every aspect, as well as representing bigger life challenges. The cast which included Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, Letitia Wright and Danai Gurira brought the characters to life and enabled the the movie to encompass important themes such as family, morality and justice.

Many movies tend to dodge complicated themes about race and identity, but Black Panther seemed to tackle it head on. Black Panther’s mere existence should be praiseworthy in itself. It is the first standalone black superhero movie and a huge box office success. It was written by, directed by and starred black people. Even before the movie released it had a huge cultural footprint because people knew it was a movie about what it means to be black in America and Africa. Ultimately, Black Panther is a landmark within cinematic representation in which the impact is hard to measure.

But, despite these groundbreaking features the movie holds, the sheer cinematic aspect and custom design should be enough for Black Panther to be ranked No. 1 on your movie list for 2018. Ryan Coogler’s impact in the Marvel Cinematic Universe will forever be marked by this well accomplished movie. Along with many other aspects of depth, Coogler’s was able to touch on other complex topics of diaspora and global responsibility.

Overall, Black Panther should be considered, if not No. 1, at least at the top of your list favorite movies of 2018. Black Panther is an emblem for Hollywood that African American narratives have the power to generate profits from all kind of audiences. More importantly, making movies about black lives shows that they matter in this world and that representing them in the Entertainment world is not an afterthought.

2018 Was Ariana Grande’s Year

—Ashwin Prasad

This year has been quite an eventful one for pop superstar Ariana Grande. Her steady rise from teen actress to cultural icon has hit its peak in a whirlwind of eighteen months, and is still going strong. On Nov. 30, Grande released a music video for her latest smash hit “thank u, next,” which debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. “Thank u, next” will be the title track of her fifth studio album, due to be released in early 2019, and is the culmination of Grande’s 2018.

Musically, Grande reached a new level this year. While she started the year off the radar, Grande exploded onto the scene on April 20 when she released “No Tears Left to Cry,” a song centering on the terrorist attack at her concert in Manchester, UK. The optimism and vibrance of the song was a perfect response to the trauma of the attack, and represented her triumph over grief.

Her next release, “God Is A Woman,” was Grande’s contribution to the feminist movement. Through her empowering lyrics and a visual masterpiece of a music video, Grande made her mark on yet another trend in popular culture.

Her activism was not limited to feminism. On March 24, Grande performed at the March for our Lives alongside the students of Parkland High School in Florida to bring attention to the issues surrounding gun violence. In an interview with Elle Magazine, Grande urged Americans to “have uncomfortable conversations with relatives” and not “unfriend people with different political views.” She called upon fellow mainstream artists to be vocal and not be concerned with backlash. “Not everyone is going to agree with you, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to shut up and just sing my songs,” she said.

Her rollercoaster of a personal life has also dominated headlines, and ultimately spurred her music even further. Her breakup with rapper Mac Miller in May and his subsequent death due to a drug overdose was yet another source of grief for her, which she dealt with through activism and music alike. She shut down critics who blamed her for his issues and took yet another stand for feminism in the process, tweeting that no woman should ever be shamed for their partner’s inner demons.

All of Grande’s torment from Manchester, joy from her engagement with entertainer Pete Davidson, and pain from the death of Mac Miller is seen in her latest album “Sweetener,” which was released in August.

However, Grande’s year took another turn when she broke up with Davidson in October. Initially, she announced that she was taking a hiatus from social media and the studio, but on Nov. 3, she surprise-released “thank u, next.” The track displays both vulnerability and strength, and ultimately shows an ownership of herself and her career, despite the formidable spotlight that she operates in.

Grande’s achievements in 2018 deserve notice. She turned the personal tumult of a terror attack and two breakups into her best songs yet and into fuel for her activism for gun laws and feminism.