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Monday, March 4, 2024
The Observer

Commencement 2023: The last four years in review


Sept. 2019 — Lizzo's ”Truth Hurts” reaches No. 1 on the charts

Despite its original release in Sept. 2017, “Truth Hurts” was re-released as radio single in March 2019. The song was used in the Netflix film “Someone Great,” and it becomes a viral sleeper hit on TikTok, skyrocketing Lizzo to fame.

Nov. 12, 2019  — Baby Yoda

The first episode of “The Mandalorian” — titled “Chapter 1: The Mandalorian” — premieres on Disney+. Pedro Pascal's character Din Djarin searches for his first bounty, known by many names but popularized as Baby Yoda. He's too cute for the internet and quickly becomes one of the year's most memorable icons.

Dec. 20, 2019 — “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

The final installment of the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy and the “Skywalker saga,” “The Rise of Skywalker” is released in U.S. theaters. Rey and Kylo Ren share a kiss (a romance that has inspired other popular works), Rey learns that she is the granddaughter of the resurrected Emperor Palpatine and Carrie Fisher makes her last appearance in the franchise posthumously with the aid of unreleased footage from “The Force Awakens.”

Jan. 31, 2020 — COVID-19 public health emergency declared in the U.S. 

Though the nationwide lockdown would start less than two months later, this declaration marked the beginning of the pandemic in the United States. “Tiger King,” Dalgona coffee, “Among Us,” Zoom and many more kept us occupied as we masked up and stayed home.

Summer 2020 — Black Lives Matter 

The killing of George Floyd, amongst others, sparks a nationwide reckoning with racial injustice and police brutality. Black Lives Matter isn’t a new movement, but in summer 2020, the culture begins to change.

Summer 2020 — A season for music

Taylor Swift's “Folklore,” Phoebe Bridgers' “Punisher,” Lady Gaga's “Chromatica” and Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion's “WAP” among others make this summer a memorable one.

Aug. 28, 2020 — Chadwick Boseman passes 

Predominantly known for his work in “Black Panther” and as the first black actor to headline an MCU film, Chadwick Boseman raised the bar for racial equity in the film industry. He is memorialized as a hero, on and off-screen, after passing from a quiet and grueling fight against colon cancer.

Jan. 15, 2021 — “WandaVision

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) becomes the Marvel Television Universe (MTU) with its first Disney+ show. Theories and spoilers dominate Twitter for months — maybe even to the series’ detriment.

March 26, 2021 — “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)

Lil Nas X goes from riding horses in “Old Town Road” to riding a pole down to Hell in “Montero.” With the release of his intentionally avant-garde music video, Lil Nas tells his haters that he embraces his sexuality wholeheartedly.

May 21, 2021 — “Sour

Olivia Rodrigo writes the breakup anthems of a generation. Thanks to TikTok, Gen-Z and rumors about her “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” co-star, it charted #1 on the Billboard for five weeks, won a Grammy and Scene’s album of the year.

Fall 2021 — YikYak returns to Notre Dame

Tap into campus culture with YikYak. (Literally.) Now, every Notre Dame student can satisfy their “Gossip Girl” dreams with the anonymous messaging app’s return. From lonely hearts shouting into the void to the latest party details, YikYak certainly gives a voice to everybody — for better and for worse.

September 2021 — “Squid Game

It’s like “Parasite” but in a binge-able Netflix fashion. The series essentially updates “Battle Royale” for a modern audience, complete with the same violence and critiques of mindless consumerism.

October 9, 2021 — Kim Kardashian hosts “Saturday Night Live”

Though the episode itself is notable on its own, this day marks the start of Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson's nine-month relationship. Their romance rocked the world of pop culture and cemented Davidson's reputation on social media of dating women “out of his league.”

November 12, 2021 — Britney Spears' conservatorship ends

After nearly 14 years under her father's legal control, a judge ruled to end Britney Spears' conservatorship. The verdict is a result of several court hearings and a documentary, as well as public uprising with the #FreeBritney movement.

November 12, 2021 — “Red (Taylor's Version)

Swift's re-release of her 2012 album “Red” explodes the internet. After music executive Scooter Braun sold the rights to the star's first six albums, she re-recorded the tracks (and some unreleased ones) with collaborations from a variety of artists. “Fearless (Taylor's Version)” was the first, though “Red (TV)” had the greatest impact on her stardom.

December 17, 2021 — “Spider-Man: No Way Home

Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield return to the webslinger role alongside Tom Holland. The film focuses on the intricacies and the chaos caused by the multiverse in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

December 31, 2021 — Betty White dies

Betty White — a beloved star of television — dies a few weeks before her 100th birthday. She was the first woman to receive the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host for the show “Just Men!” and continues to serve as a role model for women in entertainment.

March 11, 2022 — “Everything Everywhere All at Once

“EEAAO” has received a record-breaking number of nominations and wins from awards shows around the world. It marks Ke Huy Quan's return to the big screen and resulting success (along with that of fellow stars Michelle Yeoh and Stephanie Hsu).

March 27, 2022 — “The Slap” incident at the 94th Oscars

“CODA” sets a precedent as the first all-deaf cast AND streaming-service movie to win Best Picture. “Encanto” and “Power of the Dog” win animation and technical awards. However, Will Smith's defense of wife Jada in response to a joke from host Chris Rock turns the heads of the crowd and divides celebrities and the public.

Spring 2022 — Depp v. Heard

The former couple battle out the defamation case in a Virginia courtroom. The case was heavily covered on social media and continues to incite debates regarding issues raised by the #MeToo movement.

May 20, 2022 — “Harry's House

Single “As It Was” proved to be a massive hit on radio stations and social media platforms, and the greatly anticipated release of “Harry's House” does not disappoint fans.

Summer 2022 — Garth Brooks and Billy Joel perform at Notre Dame Stadium

Garth Brooks takes the stage on May 7 as the second person to ever perform at Notre Dame Stadium. Billy Joel follows his performance on June 25 after being delayed for nearly a year due to COVID concerns.

Sept. 8, 2022 — Queen Elizabeth II dies

Queen Elizabeth II, the second-longest reigning British monarch, dies of old age in Balmoral Castle after nearly 71 years on the throne. Her funeral on Sept. 19 is attended by an estimated 250,000 people from over 150 different countries.

Sept. 23, 2022 — “Don't Worry Darling”

Starring Florence Pugh and Harry Styles, the movie's release marked the end of a long wait as a result of reports of major drama on the set. The lead-up to the film noted tensions between Pugh and director Olivia Wilde as a result of Wilde and Style's relationship, as well as “Spitgate.”

Oct. 27, 2022 — Elon Musk buys Twitter

The billionaire investor and CEO of SpaceX and Tesla buys Twitter for $44 billion. The buying process was a struggle to say the least, and his acquisition of the company and resulting changes has caused many users to leave the platform.

Spring 2023 — “Barbie” v. “Oppenheimer”

Trailers for Greta Gerwig and Christopher Nolan's respective films have been widely discussed on the internet, especially because of their shared impending release date (July 21). Memes about their release have been circulating on Twitter for months.

Feb. 12, 2023 — Rihanna plays at the Super Bowl LVII half-time show

Her first performance in seven years, Rihanna took the half-time stage with incredible choreography and stunning red and white visuals. The singer performed hits like “Only Girl (In the World),” “Umbrella” and “Diamonds.” She also announced her second pregnancy during the show.

March 17, 2023 — Taylor Swift's Eras Tour begins

After the release of “Midnights” in Oct. 2022 and the ensuing Ticketmaster catastrophe, Taylor Swift performs the first show of her Eras Tour in Glendale, Ariz. Since then, social media has received constant coverage of Swift's relationshiptroubles, weather delays, surprise songs and announcements regarding the upcoming release of “Speak Now (Taylor's Version).”

March 24, 2023 — The Sound of SUB

Noah Kahan, Chelsea Cutler and Notre Dame students Lucy Bullock, Libby Garnett and Luke Holem perform at Stepan Center. The event sold out quickly after tickets were released, and it proved to be well worth the hype.

May 6, 2023 — King Charles III is coronated

King Charles III, son of the late Queen Elizabeth II, becomes the King of England. Coronation performers and attendants create a buzz on social media, and the memory of Princess Diana dominates various platforms.