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The 15 Moments that Defined the First Half of 2020

The 15 Moments that Defined the First Half of 2020

Midyear 2020 Photo
Photo Credit: @chara_stagram_; @searick1; @photovs; @tonythetigersson; @patpa440; @nickrusso9; and @searick1 for Twenty20.com

With the middle of the year officially here, we decided to take a look at the moments that defined 2020 so far, from tragic moments to moments that were met with widespread celebration.

We’ll be honest, the COVID-19 pandemic brushed away any sense of normalcy that 2020 had any potential of providing. Social distancing, quarantine, unemployment, and an end to international traveling are currently what many are coping with. The pandemic has also forced artists and the entertainment industry to a screeching halt. There aren’t many legitimate live shows anymore, and we probably won’t see a real festival until 2022. 

Add that to the fact that 2020 has been a year filled with batshit crazy headlines and shocking news. We also lost beloved figures and seen protests break out throughout the country in response to police brutality. With all that has happened, Americans have gained a resilient energy.

With the middle of the year officially here, we decided to take a look at the moments that defined 2020 so far, from tragic moments to moments that were met with widespread celebration. 

The Death of Kobe Bryant

Fans mourning Kobe Bryant death
Photo Credit: Fred Kearney on Unsplash

Kobe Bryant’s death back in January was a moment that shocked the world. The California helicopter accident, which also took the lives of eight other passengers including Kobe’s daughter Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, dominated the news cycle. The accident ricocheted across industries and is still one of the most devastating stories of the year.

COVID-19 Pandemic Outbreak

COVID-19
Photo Credit: Thomas de LUZE on Unsplash

The COVID-19 pandemic has canceled all summer dreams. After originating in Wuhan, China, the first confirmed stateside case was announced at the end of February in Washington State. By March, the virus would spread to all 50 states, and the United States would lead the world in confirmed cases. Eventually, each state would provide its own stay-at-home directives, which had crippling effects on the economy and how people live their lives. Months later cases are still rising in certain parts of the country, and most Americans are under quarantine with no end in sight.

A New York City Star Taken to Soon

Photo Credit: Johnny Nunez/WireImage

Rising Brooklyn rapper Pop Smoke was an artist to watch after his single “Welcome To The Party” became a breakthrough hit. His light was permanently diminished when his life was taken when he was fatally shot while staying in a Hollywood Hills rental home — far from the Canarsie, Brooklyn neighborhood where he was born. Since his death, his grizzly bars have been a rallying cry for his community, especially during the protests. 

You Started a Live Video

Source: Instagram

The rise in COVID-19 cases, social distancing, and the “new normal” has led to a pivot to Instagram Live since everyone is constantly on their phones. In the early weeks and months of the summer, DJ D-Nice’s celebrity-filled sets, the explicit “Demon Time” sessions,  and “Quarantine Radio” by Tory Lanez were legit moments. Instagram Live allowed content creators, brands, and companies alike to run programming quite seamlessly.

Verzuz Battles

DMX and Snoop Dogg Verzuz Battle
Photo Credit: ‘Verezuz’

One glorious creation that was born during quarantine was Verzuz by Swizz Beatz and Timbaland. The duo has been able to use their extensive Rolodex to get us battles like Erykah Badu vs. Jill Scott; Johnta Austin vs. Ne-Yo; Beanie Man vs. Bounty Killer; John Legend vs. Alicia Keys; and others. The battles have been friendly and educational, with artists reflecting on their iconic hits throughout their careers. 

Tekashi 6ix9ine is Back

Tekashi 6ix9ine GOOBA Video
Photo Credit: 6ix9ine

When COVID-19 became a pandemic, there was a push to release prisoners around the country. Tekashi 6ix9ine was one of the public figures to put pressure on officials to be released. His request proved successful and he was released in April. And by May he was back to his old antics. Since his release, the New York rapper has released numerous music videos, landed a No.1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, and spark even more controversies.

Joe Biden is the Guy

Joe Biden
Photo Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In April, Bernie Sanders officially suspended his presidential campaign, making Joe Biden, effectively, the Democratic nominee for president. Since becoming nominee, Biden has had some gaffs but he has made indications that he would want to be an ambitious president. And he has also been open to ironing out differences with progressive groups. One hiccup — Biden hasn’t explicitly dug into whether he agrees with legalizing marijuana or not, this could prove to be an issue for him as the November election approaches.

Michael Jordan’s Last Dance 

Memes Rule Everything Around Me: 'The Last Dance' Spawns The Next Great Michael Jordan Meme
Screengrab via ESPN

ESPN knew exactly what they were doing when they strategically moved The Last Dance documentary air date to late April. The 10-part docuseries, which was originally supposed to air in late June, explores Michael Jordan’s career through the lens of his final Chicago Bulls season. With no sports available because of COVID-19, fans were glued to their television and laptop screens for five consecutive Sundays. 

Doja Cat, Nicki Minaj, Megan Thee Stallion & Beyoncé Make History

Megan Thee Stallion and Nicki Minaj hugging
Source: Megan Thee Stallion

Megan Thee Stallion, Doja Cat, and Nicki Minaj all made history. Doja’s “Say So Remix,” featuring Nicki Minaj, landed No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 with Meg’s “Savage Remix,” featuring Beyoncé falling behind at No. 2. This was the first time in Billboard chart history that four Black women have held these spots. A few weeks later the “Savage Remix,” with Beyoncé, claimed the No. 1 spot. Both remixes are radio-friendly, but there’s no denying that Bey and Minaj’s verses catapulted the tracks to the top of Billboard’s most-respected chart.

See Also

Black Lives Matter

Man protesting in New York City
Photo Credit: Emmanuel Afolabi for Okayplayer.com

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the fact that Black lives in the US are at risk on a daily basis. Whether sleeping, going for a jog, or simply purchasing items in a market. The unjust deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and others have been widely reported which in turn has led to nationwide protests and uprisings. Additionally, the arrests of police or those involved with the extrajudicial killings have also garnered significant media attention. The organized protests and social media campaigns that have taken place nationwide in recent months have raised awareness of racism and aggressive policing.

On The Record Documentary

Woman looking sad reading newspaper
Photo Credit: Sundance Institute

HBO’s On The Record, a documentary detailing Russell Simmons numerous sexual assault allegations, premiered back in May with the launch of HBO Max. Former Def Jam Records A&R executive Drew Dixon is given the most airtime throughout the riveting doc. Sil Lai Abrams and Sheri Sher of the historic rap group Mercedes Ladies are also highlighted. 

Dave Chappelle Gets Serious

Dave Chappelle 8:46
Photo Credit: Netflix

With the surprise release of 8: 46, Dave Chappelle gave riveting and somber commentary on George Floyd’s death. The performance, which didn’t have a lot of jokes, was the most moving set of his career and has become the defining artistic achievement of this era. 

Kanye West — Yes!

Photo Credit: Rich Fury/VF20/Getty Images for Vanity Fair

As if 2020 couldn’t get any crazier, Kanye West officially announced he’d be vying for the White House, after flirting with the idea for years. West would later tell Forbes that he was serious about running, saying he will be running under the “Birthday Party” banner. West is officially on the ballot in Oklahoma and recently had a disastrous campaign rally in South Carolina. Only time will tell if his esteemed “Birthday Party” will gain traction in the coming months. 

Megan Thee Stallion Shooting

Megan Thee Stallion
Photo Credit: Johnny Nunez/WireImage

On July 12th, Megan Thee Stallion released a statement about suffering gunshot wounds. Soon, reports came out Tory Lanez was the one that shot her in the foot after an argument broke out in the car they were in. Lanez would be arrested that night for carrying a canceled weapon and Meg would be driven to the hospital. In her statement she made it clear that she’s grateful to be alive, Tory is now currently under investigation for the shooting.

Death of a Giant

John Lewis Civil Rights
Photo Credit: Melina Mara-Pool/Getty Images

John Lewis was one of the most significant voices to come out of the Civil Rights Movement. Sadly he lost his battle with pancreatic cancer at 80 on July 17th. Lewis was most known for his tenacity, his spirit, and his unwillingness to falter in the face of adversity. His push for justice throughout his life — as chairman of SNCC and as a congressman — was admirable and it won’t ever be forgotten.

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