The increased use of social media, especially those that are more fast-paced like TikTok, makes it hard to keep track of the latest trends. One minute you have My Money Don’t Jiggle Jiggle stuck in your head, and the next, you discover a newfound love for corn. This applies to controversies as well; one minute you are having a heated discussion about Kanye West, and the next, you are trying to figure out how Mastodon works because #GoodbyeTwitter is trending.
While some trends stayed relevant and some controversies talked about longer than others, these are some of the key events that took place this year.
Beyoncé and Lizzo rerecord lyrics
Society is no longer tolerant of the offensive, and it is good to see fans hold their favourite artists accountable when they cross a line. This year, both Lizzo and Beyoncé rerecorded songs after some of the lyrics were found to be offensive. Lizzo received backlash after using the ableist slur “spaz” in her single Grrrls, released in June, and changed the lyrics after fans pointed out that the word originates from spastic, which is related to the health condition cerebral palsy.
While some pointed out that the term has a different meaning in the Black community, commonly used to mean “go crazy” in African American English, or African American Vernacular English (AAVE), Beyoncé faced similar backlash after using the slur in Heated, the 11th track of her latest album, Renaissance.
Butter boards and beyond
If you are on TikTok, there is no way you missed the butter board trend – which, if you did happen to miss it, involves smearing butter on a wooden board, adding various toppings, and then using pieces of bread to scoop up the butter. Even some local content creators tried it out, though we have questions about how much a butter board would cost in this economy and survive in our climate.
These questions aside, many are divided about the butter board trend, which was inspired by a recipe from Joshua McFadden’s book Six Seasons, which came out in 2017, and soon used other ingredients as well, like hummus, peanut butter, and so on. We don’t know if this is something anyone will want to take into next year, but it was a trend for a good few weeks starting mid-September.
From Bollywood to Tesla, people have been urged to boycott several things this year, with a Boycott Spotify campaign trending on social media at the beginning of the year. Artists such as Joni Mitchell and Neil Young removed their music from Spotify after Spotify’s deal with Joe Rogan, who is accused of spreading misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines, came to light. The exclusive deal was rumoured to be worth $ 100 million. While users threatened to boycott Spotify, Spotify did not cut ties with Rogan, and ultimately, Spotify subscriptions grew and Rogan has close to 34,000 monthly listeners on the platform.
Kanye West gets cancelled
Keeping track of all the problematic and controversial things Kanye West has said or done this year is a bit exhausting, but some that stood out include full-blown admiration for Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, “White Lives Matter” t-shirts at the Yeezy fashion show in Paris, and wearing an ultrasound photo around his neck to demonstrate his pro-life views during an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson. These got him banned from social media, and also cost him his brand partnerships with Adidas and Gap.
Pink Sauce controversy
The bright pink dipping sauce made by private chef and TikTok user Veronica Shaw @chef.pii went viral after she announced it in June, with the #pinksauce hashtag getting over 500 million views. The product went on sale on 1 July and sold out a month later. However, the featured bottle had a more purple hue than the one released to the public, and Shaw said the sauce contained ingredients like sunflower seed oil, dragon fruit, raw honey, milk, and garlic.
The safety and labelling of the product, concerns about quantity in the bottle versus what was mentioned on the label, colour variations from batch to batch, poor packaging, alleged use of unmentioned ingredients, and many other issues led to controversy, with Shaw claiming in July that her product was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the US, which the FDA contradicted.
The Balenciaga blow-up
Balenciaga received a lot of heat after a controversial campaign showing children with teddy bear bags dressed in what appeared to be bondage gear, and many celebrities denounced the campaign. Kim Kardashian, who is a brand ambassador for Balenciaga, is among those who have spoken against the campaign, saying recently people were pressuring her into making a statement. “And I’m like, wait, I’m not in this campaign. I don’t know what’s happening. Let me, like, take a minute to research this and then as soon as I saw what everyone was seeing on the internet and the reality of the situation, I completely spoke out and gave my thoughts on child porn and completely denounced it.”
Days after the campaign came under fire, Demna, the brand’s creative director, apologised for the images. Balenciaga also initially filed a $ 25 million lawsuit against set designer Nicholas Des Jardi and the production company that handled the campaign, North Six, but Balenciaga’s President and CEO Cedric Charbit later said the company was no longer pursuing litigation.
Goodbye, Twitter… or maybe not
After Elon Musk took over the platform, Twitter users said their goodbyes to the platform, sharing memorable moments and thanking others for their friendship and kindness… only to remain on Twitter after it was clear that the platform wasn’t going anywhere. The #GoodbyeTwitter posts were a result of alarming news about the physical offices shutting down, with an 18 November Twitter thread by Platformer Managing Editor Zoë Schiffer reading: “Twitter just alerted employees that effective immediately, all office buildings are temporarily closed and badge access is suspended. No details given as to why.”
“We’re hearing this is because Elon Musk and his team are terrified employees are going to sabotage the company. Also, they’re still trying to figure out which Twitter workers they need to cut access for,” she added. While Twitter is still standing, Musk’s takeover has led to a lot of changes, which have not been received positively for the most part.