How Break-ups, Racism, and the Royal Family Ruled Pop Culture in 2018

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Can we all just agree that 2018 felt like a “blink and you’ll miss it” type of year? Yet, we were privy to everything from Kanye West’s meltdowns and some very captivating royal moments to appalling displays of racism by Dolce & GabbanaRoseanne Barr, and – of course – Donald Trump. Here, Savoir Flair recaps 25 awkward, endearing, inspiring, and unexpected pop culture moments – in no particular order – that defined this roller coaster of a year.


All Black Everything

The year started on a high note as, across the board, actresses followed an all-black dress code in solidarity with victims of sexual abuse and assault at the “Oscars’ rowdier, tipsier, weirder cousin” – a.k.a. the Golden Globes.

Cast of Big Little Lies at Golden Globes
Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images

From Louvre with Love

The Beyhive went into a frenzy when Beyoncé and Jay-Z simultaneously were and wore works of art, in front of art, in one of the art world’s most significant institutions – the Louvre – for their joint single, “Apesh*t”. The world wasn’t ready for the video’s bold styling choices by stylist Zerina Akers, which reimagined Beyoncé as some of art’s most powerful subjects, from Venus de Milo to Nike of Samothrace.

beyonce jay z louvre
Photo: Courtesy of Rolling Stone

With This Ring

After a whirlwind courtship, Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra tied the knot in extravagant fashion at the Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, India. The celebration, however, wasn’t without controversy – the actress was accused of being a “global scam artist” who has trapped the popstar into a fraudulent relationship by The Cut magazine.

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas wedding
Photo: Courtesy of @PriyankaChopra

A Royal Affair

Another love story that fascinated the world all through 2018 was that of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The hype from the royal wedding was only just starting to die down when it was announced – only five months later – that the Duchess of Sussex is pregnant. Now, it seems everyone is infatuated with her baby bump, her maternity style, and even the fact that she broke royal protocol by wearing dark nail polish at a recent appearance.

Meghan Markle black nail polish, Pippa Small jewelry, Givenchy dress by Claire Waight Keller
Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images

Defy the Odds

For decades, Hollywood has falsely labored under the assumption that all-black, big-budget blockbusters don’t sell at the box office – enter Black Panther. It earned $75.8 million on its first day at the box office, and now ranks as the highest-grossing superhero movie of all time in United States.


Photo: Courtesy of The Verge

Clapback à la Chrissy

No one does clapbacks quite like Chrissy Teigen, but the one we’ll remember long into 2019 is when her husband John Legend felt the need to get involved. Although Teigen is an accomplished model and TV personality in her own right, her presence at the Emmy Awards was questioned with news reporter Heidi Alagha tweeting, “Chrissy Teigen is beautiful, but does she have to be included in everything just because she’s married to John Legend?” His comeback? “A reporter who doesn’t know how to use Google.”

chrissy teigen emmys 2018
Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images

Next, Please

“Thank u, next” will be remembered as the catchphrase of 2018. It all started with a whirlwind romance between Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson. They were engaged almost as soon as they started dating, and they broke up almost as soon as they were engaged. She released a single entitled “Thank U, Next” just moments before SNL aired – the same episode that became famous because its promo video featured him making a joke at his own expense by proposing to singer Maggie Rogers.

Pete Davidson Ariana Grande
Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images

"My Wife Is Awesome."

Rumors of Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin getting married circulated for months – until one post on his Instagram account in November confirmed their nuptials. The caption simply read, “My wife is awesome.”

Hailey Baldwin and Justin Bieber
Photo: Courtesy of @JustinBieber

Baby Makes Five

Prince William and Kate Middleton welcomed Prince Louis Arthur Charles, their third child, into the world on April 23rd. He is fifth in line to the throne. We still remember how flawless Middleton looked only seven hours after his birth, appearing outside the hospital to introduce her new son to the world.

Prince Louis Kate Middleton
Photo: Courtesy of Matt Holyoak

Roseanne the Racist

If they gave away prizes for career crashes in 2018, Roseanne Barr would win. Just as she found a second round of fame with the return of her sitcom Roseanne in March after a two-decade absence, her racist tweet about former US government official Valerie Jarrett undid everything – and then some. Not only was her show cancelled, but her character was also killed off through an opioid overdose in spin-off show, The Conners.

Photo: Courtesy of Entertainment Tonight

Will You Marry Me?

The 2018 Emmy Awards ceremony may not have been the funniest or most eventful, but it certainly deserves props for being the most romantic. In a moment that equally shocked and delighted audiences worldwide – and A-listers like Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy – winner Glenn Weiss (who won the award for Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special) took his few moments on stage to get down on one knee and propose to his girlfriend, Jan Svendsen.

Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images

Set Her Free

In a case of “miracles happen”, Kim Kardashian-West met with Donald Trump in the Oval Office in May to talk prison reform. She managed to convince the president to free Alice Johnson, a great-grandmother who was serving a life sentence for a non-violent drug offense.

kim kardashian donald trump
Photo: Courtesy of Donald Trump

East Coast vs. West Coast

After only two years of marriage, Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux announced their separation in February, sending the the gossip mill into overdrive. The best explanation that anyone could come up with is that the two were fundamentally incompatible when it came to lifestyle – they split their time between LA (where Aniston has a Bel Air mansion) and NYC (where Theroux has a place in Greenwich Village), but according to insiders, Aniston hated being in New York.

Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux
Photo: Courtesy of US Magazine

Once a Cheater

Khloé Kardashian gave birth to her first child – a baby girl named True – in April, but the big event was completely overshadowed by scandal, courtesy of her boyfriend, Tristan Thompson. Just weeks before she was due to give birth, videos of him cheating on the reality star with several different women surfaced on TMZ. Incidentally, Thompson was expecting a child with Jordan Craig when he first started dating Kardashian.

Photo: Courtesy of @KhloeKardashian

Kanye Being Kanye

2018 was the year that Kanye West changed his name to Ye, feuded with Drake over Twitter, and declared his support for Donald Trump by visiting the Oval Office wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat – yet no outlandish remark by the rapper can compare with his stance on slavery. He claimed that slavery was a “choice” and tweeted that the 13th Amendment, which ended slavery in the United States in 1865, should be abolished.

kanye west profile pic
Photo: Courtesy of Famous Biographies

Gone Too Soon

The world lost a whole host of greats across the fields of fashion, academia, music, and more in 2018, starting with theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, who passed away in March at the age of 76. His death was followed by two back-to-back suicides that shook the world in June: fashion and accessories designer Kate Spade and beloved food expert Anthony Bourdain. Legendary singer Aretha Franklin was also 76 when she passed away due to pancreatic cancer. September was another month during which celebrity deaths made the news; both rapper Mac Miller and Burt Reynolds of Deliverance fame passed away within a span of 48 hours.

kate spade obituary
Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images

United We Stand

October saw then Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh face allegations of sexual misconduct by multiple women. During the week-long investigation that followed, people began gathering outside of the White House to protest his nomination. Among them were Amy Schumer and Emily Ratajkowski, who fervently lifted their voices against the Judiciary Committee’s haste to push through the candidate. Both celebrities were arrested during the protests and later released, but despite the American public’s loud call for civic justice, Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court by a 50-48 vote.

Emily Ratajkowski and Amy Schumer arrested at Kavanaugh protests
Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images

Baddy Two Shoes

New York Fashion Week wouldn’t be New York Fashion Week without some kind of drama, but suffice to say, no one saw this going down: feuding female rappers Cardi B and Nicki Minaj confronted each other in a physical altercation, reportedly over Minaj’s negative commentary aimed at Cardi B’s baby girl, Kulture. In classic Cardi B style, she went after Minaj with an Elie Saab shoe, throwing it at her and catching a return elbow to the face.


NEW YORK, NY - MAY 07: Nicki Minaj, Designer Jeremy Scott, and Cardi B attend the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/MG18/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue)
Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images

Williams for the Win

After dealing with blood clots as a result of her pregnancy, Serena Williams began wearing a black catsuit to assist blood circulation and prevent clotting. However, the French Tennis Federation took issue with her attire, announcing new rules regarding player uniforms for the French Open that would prevent catsuits from being worn on the court. Although they couched the language of the announcement in practical terms, comments by the president of the federation smacked of body-shaming. Luckily, the Women’s Tennis Association stepped in to clarify its stance on dress code policies, stating that players can wear leggings and compression shorts without a skirt.

Serena Williams catsuit
Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images

History in the Making

Taking audiences by surprise was Bradley Cooper’s version of A Star is Born, starring Lady Gaga. Her stellar performance as Ally Maine has garnered praise worldwide, and the film has been recognized by several associations in recent weeks, including the Critics’ Choice Awards (nine nominations) and Golden Globe Awards (five nominations). Critics expect it to sweep the awards across categories related to acting, producing, and songwriting in 2019.

a-star-is-born Warner Bros Pictures
Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

In His Feelings

Mystery woman KeKe – believed to be Canadian singer Keshia Chanté – may no longer love him, but Drake has felt plenty of it in 2018 as a handful of lyrics from his “In My Feelings” song (KeKe, do you love me? Are you riding? Say you’ll never ever leave from beside me) somehow snowballed into a full-fledged viral dance challenge of the same name. The sappy love song took an animated turn when internet comedian Shiggy uploaded a video of himself dancing to the track onto his Instagram account, racking up over five million views in under three weeks – that’s how the  #inmyfeelingschallenge was born.

drake in my feelings
Photo: Courtesy of @KeshiaChante

She Wore What?

It was with shock that the world witnessed First Lady Melania Trump’s bizarre choice of clothing for a visit to a youth detention center located along the border of Texas and Mexico and housing immigrant children who had been forcibly separated from their parents upon crossing into America. In a photo that quickly went viral, she was seen boarding a plane wearing a Zara jacket that said, “I don’t really care, do u?” Given her destination and the backlash against her husband President Trump’s policy to separate, detain, and prosecute families who cross into the US illegally, it was nothing short of horrifying.

Melania Trump Zara jacket
Photo: Courtesy of NY Daily News

Guilty As Charged

After years of court battles pursuant to dozens of sexual assault allegations, the one-time television favorite Bill Cosby was found guilty on all counts of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand. At the age of 80, the former actor now faces the possibility of living out the rest of his years in prison.

bill cosby
Photo: Courtesy of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Perfect Storm(i)

After months of anticipation and speculation, fans of the Jenner-Kardashian clan finally got the answers they were seeking on February 5th. In news that practically upstaged the Super Bowl, Kylie Jenner dropped major news via Instagram: she had given birth to a baby girl named Stormi Webster on February 1st.

Kylie Jenner baby announcement Stormi Webster
Photo: Courtesy of @KylieJenner

Can You Say Catfight?

In an interview with Piers Morgan in 2017, Kim Cattrall said that she was never friends – only colleagues – with her Sex and the City castmates. The extent of Cattrall’s resentment became evident in February, when she responded to Sarah Jessica Parker’s condolences via Instagram upon the passing of her brother. “I don’t need your love or support at this tragic time @sarahjessicaparker,” read the scathing dedicated post that Cattrall responded with. She even included a link to a New York Post article delving into the “mean-girls culture that destroyed Sex and the City“.

Kim Cattrall and Sarah Jessica Parker On Location For "Sex And The City"
Photo: Courtesy of Time
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