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Commencement 2017: Four Years in Review

| Friday, May 19, 2017

Scene_4yearsreview_WEBLauren Weldon | The Observer

On Aug. 27, 2013, the class of 2017 walked to their first day of classes with summer anthems “I Need Your Love” by Calvin Harris and the sunny, feel-good “Brave” by Sara Bareilles echoing in their ears.

The class of 2017 lived through a whirlwind of change in popular culture – with services like Spotify and Netflix taking over, streaming has now become the norm. Artists are facing increasing pressure to take social and political stands in their music. Take a moment to reminisce about just a few of the most notable music, movie and pop culture moments to take place in the past four years.


Dec. 13, 2013 – Beyonce drops her self-titled “Beyonce” in a surprise move in the middle of the night, along with a stunning visual album. Her performance of “Flawless” at the 2016 Super Bowl is so powerful that some people blame her for the power outage – or maybe it was her underground links to the Illuminati?



Feb. 22, 2015 – Ellen DeGeneres hosts the Oscars and takes the most famous selfie of all time. The tweet breaks records with almost 3.4 million retweets.

Oct. 27, 2014 – Taylor Swift releases “1989,” marking her “first” foray into the pop genre — although some people have traced her pop evolution to much earlier. The album debuts at No. 1 on the charts and becomes the best-selling album of 2014.



Feb. 26, 2015 – A picture of a dress breaks the Internet. Blue and black or gold and white? Or both? The question divided friend groups and consumed the nation for at least a few hours. The same day, some llamas escaped from an Arizona petting zoo. Feb. 26 was a historic day for memes.

March 15, 2015 – Kendrick Lamar releases “To Pimp a Butterfly,” his third studio album and a powerful anthem denouncing racial inequity and oppression in America.

Aug. 5, 2015 – Lin Manuel-Miranda’s “Hamilton,” the rap-inspired historical drama, debuts on Broadway to widespread critical and popular acclaim. 



Feb. 14, 2016 – Kanye West releases “The Life of Pablo,” a gospel-infused album that consistently walks the line between ego and id. The chaos of the tour following West’s release included the robbery of his wife, Kim Kardashian, in a Paris hotel and rumors of mental illness. 

Feb. 28, 2016 – Leonardo DiCaprio finally wins an Oscar for his performance in “The Revenant” after six previous nominations that all ended in disappointment. He uses his acceptance speech to bring attention to climate change.



Feb. 1, 2017 – Beyonce announces she is pregnant with twins. The internet goes wild. Her Instagram post broke records by getting 7.8 million likes in under 24 hours. Jokes abound. Hailey Baldwin tweets that she’s “more excited for Beyonce to be pregnant than I will be for my own child.”

Feb. 27, 2017 – “Moonlight” wins the 2017 Oscar for Best Picture, but only after “La La Land” is mistakenly announced as the winner. The public mishap prompts widespread shock, internet satire and a realization that award ceremonies are just as human as the actors who participate in them. The phrase “WHAT IS HAPPENING?” trended on Twitter.

April 14, 2017 – Kendrick Lamar releases “DAMN.” The release of the lyrical, ambitious sequel to “To Pimp a Butterfly” brings with it a plethora of rumors and conspiracy theories and plenty of critical praise. Lamar also releases his now-iconic music video, which sends a not-so-subtle message to all other rappers: “Sit down. Be humble.

Spring 2017 – The Facebook page “Notre Lame Memes for Straight Edge Teens” gains more than 4,000 members over the course of the semester. University-specific meme pages swept the nation this year. Whether cracking jokes about E. coli in the water or a 3.7 percent tuition increase, Notre Dame students proved eager to partake in the trend.

May 7, 2017 – Emma Watson wins the first gender-neutral acting award at the 2017 MTV Awards for her performance in “Beauty and the Beast.” In her acceptance speech, Watson says the award “will mean something different to everyone” … “to me it indicates that acting is about the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and that doesn’t need to be separated into two different categories.”

May 21, 2017 – Commencement

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