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As We Look Forward to 2021, We’re Looking Back at 2020


2020 has been… eventful to say the least. And as we look back, we can’t help but to think of that famous Dickens quote. Although it was written over a century ago (and in a different context), it somehow perfectly sums up what this past year has been:


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”


For many, 2020 has been a year of slowing down, growing, putting things into perspective, resting, finding our voices, revolutionizing, organizing, getting in our creative bag, learning a new hobby (or revisiting an old one), and spending much needed time with family and friends (albeit virtually in some cases). On the downside, it’s also been a year full of the untimely passing of numerous celebrities, a pandemic that upended life as we know it, injustice, and scandals. So before we get into some big moments from 2020, we’re fully aware that the negative seemed to outweigh the positive at many points. But, we’re incredibly thankful to have made it this far with you all.


So, let’s get into it...


2020 Recap - Major Events


Passing of Celebrities

Unfortunately, there have been so many celebrities and other prominent figures who have passed this year that we cannot go into detail on them all. However, whether they’re listed here or not, each death was significant. And, we’d like to take a moment to extend our deepest condolences to the family, friends, and fans of all of the celebrities who have passed. To name a few that shocked the world in general, and the Black community in particular:

  • Kobe + Gianna Bryant

  • Pop Smoke

  • Chadwick Boseman

  • Naya Rivera

  • John “Ecstasy” Fletcher

  • Tommy “Tiny” Lister

  • Natalie Desselle Reid

  • John Lewis

  • Little Richard

  • Andre Harrell

We hope that all those who have passed are resting in peace.


Breonna Taylor, George Floyd + Resurgence of the BLM Movement

Breonna Taylor and George Floyd's deaths at the hands of law enforcement captured the attention of the public, and sparked worldwide movements. Unfortunately, both have yet to receive the justice that many feel they deserve. But, their stories have been catalysts for revolutionary change. As a result, we’ve seen more people embrace/join the BLM movement, as well as other grassroots organizations. We’ve also seen calls for police reform and accountability, as well as demands for equitable change across all other industries.


Increased Support of Black-Owned Businesses

Additionally, we’ve seen more people make efforts to support Black-owned businesses. On Yelp alone, “interest in Black-owned businesses increased by more than 7,000% compared to this time last year”. Some other numbers that we’re happy to report are that “Searches for Black-owned boutiques have increased by 331% compared to the same time last year; searches for Black-owned bakeries and ice cream shops has increased by 56%; searches for Black doctors has increased by 183%; and searches for Black-owned coffee shops has increased by 161%


We’re also proud to say that interest in BGD has increased as well. Every time we met with a client and they shared their stories about how (and why) they found us, we beamed from ear-to-ear. And, the numbers reflected their interest as well. When we looked at our analytics, we found that organic search was 61% of our inbound and Google accounted for 91% of the traffic source. So to that, we say thank you all for showing love!


Coronavirus, Quarantine + Vaccines

Life changed drastically around March as COVID 19 cases began to rise, and things have not been the same since. This has been one of the craziest years -- from over a million global deaths, to quarantine, to devastating unemployment rates, to social distancing, to working remotely, to the cataclysmic impact across numerous industries (especially the hospitality industry), and the list goes on.


On the plus side, quarantine has been a breeding ground for creativity and innovation. We’ve seen people adapt in ways many of us didn’t realize were possible. We’ve especially enjoyed all of the creative content that people have come up with. But, another major thing that came out of this was a vaccine getting developed in record time.


Note: We are merely noting a medical breakthrough. We are making no assertions on how effective the vaccine is, or whether or not individuals should take it.


TikTok

Speaking of creative content, TikTok saw a big year in 2020. Monthly active users increased exponentially (upward of 800% from Jan 2018 to Aug of 2020), as many people turned to this platform to stay entertained during quarantine. And oh were we entertained! We saw everything from the breaking of artists/songs, cooking tutorials, comedy, acting chops, choreography, and more.


However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for TikTok. We can’t forget that the Trump Administration threatened to ban the platform, which caused a huge wave this year. But, no judge has ruled in favor of blocking the app thus far.


Celebrity Scandal

Jada Pinkett Smith

“Entanglement” might have been the word of the summer. When news of Jada and August Alsina’s involvement broke, the internet went crazy. We saw endless memes, and conversations surrounding the topic. But, Will and Jada handled that scandal as only they could. And, eventually the world moved past it (or at least learned to mind their business as it relates to this topic).


Megan Thee Stallion + #ProtectBlackWomen

After she was allegedly shot by Tory Lanez, Megan used her platform to speak on the importance of protecting Black women. This unfortunate event sparked conversations and help reignite the #ProtectBlackWomen movement.


Prince Harry and Meghan

The couple made headlines when they decided to take a step back from their roles as senior royals. Rumors swirled that this may have been a result of familial tensions, racism and scrutiny from the media/social media, or a cumulation of these things and more.


Big Wins

Joe Biden + Kamala Harris

2020 was a huge triumph for the Democratic party as the Biden-Harris ticket won the presidential race. Many attributed the win to Black women. And, progressives everywhere took to the streets and social media to express their excitement over a Black female vice president elect.


Beyoncé

Whenever Beyoncé drops a project, the world pays attention. 2020 was no different as many tuned into her visual album, Black Is King. The project was subject to praise and criticism. But regardless of people’s personal opinions, the project was a statement. And if nothing else, many appreciated the visuals and cultural themes.


Zendaya

Euphoria was a big deal when the show came out. And, Zendaya definitely received her roses for her performance by securing an Emmy win for Best Lead Actress in a drama. But bigger than that, Zendaya “made history with this win, not only for becoming the youngest-ever Emmy winner in the category… but also for being the second-ever Black woman to win the category”.


Megan thee Stallion

Meg had heavy hitting collabs with Beyoncé (“Savage Remix”) and Cardi B (“WAP”). She also won a bunch of awards (Artist of the Year at the BET Hip Hop Awards, Favorite Rap/Hip Hop Song at the American Music Awards, and Breakthrough Artist of the Year at the Apple Music Awards, to name a few). So forget a hot girl summer; I think we can all agree that Megan had a hot girl year.


Things We’re Taking With Us Into 2021

Reflecting on 2020 has been bittersweet. And as we wrap this year up and look ahead to 2021, we hope for better days. We hope the worst is behind us. And, we hope to take the positive (rest, self care, creative energy, and community) forward . And on that note, we’ll see you all in 2021.

Happy New Year!


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Marcia Stewart - Black Girl Digital Writer

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