Time named Donald Trump as their Person of the Year for 2016, in a sequence of events even more inevitable than the post-Brexit spike in hate crime. Here at Impact, Time’s leading competitor in the magazine industry, we have compiled our own shortlist of candidates more deserving of the title of Person of the Year 2016.
Selasi Gbormittah from Bake Off
This summer, in the aftermath of Brexit and the doom of the US election, one man managed to keep us going. One man brought a smile to our faces. One man won the hearts of the heartbroken. That man was Selasi, from Great British Bake Off.
Each week, without fail, Selasi would light up not only our television screens, but our lives.
There were – there are, for a love as true as the one we hold for Selasi never dies – so many reasons to love him. His flowery shirts. That flowery cake. His outrageous poses and incessant lying-on-the-floor-banging-a-timer routine. His relaxed attitude amongst the chaos. His frequent lending of a helping hand. Plus he went to the University of Nottingham.
And then there was his friendship with Benjamina, and his romance with Paul, whose unmistakable love for Selasi is surely greater than his love even for a nice loaf.
Yes, Selasi from Bake Off is the shining star we needed in our time of darkness.
In the midst of what has been a rather chaotic year, there is one person who stands out as person of the year – J. K. Rowling. Not only does she donate extensively to charity and remind us all that “happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times”, but she gave us another magical film this year.
J.K. not only wrote the Harry Potter series, which captivated millions, she’s also written a play and created the film world of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, promising us another 4 films! Whilst all the political and economic chaos consumes the world, J.K. helps us escape reality and become almost childlike, whilst secretly wishing we could have a Niffler (not being a person, Dougal could not be nominated for person of the year (if you’ve not seen the film yet, watch it and you’ll understand)).
Without even trying, J.K. Rowling still manages to bring a smile to everyone’s face, she writes because she loves it and wants us all to be able to relate to very human problems in a very magical context.
Choudry is a man who certainly knows his own mind. Unafraid of getting on the wrong side of mainstream opinion, powering through labels such as ‘extremist’ and ‘hate preacher’, he works tirelessly for his own vision, not even slowed by relentless accusations of twisting and manipulating many vulnerable, young men and sending them to their deaths.
For his tirelessness and bravery, Choudry has become an icon for many at a plethora of points on the political spectrum. For the champions of Liberty and freedom of expression, Choudry is a man who shows us that you can say whatever the fuck you want, so long as you’re not caught planning, or instructing others to plan, a terrorist attack or an ethnic cleansing. For the painfully regressive, he’s a man unafraid to stand up to Western Imperialism and for the ultra-nationalist racists, he’s evidence that the brown people they’re terrified of are actually out there somewhere. However, it is arguable that there is one group for whom he is an icon, nay, a hero beyond what is captured for in other groups. For any young men who feel that their true value goes entirely unnoticed, who feel that the world has failed in its duty of daily admiration to them, Choudry shows that there is another way. He is a portal for those who wish to step out of the over-developed, rich, over-educated, over-regulated, over-cared-for West and into the freedom of Radical Islamist organisations.
“After his untimely death, my Instagram feed has been host to more pictures of Harambe than of people I’ve known”
I know what you’re thinking “how can an animal be person of the year?” or even “he was just a gorilla”.
Truth is, if the latter of those statements oozed through your mind just now then you are sadly a normie, an individual not familiarized with the intricacies of meme culture, and there is nothing I can say that will change your perception on one of the greatest icons 2016 has had to offer. But for everyone else, how could he not be person of the year? Perhaps simply a gorilla while alive, after his untimely death my Instagram feed has been host to more pictures of Harambe than of people I’ve known in person. The memefied martyr that is this majestic silverback has taken our social platforms by storm, to the point where numerous people in the US actually cast their votes on the 8th of November in favour of the celestial ape watching over us all.
In all seriousness, however, 2016 has been the year where memes have undoubtedly imprinted themselves into mainstream culture (for better or worse) and the fact that a gorilla shot in the Cincinnati Zoo in May has been a major vessel for this cultural phenomenon is frankly one of the most ‘what the hell’ moments of an already pretty astonishing year.
And if you feel like you truly know Harambe after reading this, all I can say is, name 3 of his songs bro.
X-Factor Winner, Joshua Ogunmokun
This time last year, ITV’s The X Factor was a shadow of its former self. The One Direction glory days were a distant memory and TV pundits were calling curtains for Simon Cowell’s once-popular talent show.
That was until one man auditioned (with a pitch-perfect rendition of Take That’s cover of Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’) and changed the game – for good. Joshua Ogunmokun’s audition video went viral in a matter of minutes, reaching a global platform only seen by the likes of Susan Boyle and the Biden/Obama memes.
A true renegade, Ogunmokun astounded the UK audience each weekend with his self-styled versions of tracks from Mel C’s landmark Northern Star album. Forget everything you thought you knew about music and buckle up. 2017 is going to be a wild ride.
“There’s no way he’ll play Grindelwald like he plays every other character he’s played in the past”
What a year 2016 has been, hasn’t it?! It’s produced some truly great people, and taken away a few to make up for it. However, I would make a strong case that amongst all of these stars, there is one that shines brighter than the rest. He is, ladies and gentlemen, none other than the great Jonny Depp. It all started when his wife smuggled their pet dogs into Australia (because laws are only meant to be broken right?) and they released that awe-inspiring video, professing their deepest and sincerest apologies (because no way was that a condition for them to escape a conviction). It truly opened my eyes to Depp’s love for Australians and the passion with which he can speak on a subject that matters. However, mere months on from this, we hear that said wife has accused him of domestic violence! I mean, surely not? A man of that level of fame could never stoop so low as to beat a poor, young and defenceless woman when he got angry, could he?
Poor Depp is now wifeless and has a reputation as a wife-beater, but don’t let that make you think he’s a scumbag. If you’ve ever seen him on Graham Norton, you’ll see what an animated and interesting person he is to watch – honestly, he lights up the room! To round off Depp’s year of brilliance, he got a role in the new Harry Potter film, Fantastic Beasts. The whole 2 minutes of his acting is enough to blow you away, and it’s clear to see that there’s no way he’ll play Grindelwald like he plays every other character he’s played in the past. How do I know this? Because Depp is a diverse actor, and a true genius. Plus, he’s practically God now that he’s won a role in JK Rowling’s sacred wizarding world. You can’t argue against Depp’s credentials (and his incredible good looks) so it’d be stupid not to choose him as person of 2016.
2016 has been a pretty awful year in terms of politics and celebrity deaths, including one particularly prominent public figure (Harambe). But one positive thing we have all gained from the slow escalation of global apocalypse in 2016 has made this year all worth the while – memes. Memes have made this year just a little bit more bearable, and just a little bit less awful, so thank you, Richard Dawkins, for inventing memes. Despite coining the term in 1976, this year has been a seminal year in meme history, so 2016 should be the one to celebrate Dawkins’ massive contribution to global culture.
“She is, of course, UKIP’s glorious leader, who lasted for a phenomenal eighteen days before quitting”
Forget Trump, without a doubt the Politician and Person of the Year is Diane James. Unsure who this titan of Politics is? She is, of course, UKIP’s glorious leader, who lasted for a phenomenal eighteen days before quitting, as she “didn’t have sufficient authority”. Admittedly, following in Farage’s footsteps is a daunting job, and as the first female leader of this prominent party, James was poised to make real change with the large number of MPs currently held in Parliament. Unfortunately, it was not to be. However, her past praise for Vladimir Putin, citing him as a “strong leader”, and her call for a temporary ban on all immigrants to prevent “crime associated with Romanians”, undoubtedly assures her place on Impact’s list.
Chance the Rapper
Chancellor Bennett, also known as Chance The Rapper, has had an exceptional year. Through music alone he has completely transformed what it means to be a successful independent artist, with a net worth of over $1million without selling his music. His recent free project Coloring Book has been nominated for a Grammy, making it the first free mixtape/album to do so. His European tour this year sold out. But music aside, Chance has also had a great social presence, as he continues to host open mics in Chicago and speak out on social issues. I mean, after one of his concerts, he took the crowd to go and vote. What a guy.
nb. This article has been written in the understanding that we are living in a post-fact, post-truth world.
Image: Epic Fireworks via Flickr
The views expressed in this article are not the views of Impact Magazine as a whole.