This year has seen some of the worst decisions leave the White House in recent history: President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind Obama-era sexual assault guidance and to define gender under Title IX; the presidential administration’s erasure of reproductive health from the Department of State’s Human Rights Report; and a slew of racist comments on the official Twitter. All in all, 2018 has not been a time to look to politicians to know what is right.
Instead, look to the year’s artists. At the highest levels of media production, much of the art created this year has been near-explicitly political. Janelle Monáe proudly presents her Black, queer identity in Dirty Computer, “The Handmaid’s Tale” pushes a discussion of female reproductive rights under the guise of a dystopian future, and Spike Lee melds America’s racist present with its past in “BlacKkKlansman.” The political statements in 2018’s film, music and television have transcended party lines to make up mass media that compels and entertains, and its creators deserve some recognition.
Here are The Daily Californian’s picks for the best art of 2018 (so far).
— Olivia Jerram
Diversity, not just in the races represented on the silver screen, has been at the forefront of the film industry this year. Drug addiction, alcoholism, racial profiling in the justice system and the lack of Asian representation in the media are just some of the themes present in this year’s standout films.
This year, women are at the forefront of modern music. From those already at the top of their game, such as ponytail-wearing superstar Ariana Grande, to those just getting started, such as U.K. R&B singer Jorja Smith, female artists have dominated 2018’s soundtrack with their bops, ballads and visual albums.
Whether it be normalizing diversity in casts, as seen on “The Good Place,” or exploring diverse cultures, as the final season of “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” does, the new seasons of many established shows — and the pilot seasons of a few new series — are still making waves and reminding audiences to stay vigilant and aware.
Contact The Daily Californian’s arts & entertainment staff at [email protected].