The year 2013 brought us its share of unforgettable moments in news and pop culture that found us glued to the Internet. Scandals were born, self-proclaimed saints were revealed sinners, and we continued to report it all to you, dear readers of The Aerogram. But there were also moments of beauty and redemption. Here are 16 unforgettable moments in 2013 and the people who made them.
What happened? She was the first Indian American crowned Miss America, a groundbreaking moment for South Asian Americans. But all the media could talk, talk, talk about was the fact that Joe Schmoe on Twitter was tweeting racist remarks about Davuluri.
What’s next? The brand-new Miss America has an entire year to spread her platform of “Celebrating Diversity through Cultural Competency” to school kids everywhere.
What happened? The star of stoner cult classic film series Harold & Kumar surprised everyone with his tweets supporting New York City’s stop and frisk policy.
Do we still love him? Of course we still love him. How could you even second-guess our love for Penn? He made the ballsy move of actually apologizing for his statement and teaming up with community organization South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) to condemn racial profiling. It takes real guts to admit you were wrong.
What happened? The wife of polarizing politician Anthony Weiner and the top aide to Hillary Clinton found herself the butt of racial and religious jokes as the spotlight on her husband heated up.
Next for Huma? Hopefully some sort of awesome job with Hilz, of course.
What happened? The comedian, actress, writer and showrunner continued to entertain fans in 2013 with the second season of her show, The Mindy Project. (For more about the show, read Jaya Sundraresh’s recaps of The Mindy Project.) But with a prominent South Asian American in Hollywood, we also can’t stop talking about her comments on the significance (or not) of her role in the entertainment industry.
What’s next? Will The Mindy Project continue to delight and torment us on Tuesday nights? Only time will tell. But either way, we predict Kaling will keep us entertained and enthralled.
What happened? He was featured in a nationwide Gap campaign during the start of the holiday season. Many were delighted to see Gap’s quick response when a bigot defamed one of the ads in New York City.
And now? We’re still waiting for the Sikh socialite to address the critics who fault the man for supporting a corporation that many see as hostile to the rights of Bangladeshi garment workers.
What happened? The ingénue behind the television series Girls found herself in hot water with the Indian diaspora after she talked about her trip to India in less than flattering terms.
Do we still love her? Did we ever love her? No, but seriously. Let’s tune back in 12 months and see if Dunham has put her privilege in check.
What happened? The New York City based Indian diplomat and vocal women’s rights activist was accused of allegedly stiffing her housekeeper minimum wages, paying the woman $3.31 an hour and then lying about it on visa forms.
What happens now? Will #nannygate put a freeze on India and America’s longtime cuddlefest? We sure hope not, there’s already been a Domino’s Pizza fatality. But we’re firmly standing by alleged victim Sangeeta Richard on this one.
What happened? During the midst of the hunt for the Boston Marathon bombing, Reddit vigilantes decided that the missing college student was behind the attacks. The news spread to major media outlets. And while Internet sleuths were busy trying to track down Tripathi, CNN was busy erroneously reporting that a brown-skinned individual was behind the attack.
Why does it matter? It matters because an innocent, grieving family was caught in an unnecessary media storm.
Simone Devi Jhingoor
What happened? Her fiancé proposed to her on The Today Show and internet reaction was vicious, especially from so-called feminists.
Who won? We all did when Simone shared her version of her narrative, shaming many of her detractors into apologizing. Although we didn’t see any apology from some of the biggest sites that shit all over her special day. I’m looking at you, Jezebel…
What happened? She was the first Indian American woman to perform standup on a late night American television show.
What’s next? We want more Nancherla! Somebody start a Change.org petition so we can get this performer, who wrote and performed for the just-canceled sketch comedy show Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell, back on television.
What happened? The White House National Security Council staffer Josi Joseph was revealed to be a major Twitter troll.
Is there a sequel? In other news, Joseph also unveiled as Gossip Girl.
What happened? So, an actor was finally found to star in a biopic of late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury and surprise, surprise. He’s white. Too bad nobody asked us for a list of the actors we would’ve liked to have seen in the role.
Why does it matter? Because the last thing we all want is more Hollywood whitewashing.
What happened? The comedian and actor had another big year. He accepted a $3.5 million dollar book deal from Penguin Press, he released Netflix special Buried Alive and was even satirized by Saturday Night Live’s Nasim Pedrad, who wore brownface during her sketch about the Indian American comedian.
What was the significance? While the SNL skit was another misstep from the legendary sketch comedy show, they seem to be making moves in the right direction. Meanwhile, Ansari’s star continues to rise. We look forward to seeing even more creative endeavors from this Hollywood powerhouse in 2014.
What happened? The former 30 Rock actor, currently the voice of Nickelodeon’s Sanjay and Craig, came out as gay.
Does it even matter in this day and age? Yes! Especially given India’s recent reversal of legislation legalizing homosexuality.
What happened? Data scientist Aditya Mukherjee found himself denied a flight on JetBlue after a representative from the company refused to clear him for takeoff.
Did Jet Blue ever apologize? Only if you call “we regret the inconvenience it caused you” an apology.
What happened to him? The Columbia professor, who is Sikh, was attacked by a group of young men in New York City.
The silver lining? The good professor used the publicity as an opportunity to educate Americans about Sikhism and generally promote peace, love and understanding. Kudos.