In terms of digital means, 2014 was one small leap for mankind and one large leap for apps and YouTube. In other words, this is the year the movie industry, teen magazines, concert promoters and record labels (IE: THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY~), finally wised up that online talent is the new celebrity.
But with this realization came many, many moments that caused both embarrassment and pride. We had some amazing superstars come into their own this year, while other have crashed and burn. Many of our favorite social media stars have proven how wholly undeserving they are of their fame, while others are proving there’s more to them than an Instagram picture might suggest. (Very deep, I know)
So it’s with a wonderful list to wrap up the end of the year that I give you, ten moments that made the internet explode in 2014:
10. TROYE SIVAN RELEASED HIS E.P. TRXYE
This year proved to be a surprisingly huge year for Troye Sivan. Riding off the success of coming out and being embraced by nearly every noteworthy YouTuber on the planet, Troye returned to YouTube conventions as the celebrity he had chased in 2013. In the wake of this newfound fame, Troye found the time to release a remarkably mature and sophisticated EP which topped the charts on iTunes in an hour and gave him the honor of being named a talent to watch by Billboard.
9. TYLER OAKLEY WANTED YOU TO FORGET HE USED TO BE A TWAT
If there is one person’s transformation who’s surprised me most from the most hated gay on the internet to 2014’s prom queen, it’s Tyler Oakley. A few years ago–back before the internet lodged everything into it’s memory to constantly use against you–Tyler made plenty of white privileged remarks, and even more transphobic remarks. (All it takes is a simple Google search to find these) While Tyler promises he has moved on from these, I think it doesn’t take a mastermind to realize this was an extremely smart business move on his end. After all, what better way to become the face of the LGBT community (excuse me while I vomit) on YouTube than to now spend your time Tweeting how “grateful”, “humbled” and “blessed” you are. He does charity work. He puts his money where his mouth is. He regularly calls out teenage boys who do similar shit that he used to do. Is it genuine? Probably not. But who gives a fuck when you’re on the cover of the Advocate, right guys??? Right???
Please, for the love of GOD can we find someone better to represent us in 2014. I can’t with this lilac haired tool anymore.
8. YOUTUBERS SCORED SOME RAD BOOK DEALS
Walk into any bookstore and you might notice some of your favorite YouTubers staring right back at you from the aisles. Yes, in the past few months a large amount of your favorite YouTubers found themselves inking some pretty sweet deals to expand their brand. Zoella, Alfie Deyes, Grace Helbig, Hannah Hart and Connor Franta (forthcoming, undoubtably, to capitalize on his coming out announcement) are just a few of the biggest names who have written books to fit into their YouTube personas. The jury is still out on how well they will do, but it’s telling enough that they could score a book deal.
7. SAM PEPPER IS OUTED AS A RAPIST
Sam Pepper, let’s be clear, has always been a little shady. We all should have known when he acted like a complete asshole on Big Brother UK that he wasn’t worth our time. But then he became friends with Caspar Lee, the Harries Twins, and Alfie Deyes and we chose to forget some of the more awful videos he chose to produce. That is until all hell broke loose when Sam posted a video of him grabbing women’s asses on the street. In quick succession, multiple young girls came forward with very serious and disturbing allegations of rape and abuse of power. Sam still has a million followers on Twitter, and many girls still shockingly choose to defend him but let it be known: the Internet is not forgetting.
6. MAGCON ENDED
In April of this year, what could have been the biggest tour of the year featuring teenage boys who make online videos collapsed in the most public way possible: on Twitter. (Where else would a tour featuring Vine’s biggest celebrities come to die?) In an interesting twist, no one on the tour’s career really took a nosedive. Shawn Mendes found himself signed to a major record label and has been selected to join Taylor Swift on her 1989 tour. Jack and Jack got their own tour and documentary courtesy of DigiTour. Cameron Dallas scored his first feature film debut in Expelled. And Nash Grier? Well, he is still being Nash Grier.
5. NASH GRIER’S HOMOPHOBIC VIEWS ARE EXPOSED
We have Tyler Oakley to thank for this one! Before the Vine was released where Nash Grier proclaimed only “fags” get AIDS, we had a whole other reason to be upset with him: his “What Guys Look For In A Girl” video. Among the list of qualifications: DO shave everywhere (even that peach fuzz, ladies!), DON’T be too cool, DON’T sleep around, but DO put out. Nash was able to escape this controversy relatively unscathed–if anything his fame grew–until Tyler unleashed this bombshell onto the world. Now I will give Tyler credit for this. He was a shady bitch in not only holding onto this video until the perfect time for all hell to break loose, but to also use it to his own advantage in becoming an LGBT activist. This, ladies and gentleman, is called being an opportunist. Anyway, after the video was released the Daily Dot produced a truly damning piece showing every Tweet Nash has ever written with the word “fag” or “faggot” in it. (Hint: it’s a lot). Nash took the time to write a lovely apology on his iPhone notepad, and then TMZ decided it was time to go in on him.
Recently Nash wrote an op-ed piece in the Huffington Post titled “Here’s The True Story Behind My Vine” that attempted to paint Nash as a victimized, lonely outcast who tried to fit in by saying gay slurs. The article is complete bullshit, but I do appreciate that now Nash will be too scared to ever say anything offensive ever again.
4. AZEALIA BANKS SURPRISE RELEASED BROKE WITH EXPENSIVE TASTE
Azealia Banks is a truly different beast than anyone on this list. No, not because she is talented! Plenty of these people are talented, MOM. Azealia is different because she is one of the best MC’s in the game right now and she finally dropped an album digitally that the world had been waiting for since 2011. And it’s fucking brilliant. Since the album’s release Azealia has spent a great deal of time starting conversations about black rights, hip hop culture and single handedly ruining Iggy Azalea’s career. In other words, she’s having a great damn year.
3. MILES JAI BROUGHT UP SOME EXCELLENT POINTS ON DIVERSITY IN LGBT YOUTUBERS
I love Miles Jai. Some of you may know her as the face of the hilarious “Like Mah Status” video but she has plenty of other quality videos. After attending Playlist Live (and looking too fab for life), Miles made a recap video of her experience. What I found most true–and angering–were her thoughts on Playlist Live’s “Being Gay On YouTube” panel. “The thing about having an all-gay, cis-gendered, white panel and calling it an LGBT panel…. when there’s only white people on it, isn’t very accurate,” she explained in her video. “Even people on the panel agreed, there should be more representation in the panel. Please more representation on these panels; not just one lesbian and, like, four white guys.” I couldn’t have agreed with her more. This is true, not only for Playlist Live panels but the media in general. And yes, I am guilty of this too: we do not diversify our coverage of YouTubers. There are plenty of interesting and exciting people on the internet who will never receive the same coverage as Nash Grier because they are not white. I haven’t had a chance to write a long response to her wonderful point, but I will soon.
2. ALEX FROM TARGET WAS FOUND
Alex From Target became a cultural phenomenon literally overnight. For a solid year, a photo of Alex bagging groceries was passed around Tumblr with girls and gays dreamily wondering who he could be. Well, their prayers were answered when Alex was found on Twitter in early November. Since then, Alex has received full support from Target, developed his own merchandise and has now joined the CreaTour meaning yes, for a certain fee, you too can finally meet Alex From Target.
God bless teenagers.
1. INTERNET STARS FINALLY INVADED FILMS AND SUCCEEDED
For years, the flippant response when anyone asked if a YouTuber could transition to acting would be, “Absolutely not.” But this year, a few of these YouTubers and one Viner proved everyone wrong. In March of this year Camp Takota, starring Grace Helbig, Mamrie Hart and Hannah Hart (Mamrie served as co-writer; the three of them as producers), was released to warm reviews and press. At Playlist Live a panel was held in celebration of the release as well as a viewing party. (I was told there would be popcorn–THERE WAS NOT–but it was still a super fun panel that I loved.) The movie is a cute, fuzzy look at friendship and the innocence of summer camp. But it also proved that these women can actually act. Even better, they did what they know best and made the damn thing themselves.
Perhaps taking this idea one step further was AwesomenssTV. Last week, AwesomenessTV released an experimental project titled Expelled. (If you’ve bothered reading my blog AT ALL, I won’t even have to bother explaining this film). Cameron Dallas, from Magcon, starred and proved to be an exceedingly charming and funny lead. The movie ran for a weekend at select theaters and sold out every showing. By the time the film was released on iTunes it had taken the number one spot and was declared a success by many major media outlets such as the Hollywood Reporter and the New York Times. Perhaps AwesomenessTV founder Brian Robbins summed it best when he stated, Expelled is a “reflection of the ever-changing marketplace, with fans who want to own their favorite movies and enjoy them on their terms.”
Amen to that. Here’s to more serious respect to the power of Internet creators in 2015.
What were your favorite moments from 2014? Did any of these strike a chord with you guys?