Are we still recapping 2020? Well, at The Influence Agency we are.
It’s been over a year since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 pandemic. And what a year it has been! From worldwide lockdowns, entanglements, to an anxiety-inducing U.S. presidential election, 2020 was definitely a year for the books!
According to Nielsen data, from March 2019 to March 2020, time spent on mobile devices in the U.S. increased by 215%. The global lockdowns really drove users across the world to social media and when the going got tough with the first lockdown, I know I personally turned to social media to give me a good laugh.
Let’s recap some of the best social media memes during the lockdown!
In July, the world was shocked to find out that Jada Pinkett-Smith, the long-time wife of actor Will Smith, had an “entanglement” with singer August Alsina. The couple sat down for Pinkett-Smith’s Facebook Watch show, Red Table Talk, to discuss their relationship after the news broke.
It all began in June when Alsina stated in an interview that he was romantically linked with Pinkett-Smith and that Smith was aware and gave them his blessing. According to Pinkett-Smith, the said entanglement occurred when the pair were separated more than four years ago.
Within hours of the interview airing, a still shot of Smith appearing to be crying went viral.
Will Smith: Hey Jada, what month is it next?
— A J (っ◔◡◔っ) (@habibajala) July 11, 2020
Funny enough, in October Smith revealed in a YouTube video that he was actually not crying during the episode. “I think because I drink so much coffee, I get dehydrated and it makes my eyes water. People think I’m crying all the time.”
He believes that the interview worked out in his favour because “everybody was like, ‘poor Will.'”
Nonetheless, the episode saw 15 million Facebook views within the first 24 hours and the word “entanglement” soon became a trending topic on Twitter.
JAKE PAUL KO'D NATE ROBINSON 😱 pic.twitter.com/i6tZHyDUBv
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 29, 2020
Not quite the fight of the century, but the boxing match between former NBA player Nate Robinson and social media personality Jake Paul left the frontrunner, Robinson, out cold by the second round. And of course, social media went crazy.
Memes of Robinson’s limp body set social media ablaze with edits including the once-popular multiplayer game, Among Us, and the NBA logo. It even spawned the #NateRobinsonChallenge, which Paul posted on his TikTok account. Robinson’s fellow NBA players including Steph Curry also chimed in via Twitter.
@jakepaulGuys… @dababy @realstunna4vegas♬ original sound – Jake Paul
Raise your hand if you’ve ever been personally victimized by Sue Sylvester. Now if you watched Glee (2009-2015) you know that Sylvester was a tyrant whose only goal was to take down the Glee Club—and to create toxic environments for anyone who got in her way.
Though the show ended five years ago, this meme somehow made its way back to life with some hilarious and realistic variations.
Britney Spears in 2003 pic.twitter.com/YxSTcdBzsP
— josé esteban muñoz stan account (@liamemaher) June 29, 2020
This meme stems from the iconic Wojak/That Feel Guy and has been popular on social media for quite a few years now and was said to have been posted in 2009! Basically, if they don’t know this OG meme—they’re too young for you.
— Kp (@nykev_) December 11, 2020
The meme was revived back to life in 2020 and was being used to describe feelings of being at home in social settings or just general and sometimes random facts that people should know or care about.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) November 7, 2020
After one of the most nail-biting elections in history, on November 7th, 2020 it was announced that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris had won the 2020 U.S. Presidential election.
*Collective sigh of relief*
But who could forget those four words uttered by the now U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris’ on a phone call to U.S. President Joe Biden?
“We did it, Joe.”
We did it Joe 😩 pic.twitter.com/kOViNoGqE4
— Babe Taty (@imbabytate) November 10, 2020
Of course, the viral video has now made its way to TikTok and Instagram where creators across the globe parodied the call.
@amygrimshaw##biden/harris2020 ##wedidit ##momsoftiktok ##momsover40 ##duet ##respect @kyragrimshaw1♬ original sound – USA TODAY
Let’s fast forward to January 2021 on Inauguration Day for U.S. President Joe Biden and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris where a chilly and lonesome Bernie Sanders was spotted.
There were lots of social media moments to remember from this Inauguration from former First Lady Michelle Obama’s praise for her fabulous hair and outfit to Jennifer Lopez somehow incorporating her song “Let’s Get Loud” into a rendition of “America, The Beautiful”. But amidst the chaos, our beloved Bernie Sanders rose from the phoenix and became the star of the show.
“This could’ve been an email” pic.twitter.com/kn68z6eDhY
— Ashley K. (@AshleyKSmalls) January 20, 2021
Now, this meme is important because I’m sure we can all relate to having to be somewhere we really don’t want to be—like a distant cousin’s 3rd birthday party or a four-hour-long team meeting.
Crafty social media users began to edit Bernie into various pop culture moments including television shows and movies, historical events, art, and even other memes!
The internet really can be magical pic.twitter.com/Jrwkj2twii
— Ashley Holub, PhD (@ashtroid22) January 21, 2021
It’s been noted by social media users that the coat that Sanders is wearing is the same coat he wore in the below meme a few months prior. This meme stemmed from Sanders asking voters for financial support for his U.S. Presidential campaign in 2019 and gained traction in January 2020 (worth an honourable mention).
The truth is, we have an excellent chance to win the primary and beat Trump.
But the only way we can do that is if we have the sufficient financial resources.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) December 30, 2019
Sanders even sold merch with the meme and donated all profits to several charities in Vermont, reportedly donating $1.8 million USD. We love to see a meme being used for good!
The most recent meme to join the club popped up just a couple of weeks ago when television host and media mogul, Oprah Winfrey sat down with former UK Royals, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry for an exclusive tell-all interview since they departed from the Royal Family. Markle and the Prince chatted about their experiences with various members of the Royal Family and the racism and discrimination Markle faced from the UK press. If you missed out, let’s just say that tea was spilled!
— Chicks in the Office (@ChicksInTheOff) March 8, 2021
In true social media fashion, Oprah’s reactions to the shocking revelations made by Markle and the Prince became an instant sensation.
me muted on Zoom, but still doing the most with my expressions to show that I’m listening pic.twitter.com/SzOUrPj0h6
— C. (@csher1991) March 9, 2021
All jokes aside, the interview has since spawned some important conversations surrounding race, bias, and discrimination towards people of colour within the Royal Family and the press.
when you leave things for tomorrow and tomorrow arrives pic.twitter.com/hSmglFZOz4
— Shafeeq (@Y2SHAF) March 9, 2021
Now, this was a royal rumble to remember.
Curious to know more about memes and how they came to be a global sensation? Check out The Influence Agency’s “Moments of Influence” episode about the history of memes.
Which meme was your favourite? Chime in below!8