For her we're always thankful, but this year especially. For being both brilliant and hilarious, and for being the first black woman to win a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV Series, Comedy since 1982. For her wit and grace, her flawless Instagram presence and impeccable style—everything about Tracee Ellis Ross inspires.
For returning after years of being bullied, belittled, abused, and denied her own creative vision with the deeply personal song “Praying”—which, amidst near daily revelations of sexual abuse and misconduct, has become the year’s most cathartic and necessary pop music anthem.
For Laurie Anderson and her Performa 17 tribute to Yoko Ono, a recreation of one of her instruction paintings, Voice Piece for Soprano. The 1961 original called on viewers to scream—"against the wind, against the wall, against the sky"—and so, at Anderson's command, everyone at the gala dinner did for 30 uninterrupted, very loud seconds. After a year under Donald Trump, it must have been a moment of catharsis. For the great Marilyn Minter, too, we're thankful—she gave Anderson the idea to make Ono's primal scream a simple act of protest on the anniversary of Trump's election. (And for all her Resist-ing.)
For Jodi Kantor, the New York Times reporter who cracked the story (along with Megan Twohey) that has eluded journalists for years: Harvey Weinstein's sexual predations. For throwing herself headlong into the trauma of these crimes, for defying a literal army of spies, and for finally breaking the dam on the terrible men who have misused their power over the years.
For Rihanna today and every day. As one wise and knowing observer tweeted this week: "There is still only Rihanna."
For her pure and sparkling and unproblematic escapist pop music in these trying political times.
For championing female directors for basically forever, and for her active political and social consciousness in an industry where actors—and especially the women among them—are discouraged from speaking out.
For the sure and unremitting way she cut down every one of the dark insinuations aimed at her by the attorney of the former Denver radio DJ who groped her, Taylor Swift deserves a shout out—even what came after wasn't Taylor at her best.
For proving that Donald Trump truly underestimated their nerve when it came time to stand up against his repeal of Obamacare—even if John McCain stole the spotlight and no matter what we feel about these two Republican Senators' politics, it was their resistance that carried the day.
For being the trailblazing feminist and queer theorist exposing masculinized systems of power that she has been for three decades. And for letting us finally start to catch up to her now.
For having a personality as humongous as her ass (her words), for bringing some fun and swagger back to pop, for not being real and not born of the industry, for making money moves—and for making them an act of empowerment.