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2018 in Speeches

4 January 2019

If we can all agree on one thing, it’s that there has been a lot to talk about in 2018. From politics and human rights, to Hollywood and climate change, this year hasn’t been a quiet one. Rather conveniently for us when reflecting on the year, each of the key issues is encapsulated in a speech. Whether these were expertly-planned political moments, or reactionary pleas in response to an unforeseen event, 2018 leant on the spoken word to make a statement.
A quick look at the key speeches of 2018 reminds us of some of the key issues, and their memorable soundbites…

January

Oprah Winfrey accepts the Cecile B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes 

In January, Oprah Winfrey became the first black woman to receive the prestigious Cecile B. DeMille award at the Golden Globes. She used her acceptance speech to raise the profile of the #MeToo Movement in Hollywood and addressed broader themes of sexual violence against women.

February

Dale Hansen’s ‘Extra Thought’ for School Shootings

Dale Hansen is an American sports caster but on 15 February he dedicated his "Extra Point" broadcast to sharing his despair at yet another school shooting. Coining the phrase in mock irony, "There's just nothing we can do", Dale spoke from the heart. He shared society’s collective anger that, although another senseless act was carried out, the appetite to change is just not there.

March

March For Our Lives

February was just the start for speeches about gun control in America. In March, Emma Gonzalez returned at the March For Our Lives rally. Emma lead a 6 minute 20 second silence, to replicate the time taken for the gunman to take the lives of 17 students, injure 15 more, and alter everyone. Turnout was estimated to be between 1.2 and 2 million people in the United States, making it one of the largest protests in American history.

April

Mark Zuckerberg Testimony

April saw Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony in front of Congress. The event was livestreamed, and harnessed millions of views globally. The Cambridge Analytica data scandal altered our perceptions of Facebook irreversibly, and changed the public conversation about privacy.

May

Bishop Curry’s sermon at the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

With an estimated global audience of 1.9 billion, Bishop Curry delivered his memorable ‘Love Is The Way’ sermon. The speech received an incredible response, making it as prominent as Meghan’s dress in discussions on social media.

June

Chrissy Teigen speaks at the Keep Families Together March 

In June, Chrissy Teigen spoke up to protest the separation of families at the US-Mexico border. Outlining her own immigrant story, Chrissy stood up with her family to commend the contributions of immigrants and denounce the treatment of asylum seekers at the border.

July

Paul Pogba Pre-Final Match Speech, Russia World Cup 2018

Warm-up complete, The France national football team take one final moment to prepare before heading out to play the World Cup final. Beaten finalists 2 years ago in the European Championships, France undoubtedly had the talent, but did they have the mentality to triumph this time?

Up steps Paul Pogba, midfielder but not captain, to rouse the squad in one calm, articulate, focussed speech, demonstrating why successful teams are full of leaders. He took responsibility that day, with a man-of-the-match performance, as France won 4-2.

August

Madonna invokes Aretha Franklin at the VMAs

In the wake of the late-singer’s death, Madonna gave a tribute speech at the MTV VMAs. However, her performance received much criticism for its self-indulgence when Madonna spoke about her own career for the whole five minutes. As well as swathes of tweets, critics included singer Cynthia Erivo and drag queen Tatianna.

September

Theresa May’s Brexit Speech

One of many Brexit speeches from the Prime Minister this year. Theresa May calls out to the EU to share their issues, so progress can be made, and reassures her party’s resistance to the return of a hard border for Northern Ireland. The recurring theme? Brexit means Brexit.

October

Natalie Portman at Variety’s Women in Power Event


Natalie Portman was recognized for her work for the Time’s Up organization. After countless #MeToo stories and the knock-on impact on women’s careers, Portman stood up for women’s voices everywhere and continues to support the cause every day.

November

President Trump speaks on Immigration before Midterm Elections 

Donald Trump spoke from the White House about immigration ahead of the midterm elections.  He declared that immigrants threaten American taxpayers and place strain on schools, hospitals and communities in general. During the midterms, the Democrats won control of the House.

December

BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards

Sport has been huge in 2018, and the BBC nicely reminded us of some amazing moments. From Gareth Southgate as best coach, to Tyson Fury speaking up on mental health, sport this year has offered a voice to wider issues. A precedent has certainly been set for the future of sport.

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