January 04 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…
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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