In the face of cruelty and carnage, we found the beauty in 2016. And collected it all in one place.
It's December and at this point in the year, it's easy to be numb. It's a much healthier alternative than stewing in the fascist, racist and sexist rhetoric that seemed to dominate the past 365 days that we somehow managed to survive. We're tired.
But amongst the stomach-churning headlines and explosive scandals of the past year, we were gifted with incredible minds who delivered incredible art. Some were able to create work that directly reflected our current global environment and others created in spite of it. Regardless, their young and resilient viewpoints were an inspiring shift in the matrix that not only gave us a little perspective but the motivation to head into a fresh new year.
We're leaving a lot of baggage behind but we're moving forward with so much good. Especially if young creatives have anything to do with it.
So, we gathered reviews, reflections and resolutions from the year's most inspiring young activists, visual artists, style bloggers, musicians, photographers, porn performers, curvy models, conceptualists, DJs, authors, creative directors, hair stylists, editors, world travellers, art nerds, actors, fashion designers, yoga instructors, singer-songwriters, filmmakers, entrepreneurs and embroiderers. Here's how they interpreted 2016:
Blair Imani, Activist
Best album of the year? Without question it is The Life of Pablo.
Best film of the year? With a storyline that included breaking down stereotypes and combating violence perpetuated by the state, Zootopia was a very timely animated feature. I felt that Disney's story of two juxtaposed characters unlearning biases about each other was an elegant way to help children (and adults) understand the importance of movements like Black Lives Matter. I was really impressed by the way the film handled the reality of prejudice.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? The best thing about 2016 is that it only lasted 365 days. It has been a rollercoaster both in my personal life and in the global sense. But the actual best part of 2016 has been the music. With musical blessings from Kanye West, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Gucci Mane, Chance the Rapper, Rae Sremmurd, Solange, and Frank Ocean music has been the saving grace of this tumultuous year. The worst thing about 2016: Bigotry got bolder in 2016. I say it got bolder because it's always been here but it got louder and bolder for sure; just look at Brexit in the UK or Donald Trump in the US.
What is love? Community is love. When I was arrested in July, the only thing that kept me hopeful was the outpouring of love I felt from the community around me. Lisa Batiste, a perfect stranger gave refuge to hundreds of protesters on her lawn, she didn't know me but she allowed me into her house to use the restroom. It takes selflessness and love for humanity to do those things. She saved countless people from being hurt or arrested while still preserving our liberty to peacefully assemble.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? Immediate and unencumbered liberation for all marginalized people.
Blair Imani can be found over at @blairimani.
Raleigh Ritchie, Singer-Songwriter, Occasional Pretender, Greedy Person
Best album of the year? Blonde by Frank Ocean. I'm still stuck on it. I'm finding it hard to take in anything else because it's kind of everything you want from a record. Melodies that stick to you, lyrics that get into your bones, vocals that melt your face off. It already feels like a classic.
Honourable mention: Junk by M83. Most surprising obsession of the year and second most played of 2016.
Best film of the year? Moonlight. It's a difficult film to discuss because I wouldn't do it justice, but it looks incredible, it's acted beautifully, and it's as hopeful and affirming as it is heartbreaking. I would recommend it to any and everyone.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Best thing was memes and their reaction to 2016. The worst thing about 2016 was Donald Trump and his nazi friends.
What is love? Love is Love. You know it when it's there.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? More tolerance. More hope. And more pictures of baby animals wearing people clothes.
Raleigh Ritchie can be found over at @raleighritchie.
Charlotte Linden Ercoli, A business that provides video editing services. Hobby: Music maker in secret.
Best album of the year? ANTI By Rihanna or Hardwired to Self Destruct by Metallica because they've had a hard 25 years.
Best film of the year? I haven't seen it but probably Weiner. I did see Holy Hell and that was amazing.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? For the world? Everything has been the worst. Everything has been basically perfect in 2016 for me personally though which is very weird. The worst thing about that is that I'm constantly waiting for everything to fall apart because I'm not used to being this stoked on stuff. I feel like Los Angeles waiting to have an earthquake. Yes, haven't had one since 1994 but any day now anything bad could happen so it's hard to relax 100%. But besides that... best year ever.
What is love? The feeling.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? For Trump to prove all of us wrong.
Charlotte Linden Ercoli can be found over at @charlotteharlott.
The Slumflower (Chidera Eggerue), Style Blogger, Visual Artist and Creative Director of Innclusive
Best album of the year? For me, it has to be A Seat at the Table. Solange really came through with the truth. The world has been aching for unapologetic expression and it could not have come from someone better. Through the release of this album, Solange paved the way for women of colour to stand firm in our truths. This goes to show that representation is important - knowing that someone looks and feels like you is enough to ease you through expressing how you feel knowing that someone else has done it before; it's almost like a safety net for your emotions.
Best film of the year? The best film of the year has actually been my life this past 12 months - that is how dramatic it has been. I've been through the wildest of plot twists, experienced every emotion on the spectrum and landed my dream job after failing uni and losing my life to a minimum wage retail job in Shoreditch.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? The best thing about 2016 has been seeing young women reclaim their confidence and finally take up male-dominated spaces! Our voices are valid and we will always deserve to be not only seen, but heard too. The worst thing about 2016 has been losing so many black lives to police brutality. Black lives matter. In the words of Solange, "I'm weary of the ways of the world."
What is love? Acceptance.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? I would love to see myself on television, doing something very Slumflower-esque. It's super important to write down affirmations because everything we put out into the universe carries the potential to manifest into something beyond us if we allow ourselves to align with our greater selves. I'd also like to see a collaboration between Sampha and James Blake.
The Slumflower can be found over at @theslumflower.
CHLØË BLACK, Musician
Best album of the year? Blonde by Frank Ocean.
Best film of the year?I really loved The Nice Guys. Great black comedy with a slight Lebowski feel. I'm really excited to see Tom Ford's new film, Nocturnal Animals.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Best - I made the decision to split my time between LA and London. I made some wonderful new friends. I didn't die. Worst: EVERYTHING!! (See: the news.)
Personally, this was a tough year for me filled with a great deal of loss and change but that all pales in comparison to the epically fucked up things that took place politically in the 'first world'. I think most people are shocked and frightened but I hope that the horror of this year will be a catalyst for major change. Racism and sexism are still beyond rife in the world and perhaps 5 years ago it was at times possible to momentarily forget that. Now we can't afford to be remotely complacent. Black lives fucking matter!
What is love? Baby don't hurt me.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? Serious strides worldwide in human rights. I want a dyke for president! (See: Zoe Leonard's 1992 poem). Much more diversity in film and television including of course people with disabilities and non-cis gendered people. I'd also love it if the new Twin Peaks were great!
CHLØË BLACK can be found over at @chloeblackmusic.
GIRLI, Artist and Musician
Best album of the year? It's between Chaleur Humaine by Christine and The Queens and A Seat at The Table by Solange.
Best film of the year? Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them was sick! I haven't seen Louis Theroux's Scientology movie, but apparently that's amazing too.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Worst thing - worldwide, Trump getting in is pretty fucking shite. Best thing - personally, I've met some lifelong friends this year who've made me a better person.
What is love? I wouldn't be able to answer that for romantic love because I've never been in love that way, but I do know love between friends. It's feeling at home with someone else.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? Revolution. And Toblerone going back to its normal shape.
GIRLI can be found over at @girlimusic .
Damian Michael Borja, Artist and Photographer
Best album of the year? There were so many amazing albums this year. Every few years music really resurrects itself and this year it definitely came back for sure. I would say my favorite album or more of an EP this year in my opinion - Princess by ABRA. I twerk to dis.
Best film of the year? Film is always so difficult to choose because there's so many genres and I'm such a sporadic chooser when it comes to seeing movies. It all goes with the mood. I have to safely say I haven't seen it yet. I have my eye on La La Land, Moonlight which all of my friends are raving about, and Why Him? with James Franco and Bryan Cranston which looks pretty stupid (in a good way). I guess I'm going to the movies next week...
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? The best for me has been walking into a wall. I moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in the beginning of the year for work and really just took a chance. This year started creatively dead but I've come to find new friends and new openings in my expressions which I think was for the best. The worst is... the American presidential election which I won't have to explain.
What is love? Love is Death and Life because it can kill you and it can recreate you which is the weirdest feelings you can ever really live with. They are both insane rollercoasters but worth the ride or the experience either into or out of.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? Less social media, more real genuine experiences.
Damian Michael Borja can be found over at @kombucci.
Court Kim, Curve Model & Atlanta Creative
Best album of the year? The best album of the year has to be A Seat At The Table by Solange Knowles. It has been a while since I've listened to an entire body of work like that and felt a sense of healing. 'Don't Touch My Hair' is one song that I can listen to and just feel powerful and embrace my blackness in America. I honestly don't know how I have lived my life without this album until now. Thank you, Solange. From the bottom of my heart... thank you.
Best film of the year? I barely saw any films this year and that makes me really sad. I love getting lost in movies. However, the live adaptation of The Jungle Book was absolutely superb. The cinematography and special effects were just stunning. I experienced every emotion possible while watching this film. The way that they incorporated the classic songs with a more complex story plot spoke to me as an adult and as a child who really loved the animation.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? For me personally, I finally got my college degree. It took me a long ass time to instil patience into something that I've been working so hard for. I feel like a weight has definitely been lifted off of my shoulders. My life elevated in a completely different way this year and I am so, so thankful. The worst thing that happened this year is our embarrassment of a U.S. presidential election. I honestly hope that nothing like that occurs again in my lifetime but who knows, right? I've just been trying to keep my faith about that because I'm truly weary in terms of what happens from here.
What is love? For the record, this is the hardest question for me to answer. "Love" is like the feeling of butterflies when you look at someone... even when they make you mad. My family and friends are "Love" so I'm incredibly thankful for them and their presence. I believe that I am a product of love so it's only right for me to spread my love to as many people that are open to accepting it. I've been in love twice, maybe? I was young the first time so that was all that consumed me (which isn't really healthy... there should be a mutual understanding). The second time, I was so concerned about making something work versus realizing that the relationship was already dead. My advice for anyone who is reading this is to never tone down your love but just understand that not everyone is going to love as hard as you. It's okay.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? I could go in so many directions with this. I want to see more black women taking over creative fields. I am always so amazed and inspired by my peers and have grown to love them so much. I want the world to appreciate them as much as I do. Personally, I would love to get signed to a modeling agency and work full throttle on my business endeavors. 2016 was about solidifying what my brand is. 2017 will be the year that I go full throttle with zero apologies. My hunger for success will never let up.
Court Kim can be found over at @TheCourtKim.
Kennedy, Hair Stylist
Best film of the year? A hard tie between Magic 19 by Bishop Nehru and Northern Lights by Allan Kingdom.
Best film of the year? I don't scare very easily but I saw Lights Out and actually used my phone's flashlight when I walked around in dark places (I'm waiting for a good alien/government conspiracy movie to come out so 'Lights Out' will do for now).
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? 2016 was a weird ass year so this question is so hard to answer. A bad thing would happen and then something worse would happen. It's like the universe was constantly trying to one up itself.
What is love? This one is so hard because I think everyone feels love differently. For me, love is that warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you're content with your life. Or it's finding extra french fries at the bottom of the take out bag.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? I think the biggest thing I'd like to see in 2017 is more empathy. Something I think a lot of people don't have.
Kennedy can be found over at @_peach_pit_.
Brenna Ehrlich, Editor in Chief of the Talkhouse Music, Author, Drummer & Vox (Medium Mystic)
Best album of the year? I absolutely loved Mitski's Puberty 2. I'm big into lyrics and her's are so intricate and strange -- as are her melodies. She was on constant rotation for me this year.
Best film of the year? I didn't really see that many new movies, to be honest. I guess I liked the Ghostbusters remake a lot. It wasn't a stellar movie or anything, but it was entertaining. Pete's Dragon was also delightful. I saw both of these with my pal Nimai Larson (Prince Rama) who the best person to see movies with ever because she gets genuinely excited about everything.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Damn, this year has had a ton of bad moments. I mean, it started with David Bowie dying... and then there's Trump. I would say, for the worst moment, it's a tie between David Bowie dying and Trump existing. In terms of best... I fell in love and started a band (Medium Mystic), so it's been an interesting year for sure.
What is love? Love is not wanting to change anything about the person you love -- or about yourself so that you can be with them.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? I would say peace on Earth, but we know how that goes. I'd like to see everyone continue to be strong and motivated and creative. And I hope we're all a little happier this time next year. I also want a new Nobunny record.
Brenna can be found over at @BrennaEhrlich.
Quinn, World Traveller, Professional Companion and Fashion Designer
Best album of the year? Young Thug's Jeffery, hands down. 🙏🏼 bless him!
Best film of the year? Before the Flood. I'm so proud of Leo for giving back and awakening people!
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? The best thing about 2016 was realizing how many people want change in this world. The 2016 election showed us that they're like-minded people out there, it's forcing people to come together and say no. This isn't right, we're tired of being slaves to this capitalist society. I really have hope for the future generation and generations to come. We are magical, beautiful beings that are made to believe we are stupid and have limitations. We have no limitations! The worse thing about 2016 is the approval of the pipeline, the treatment of indigenous people fighting for clean water, and Trump being illegally voted in.
What is love? Love is the only thing that's real in this world, love is nourishment; if you do everything with love, you see your life transform ❤️. Love knows no boundaries and love will be what will change the world.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? I would like to see people get rid of their fear in 2017. Turn off your TV, radio, stop listening to the media and live. There is nothing to be scared of. I would like to see everyone in wars put their guns down; taxpayers refuse to pay taxes until we the people collectively decide what the money will go to. I want to see people reach their highest self, more self-care, more hugs, more 'I love you' to strangers, and the humane treatment of animals. "Some may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."
Quinn can be found over at @internationalangel_.
Vicky Grout, Photographer
Best album of the year? For me, it's a tie between Telefone by Noname and Hungry by 808INK (Coloring Book would have been up there if it was actually a studio album and not a mixtape).
Best film of the year? 13th.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Best thing is Fabric getting its license back, worst thing is Trump's existence.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? Less ignorance and people being more willing to educate themselves and help others.
Vicky Grout can be found over at @vickygrout.
Best album of the year? Carrie and Lowell by Sufjan Stevens.
Best film of the year? The Lobster.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? The best thing so far has been all of the traveling I've been able to do in Europe. The worst thing so far would probably be the 2016 presidential election.
What is love? For me, love is often defined by that part of a song that gives you that crystal clear understanding - that feeling that overtakes you and makes you super emotional about whatever is going on in your life. Love is whatever brings you to tears.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? I'd like to see our country work together to overcome this craziness that's dividing us up. I'd like to see less hate toward each other and more civility. Also, I would love to see more of the world and meet great people in my travels.
Bayonne can be found over at @bayonne.
Marissa Pearson, Singer-Songwriter
Best album of the year? 2016 has been an awesome year for music. James Blake, Nao, Twenty88, Yeezy and Banks have all dropped solid albums this year. Lapsley, Anderson .Paak and Bon Iver have also dropped heat. But for me, which many people will strongly disagree with, Frank Ocean blew me away. The long wait definitely played a part in my love for both Endless and Blonde. His songwriting is just on another level and he has pulled me through the darkest moments of my life with his angelic melodies and heartfelt lyrics. I love that he does what he wants, when he wants to because individuality is easily lost in this industry. I still get transported to another place in his rendition of Aaliyah's famous 'At Your Best' (although covered a year ago) because his damn vocal range is insane! That control though! 'Godspeed' really comforted me in the loss of a good friend of mine and helped me come to terms with his death. It kinda symbolised me saying goodbye and letting go of him as he transitioned into wherever or whatever is after this life.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? The best and worst thing about 2016 for me, are the same. 2016 has been the year of revelations, letting go and growth. I turned 20 this year and something changed inside of me. I realised I put far more effort into others than they put into me. I realised that not everyone has good intentions or wants to see me succeed. I realised that for a lot of people popularity is more important than morals. A lot of these things are things we all know, but this year the penny has really dropped and I've taken action to better my life. Although painful, cutting off toxic friendships has really allowed me to grow into myself and begin to feel confident in my craft and in myself as a whole. My wellbeing matters. My mental health matters. My happiness matters. As someone that has always put others first, it was a hard decision to make but I'm so glad I did. I am surrounded with love! I am surrounded by genuine, strong friendships with unconditional support for both my career and personal issues. I am beginning to fall in love with the woman I am becoming.
What is love? To me, love is hard to decipher. There are different types of love. Caring about someone and going out of your way to check on them is love. Learning when to let go is love. Knowing when someone needs to converse or to be held. Sensing within yourself when your close people aren't ok. Selflessness, compassion, willingness to listen. Creating a safe space for people to talk is something I've really tried to make happen this year. Through my blog, I've reached thousands of people with my own story in hopes to get people talking about mental health and sexual abuse - two very common, yet taboo subjects. Hundreds of people have personally reached out to me and told me their own stories. The volume of people is really sad, but I'm glad that there is a huge community ready to comfort and cry with each other. I've been through a lot in my 20 years of existence but I try to be a person that makes others feel a sense of serenity and peace. I like to make people feel good and feel like they matter... because they do! I think love always comes back around in one way or another and it doesn't hurt to spread a little kindness.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? I think 2017 is the year of greatness. In fact, I believe it is! I'm speaking it into existence! I want to see myself and all my people excel! I am so ready for it. My friends are so talented. It's been pending for too long. In terms of society, I'd like to see a lot more equality and true representation. Also, credit given where it's due. I'd like to see an increase in platforms for women, non-white people and LGBT people to express their views and to share events, businesses etc. 2016 really was the year that shook everyone to the core. Fascism took the limelight and hatred spread like wildfire but I'm a strong believer that love will always conquer hate and everyone gets their just dessert in the end. In 2017 I want to see more unity, more kindness and more compassion.
Marissa can be found over at @Marissa_Pearson.
Cecilia Salama, Artist
Best album of the year? If I'm alone in my room: I'm a romantic at heart. School of Seven Bells' final album, SVIIB, really struck me. I'm going to miss them. If I'm driving in a car: Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 1 by Cardi B.
Best film of the year? My friend Elena Parasco made an art-sport documentary hybrid about the all-female basketball team we're both on called @Downtowngirlsbball. It was so beautifully done, capturing the essence of both the team and the individual players without being invasive or focused on the male-gaze. I would definitely check it out.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Looking back, this year has been pretty jam-packed with bests. I was able to show work abroad in Berlin for the first time, I've shown in three different universities in the States, I've published my first art book, I've even modeled in NYFW. There have been some big lows though; things that have hit me pretty hard. Without those experiences I wouldn't appreciate the moments when things are going my way as much as I do. It's clichéd but true.
What is love? Love and basketball baby.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? I would like to see Morgan the whale being held unlawfully in captivity at that beta version of Seaworld in Spain called Loro Parque, set free to her family.
Cecilia can be found over at @spaceeceecee.
Alizé Demange, Fashion Stylist
Best album of the year? Solange's A Seat at the Table.
Best film of the year? Moonlight.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Best thing about 2016 is that a lot of the fuckery of the world revealed itself which in turn I suppose tells us the worst thing about 2016 is that we really can't predict what's next in 2017 or anything else for that matter... but positivity is important and in these uncertain times the most innovative creativity happens.
What is love? Love is unconditional and selfless, it's definitely bigger than us and drives us as humans on so many levels.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? More unity in the creative community on a local scale as well as globally we have so much more power to communicate now and ability to create important change.
Alizé Demange can be found over at @stalkerwork.
Vanessa White, Singer-Songwriter
Best album of the year? There has been so much amazing new music out this year. That's why I started my weekly 'Friday Feels' feature on Twitter because there are too many great options, but in my eyes I think it would have to be Anderson .Paak and the collaboration he did with Knxwledge for their new album as NxWorries, Yes Lawd!. I love Solange's new album too and am actually obsessed with it, but Yes Lawd! would have to be my pick of the year.
Best film of the year? I would have to say Fantastic Beasts, which I've literally just seen. I love JK Rowling and find it amazing that she's able to come up with these crazy concepts. Like who even thinks about that? It's the most amazing thing. It's so fun and I can't wait to watch the second, third and fourth and fifth. I love anything that stretches your mind through its creativity.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? I'd like to leave it on a high so let me start off with the challenging part of the year for me. I've been making some changes around me, including my team so that's been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster in some ways but actually it's also the best thing too as I've been able to grow and find the best team for me and what I'm about now. A big high for me this year was getting to release 'Low Key' which had such an insane response and I can't wait to release the next track and it's so fulfilling when you know you have a small dedicated team around you and you've done it independently so that all makes it even more worth it.
What is love? I feel like love is so many things. And actually, sometimes it's the smaller things. Love is being content. It's so different for so many different people. But it's whatever positive things you can bring into your life and others' that makes you feel content. I do really like luxury things don't get me wrong, but I feel like I get the most happiness from a lot of the smaller things in life, like eating fruit in the sun, which I'm doing now.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? I think we need to see more love and compassion in the world. There has been a lot of stuff going on in 2016 and I feel a lot of it has been quite negative, so for 2017 I would love to see more unity and people coming together rather than trying to take each other down. I'm looking forward to putting out more new music next year and hopefully that can help to spread some good vibes in its own little way. People can interpret the same music differently but I'd like to think for the most part people come away feeling good. I think music and culture has been so important this year as a lot of people have turned to it to find a positive alternative to what's been going on in the world, whether that's an amazing body of work like Solange's new album which is actually addressing issues around race and gender or just some of the beautiful, feel good music that's actually a welcome distraction from what's going on in the world. Bring on 2017.
Vanessa White can be found over at @vanessawhite.
Vex Ashley, Porn performer, producer, director with my project Four Chambers and general internet naked person
Best album of the year? Nick Cave's Skeleton Tree, probably with the documentary (One More Time with Feeling) it was released alongside. I fell completely back in love with Nick Cave after the reinvention of Push the Sky Away but Skeleton Tree is like the pure, unpolished process of grief and it's haunting and totally human and I can't stop listening to it. It's the heartbreaking album we deserve for 2016.
Best film of the year? I didn't get a chance to see Moonlight and I'm guessing my answer should be that but in its place I'll say Arrival. It felt like a poetic antidote (and also gave me hope that maybe aliens are much nicer and more forgiving than humans and that we might get invaded some time soon).
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Worst thing, worst thing, worst thing: the rise or maybe the revelation of the undercurrent of racism, fascism, and fear that still have a hold on so much of society. Also, I ate my lunch with my used cat food fork no less than twice this year, 2016 you truly suck. The best thing - cats, always cats, also dogs and other pets. maybe cute rodents and squirrels and little lizards and bearded dragons. Basically, we are all fucked and animals are our only hope.
What is love? You know when you're sitting next to someone doing something mundane or just walking beside them not talking and you look at them and get that overwhelming warm, golden sense of total joy and contentment simultaneously. That.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? A meteor? Not really... but maybe. I would like to see progress on ensuring the safety and rights of migrants and minorities and if the Russian's could stop bombing the fuck out of hospitals in Syria that would be pretty great. And selfishly it would be really excellent if government regulators would stop making pornography public enemy number one and instead let consenting adults have some and watch some sex, which soon will be the one joy left in this world of impending doom.
Vex Ashley can be found over at @vextape.
Douglas Dare, Musician
Best album of the year? Hopelessness by Anohni.
Best film of the year? One More Time With Feeling - Nick Cave.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? One of the bad things about 2016 is the loss of so many great artists but of course, the upside is that we've all been listening, watching, reading and celebrating their tremendous work!
What is love? When everything makes sense and you understand that this is why you are living.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? Portishead bring out new material.
Douglas Dare can be found over at @DouglasDare.
Djali, Student, Activist, Yoga Instructor, DJ and Creative Director
Best album of the year? A Seat at the Table, by far.
Best film of the year? Moonlight.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Being from the States, I can honestly say the worst thing(s) have been the election of Trump and his neo-Nazi Cabinet as well as the #NoDAPL fight, something I'm very committed to and have been for the past couple of months. Then, of course, all the souls we lost this year, from Philando Castile and Alton Sterling--two names in a series of Black, Brown, and Bronze men whose lives have been taken by the racist institution we call law enforcement--to Prince and Gene Wilder. The best thing, or one of the best things I'd say to come about this year is all the community that has been built around the first two aforementioned things. Since 11/9, post-election day, tens of thousands of New Yorkers/New York-transplants took to the streets protesting the election of a fascist, sexist, and bigot of a "leader". Throughout the nation, different races, genders, sexes, nationalities, classes, and ethnicities have come together to make a change. It's been a beautiful thing to see. The same goes with Standing Rock; the (inter)national community that's headed over to the Rez to stand/fight for something that's an inalienable right--water--has been incredible. Though there's generally been a media blackout around this, because money trumps morality and oil companies run everything, the peaceful protest of the Water Protectors against a hyper-militarized police state (it's become a checkpoint zone, strip searches are common, as is pepper spray, being shot at by water canons, and having dogs released on you), and the people it's brought together is beautiful.
What is love? Love is something rare, that's often confused with other things.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? There are so many things you want to see happen in the upcoming year that hadn't manifested themselves/itself in the current, so you end up putting an insane amount of pressure on yourself and the cosmos. Of course, there are things I'd like to see: DAPL not being built, a miracle where the Trump-Pence administration is ruled out for its white supremacy, my school give me more scholarship money because university is super expensive, subway MetroCard fares not be raised to $3/ride. But who knows. We'll see what happens.
Djali can be found over at @djalibc.
Nelz Omo, Makeup ARTnerd
Best album of the year? I consider Isaiah Rashad's The Sun Tirade to be album of the year. Everyone talks about Frank Ocean or Drake, but to me he had the most cohesive album of the year. Everything flowed perfectly. I barely skipped any tracks and it's also nice to bump in the whip.
Best film of the year? This was hard for me as a few came out. But I would go with Manchester By The Sea. What I love about this film is how funny and how poignant it is in its approach to explaining to us the importance family, community, sacrifice and adjusting to life after so much has been taken from you.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Worst is Trump being elected. I mean, I don't even live in the USA and that's pretty wild. The best thing has to be 2016 finally ending. This was a terrible year.
What is love? To love someone means that you love the person exactly as they are. Exactly as they were before, and exactly as they will be in the future because people change all the time. So if you love the person then you will love them even if they become something you disagree with. How many people can say that about the person they love? Love is not about you or your pleasure. Love is not about what you get out of it. Love is not about having a love slave. You don't own anyone. Love is not about always doing and agreeing to what the person you love says. Love means that the person can just live their life exactly as they choose and you will always be there for them no matter what. If you love someone then you will never give up on them. If you love someone then you care more for the person you love than for yourself. If you love someone then you aren't being bossy and short-tempered with them. When you love someone it isn't always about you. It's about the person you love too. If you love someone you will put up with anything the person you love does. Love feels like a deep and tender feeling of affection for or attachment or devotion to the person you love.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? Just more positivity. This year was seriously such a downer with so many things happening worldwide and personally. I felt like the vibrations were off this year in so many ways.
Nelz Omo can be found over at @nelzomo.
Julia Kelly, Actress, Producer and Brand Maker
Best album of the year? My favorite album this year was Starboy by The Weeknd, I love music and this has so many elements that make it a classic and a long lasting favorite. I do also want to give a special mention to Frank Ocean's new album Blonde, a long-awaited album and also one I love to listen to. Best film of the year? Star Wars, The Force Awakens, I am obsessed with Star Wars and hope to have a role in one of the episodes someday! What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? 2016 has been a challenging year, both personally and with world events. I would have to say the "Worst" thing has been the US Elections, how the media and our country seem so divided with all of it. We'll see how it all unfolds for 2017. The "Best" thing this year for me has been my time with family and friends, growing personally, getting my own apartment, and working on amazing personal appearances and acting projects, including working with Director Bret Easton Ellis on The Deleted. What is love? "Love" is happiness - the kind you find in your family, having "Faith in God", having genuine friendships. Love brings all colors and genders in acceptance of one another. We all need to love one another more. What would you like to see happen in 2017? Many things I would love to see happen in 2017! But I suppose for the world it would be to break down cultural boundaries to allow more opportunities for women, men, all genders, Latinos, Asians, all ethnicities, to have more opportunities in the entertainment industry. Being of a mixed cultural background, I have felt some resistance due to my heritage. Personally, I hope to continue to do more of what I love, which is acting and hoping to develop and work on my own projects to help inspire others through what I accomplish.
Julia Kelly can be found over at @missjuliakelly.
Sophie Rees, Creative Director and Founder of Delores Daywear
Best album of the year? It's got to be Blonde... the hype got a bit much for me at some points and I almost resented listening to it, but it fully got me. It's all I listened to solidly for about 3 months. And the video for 'Nikes' is just sublime. Frank in the shimmery Balmain suit nearly killed me.
Best film of the year? I have the worst attention span and it's almost impossible to get me to sit down and watch a new film from start to finish. I'm working on new embroidery collections for Delores all the time, so I tend to watch older films and my all time faves to come up with new designs to stitch on our next product.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Best: my little girl coming into the world in January, and getting Delores Daywear worn by some of the coolest gals. Worst: god, 2016... where do I begin? It's been a shit one on a global and personal level. I'm totally up for 2017 and finding out what it's about.
What is love? It takes many forms and guises, but for me right now it is feeling all gooey watching my little sprog being hilarious and the best person I know.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? Some calm, happiness and good health! Oh and maybe a Mariah comeback tour.
Sophie Rees can be found over at @deloresdeloresdelores_.
Rose Maisie Willoughby, Photographer
Best album of the year? Blonde by Frank Ocean.
Best film of the year? Not technically from 2016, but I watched AKIRA at the cinema this year. The score and the visuals are beautiful. I felt privileged to finally get to watch it on the big screen.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Best personal experience: I exhibited a ten year long nude photography project, Girl on Girl (at Mother, Thursday 17th Nov). Worst: the ignorance of the situation in Syria
What is love? Feeling both utterly empowered and utterly helpless at the same time.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? People to discuss that prisons are obsolete.
Rose Maisie Willoughby can be found over at @maisie_willoughby.
Jodie Abacus, Musician
Best album of the year? When A Tribe Called Quest said they were making a new album (We Got It From Here... Thank You 4 Your Service), I was so excited as they're my favourite hip-hop group of all time. It's a damn shame Phife isn't still alive, but I was totally happy that they left us with something. With this album, they smashed it as they have done so many times. It's a dope album.
Best film of the year? Captain America Civil War is my favourite movie of 2016. I am a big Marvel fan and this is a huge franchise. I await each movie in hope that the directors and actors do it justice as I love how the whole Marvel cinematic universe is connected and I just want it to win. I was happy to see Spiderman give a little cameo as well!
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Damn... where do I start? You'd think by 2016 we'd use the technology to heal our minds and hearts and sort out our differences in the world, but there's just an air of trouble and hate and misunderstanding surrounding this world. I find it very disappointing and I feel that we're caught up in so many distractions to even have the time to care. Like we just look, shake our heads and await the next issue as things just build and pile up like a mound of manure. The good thing about this year is that we've tapped the ground a little more and the worms that were under the surface have risen. We've still got a hell of a lot of work to do to work on our humanity.
What is love? I believe love is patience, kindness, tolerance, strength, truthfulness, caring, sharing, powerful, inspiring, peaceful and creation. I think the world needs all of this in their breakfast in the morning.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? Something even greater to happen for me musically. 2016 has been a truly incredible year but I'm an ambitious guy and I haven't worked this hard in my life for it to stop now. More gigs, festivals, singles, videos, traveling, interviews... the lot! And best of all, my debut album. Apart from musically, as cheesy as it sounds it would be nice for the planet we live on to become a peaceful one.
Jodie Abacus can be found over here.
Hannah Farrington, Blogger
Best album of the year? This is almost impossible and I've been struggling to even narrow down a top 10 list, but for a record that I still go back to on a weekly basis since its release, Frank Ocean's Blond just about tops it (honourable mentions for Lemonade with its visuals, The Life Of Pablo and Whitney, Light Upon the Lake).
Best film of the year? I've been very slack with keeping up with films this year, but One More Time With Feeling made me cry in the cinema by myself.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? The best thing about 2016 was the summer of festivals and mostly nice weather, which seemed somewhat removed from the rest of the year, and also the emergence of a new, woke Gary Lineker. The worst thing about 2016 was literally everything else.
What is love? Baby, don't hurt me (sorry).
What would you like to see happen in 2017? I'd like for the rest of Europe / the world to avoid electing their extreme right wing parties, I'd like for me to move to a flat that doesn't have a mould problem, and I'd like to see the announcement of an Oasis reunion.
Hannah Farrington can be found over at @hannahlouisef.
India K, Installation Artist and Photographer
Best album of the year? Puberty 2 by Mitski.
Best film of the year? The Witch.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Best: The Bear vs. Shark reunion tour. Worst: Donald Trump.
What is love? A series of fuses being ignited over and over in a random order.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? A greater acceptance of all people and more DIY venues in New York / for the NYPD to stop shutting down the ones we have.
India K can be found over at @heartbread.
Sophia Tassew (aka RIOTGAL), Creative and Art Director
Best album of the year? UGH. I had a real tough time answering this question. 2016 has been a great year for music. I think I'll have to go with the new Quest album, We Got It From Here... Thank You 4 Your Service or Colouring Book. Then again A Seat At The Table is also up there. Help.
Best film of the year? Definitely Don't Breathe. I love thrillers and horrors. I'm pretty harsh when critiquing them too, but this film was amazing from beginning to end. First time I was actually on the edge of my seat because of a film for a very long time.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? The worst thing about 2016 was definitely the day Trump was appointed president-elect. After that, it would be Honey G becoming a thing. The best thing about 2016 is definitely the music. Heaps and heaps of really good albums. I feel like 2017 is going to be very experimental, though.
What is love? Just imagine you've been out the entire your day and your feet are aching. You get home, have a lovely hot shower and you climb inside a warm bed with fresh sheets. That little smile you do right before you fall asleep is love.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? I'd like to see brands like Missguided and Pretty Little Thing start to use way more black models. I just think it's funny how they love our culture but never include us in their campaigns. I'm really passionate about diversity in the TV, film, creative and fashion industry. Something needs to change and I'll use my voice wherever possible. Take that.
Sophia can be found over at @manlikesophia.
Bukunmi Grace, Photographer and Stylist
Best album of the year? Would have to give that title to the OG's A Tribe Called Quest with We Got It from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service.
Best film of the year? Moonlight.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? It's been a great year for activism. People of all races have rallied against injustice from the "Black Lives Matter" to protesters denouncing Donald Trump. The most eminent victory being the Dakota Pipeline reroute. Activism is getting offline and overall consciousness, at least in my circle, is being sought. The worst thing is the resistance to consciousness that is also simultaneously happening. From the "Blue Lives Matter" movement when used to discredit the BLM movement to Brexit to Donald Trump's election and the outpouring of incidents spurred by hatred that has been popping up all over the globe.
What is love? Love is shared passion and affection made strong by a commitment of sacrifice.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? I would love to see even more massive movements fighting injustice through lobbying and boycotts and other ways that affect the financial sector. Equally, I would love to see more acceptance and love for all races, sexes, and religions. World peace isn't attainable with current opposition but on an elementary level, I would like to see more gearing up to fight hatred.
Bukunmi Grace can be found over at @bukunmigrace.
Juuannie (Joanne Chan), Instagram Style Blogger, Co-Founder of Bold the Shop, Graphic and Product Designer
Best film of the year? The Lobster! just think the subject is super creative and interesting, and actually got me thinking about the relationship between life and love. Would we rather to survive but can't be able to love anymore, or force ourselves to love to survive? Both ways we still aren't loving? What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? 2016 has been a super big year to me. I started my own fashion store with my best friend, met my boyfriend, and decided to move to Sydney. Everything just didnt happen the way I planned and I've learnt we are all too young to plan, life is short we should just go with the flow and fate would tell you what's best for you. What is love? Love is where you feel home. Love is when you can find 10 thousands reasons why you shouldn't do one thing but you are still gonna do it. What would you like to see happen in 2017? I'd love to see my online grow, developing my fashion work in Sydney just like what I did in Hong Kong and successfully move my dog to Sydney too.
juuannie can be found over at @juuannie.
Liv Thurley, Artist
Best album of the year? I'm stuck between Anohni's Hopelessness' or Kanye's The Life of Pablo. I think I'm going to go with Anohni just because I got to see the whole album performed at the Barbican in summer and it was a truly mesmerising performance. Best film of the year? Definitely not Suicide Squad but definitely the documentary Tickled. What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Worst? Probably the loss of much loved icons such as David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen throughout the year and a whole lot of poisonous politics thrown into the mixture. The best thing about 2016 is that it's nearly over. What is love? Love is different for everyone. What would you like to see happen in 2017? Less "no budget but great exposure" in the art world.
Liv can be found over at @livthurley.
Olivier Morisse, Freelance Graphic Designer
Best album of the year? Radiohead A Moon Shaped Pool without a doubt. I'm an early fan of them and their discography is part of my own personal building process. This album is beautifully composed, perfectly arranged, masterfully illustrated, and magically played. You can spend hours analysing the 'Daydreaming' video. Best film of the year? Aesthetically, I think The Neon Demon' is one of the best films I had a chance to watch in 2016. Nicolas Winding Refn is one of my favourite directors. I was also very impressed by The Red Turtle, a beautiful and poetic anime co-produced by Studio Ghibli. What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? My kids growing up quick and well. The loss of my mother. Life. What is love? Well, probably not that Haddaway song. What would you like to see happen in 2017? I wish that we, as a species, adopted a simpler and more sustainable way of living all over our world.
Olivier can be found over here.
Aina Carafí, Fashion Designer, Artist and Founder at Babe United
Best album of the year? I think I have to say DJ Metatron (aka Traumprinz) 2 the Sky, this album made my body and soul fly several times this year... plus I really like the fact that he keeps this aura of mystery around him (or her?).
Best film of the year? The first film that comes to my mind now is Love, by Gaspar Noé, but I just realized it's from 2015 so I guess time goes by too fast! Truth is, this year I've been way more impressed by TV than films, I feel like I have to mention Black Mirror. I was especially shocked with the episode that criticizes social media and the status we get from it (I believe it is the first one of the third season). But if I have to choose a film from 2016 I would probably say It's Only The End of The World by Xavier Dolan, he always moves something inside of me.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? I don't want to talk about the worst things about 2016, I believe the same stuff will come to all of our minds. So I'm gonna talk about the good stuff. This year I've realized I'm surrounded by incredible people that never cease to amaze me and inspire me every day. I don't want to sound cheesy but I came to terms with the fact that this is all that really matters, the love you give and receive.
What is love? Baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me, no more.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? I might be in a very hippie mode right now since I'm writing this from a small vacation in Ibiza, but I'd like to see a revolution; I'd like to see people breaking the rules; I'd like to see more powerful women, more freedom; I'd like to see artists being paid for their work!
Aina Carafí can be found over here.
Sloane Steel, Writer
Best album of the year? It's a tie between Schmilco by Wilco and JEFFERY by Young Thug.
Best film of the year? The Lobster.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Best: my son, Rex. Worst: my country electing an orange fuck Cheeto as President.
What is love? Giving someone the last bite of a lovely chocolate cake.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? Walls being torn down, not being built.
Sloane Steel can be found over at @ohmyerotica.
Dana Davenport, Performance Artist
Best album of the year? Freetown Sound by Blood Orange.
Best film of the year? Moonlight.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Worst: Donald Trump. Best: still waiting for some good shit to happen.
What is love? Being alone.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? I'd like to see white people take accountability for the atrocities their people have committed and continue to commit.
Dana Davenport can be found over at @dana_dav.
Madeleine Gross, Photographer and Painter
Best album of the year? Kanye's Life of Pablo was definitely my most played album of the year. I also love Anderson Paak's Malibu, Rihanna's ANTI and Radiohead's A Moon Shaped Pool.
Best film of the year? I actually didn't see many films this year but I did watch some great television. My favorite shows of the year are Broad City, The Girlfriend Experience, Silicon Valley and Girls.
What is love? Baby don't hurt me.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? Less hate.
Madeleine Gross can be found over at @madeleinegross.
Martina Paukova, Illustrator
Best album of the year? I liked Cass McCombs' Mangy Love.
Best film of the year? Didn't see that many!
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? The level of the absurd that got established and accepted is just super bad.
What is love? At some point a very selfless and selfish consumption? And then it spills and becomes something more shared.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? I'd like to see more of a wide scale caring and growth of a civic responsible self!
Martina can be found over at @martinapaukova.
Lukasz Wierzbowski, Photographer
Best album of the year? Kaytranada's 99.9%.
Best film of the year? The Lobster, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos.
What is love? The only thing that is truly important.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? Something big that will totally change humanity's view on reality.
Lukasz Wierzbowski can be found over here.
Top Girl Studio, Designer
Best album of the year? Frank Ocean, Blond.
Best film of the year? Girl on a Train.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? The best thing about 2016 would be Netflix bringing back Gilmore Girls, that or Kim Kardashian recording that phone call between Kanye and Taylor. And the worst, 1000% being Donald Trump getting elected president, irl.
What is love? Love is everything that's bad for you.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? Me, winning the lottery.
Top Girl Studio can be found over at @topgirl.studio.
Elizabeth De La Piedra, Photographer and Creative Director
Best album of the year? Lemonade.
Best film of the year? Moonlight.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? The best thing was having my first photo show and the worst thing was Trump getting elected a couple of weeks later.
What is love? It's everything that matters.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? I'd like to see more love.
Elizabeth De La Piedra can be found over at @elizabethsmart.
Charlotte Mei, Artist and Illustrator
Best album of the year? My favourite release is maybe Cheetah by Aphex Twin, but if it has to be an album specifically, I listened to The Life of Pablo like 100 times!
Best film of the year? I really loved The Lobster. There was lots of TV I thought was great - Black Mirror and Westworld. Adam Curtis' stuff is amazing.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? The best thing to happen to me this year is getting a dog, which I've wanted to do for years.
What is love? Reading Lord of The Rings in bed, painting, my mates.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? I'm easy.
Charlotte Mei can be found over at @charlottemei_.
Melanie Metz, Artist and photographer
Best film of the year? Moonlight.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Trump and saplings-worse.
What is love? A chocolate covered spider.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? An app to fix the world.
Melanie Metz can be found over at @melaniemetz.
Lex Gray, Entrepreneur and Artist
Best album of the year? Devendra Banhart's Ape in Pink Marble.
Best film of the year? The Greasy Strangler.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? We saw tremendous changes to social platforms, and personal communications. Great and cool! Yet with more tools to manage ourselves than ever and the increased complexity we accept in order to accomplish that sort of high-level simplicity we then crave is quite stressful!
What is love? Warm and transparent, like tears.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? Political reform from the ground up, my homies.
Lex Gray can be found over at @smallpapa.
Brandon Stanciell, Photographer, Artist
Best album of the year? Best album of the year has to go to A Tribe Called Quest with We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your service.
Best film of the year? Best film of the year was definitely Moonlight.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Best thing about 2016 were the oppurtunities that I have been given. Moved my career forward. Worst thing about 2016 was everything that was going on in the world like the killings of innocent young black men and the election and what not.
What is love? Love is a feeling. It's someting that can be experienced. It could be good/bad. Love is love.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? I'd like to see Trump get indicted, that'd be tight.
Brandon Stanciell can be found over at @themanwholovedflowers.
Tiffani M Williams, Fashion Stylist and Editor
Best album of the year? That's a tough one. I think overall 2016 was a great year for indie artists. I can for sure name my favorite song of the year: ROYAL feat. M1 of dead prez - 'ORIGINAL'.
Best film of the year? Not really a go to the movie type, and typically I go with my son. Based on my curve, I would say Zootopia. The movie has a few simple life lessons that adults could take away.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Best thing about 2016 for me has been the health and happiness of my family. Worst thing as been this circus of politics not just in the US but globally.
What is love? Love is unconditional, love is revolutionary, love is the answer.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? For 2017 I want to see progress!
Tiffani M Williams can be found over at @tiffanistyles.
Best album of the year? Free 6LACK by 6LACK.
Best film of the year? Finding Dory.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Best: starting my career in music, working with a mentor and mgmt in LA. Worst: my parent's divorce I guess.
What is love? Love goes way beyond just relations. Love conquers all... so when I'm familiar I guess I'll then know.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? My first EP release!
KASAI can be found over at @elisekasai.
Chris Lowe, Photographer
Best album of the year? Awaken, My Love! by Childish Gambino, it's everything I could want in an album right now.
Best film of the year? Ok, so I'll answer this by saying The Witch. It's a horror film for those that appreciate feeling uncomfortable, it's extraordinarily creepy and will make you feel uneasy very quickly, it's also very well done... What I wish I could say is Ex Machina. This movie is beautiful and thought-provoking. I've watched it a number of times, and each time I'm able to view it in a different way.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? The worst thing about 2016? All the growth, it has been messy and painful. The best thing about 2016? All the growth, it has been necessary and beautiful.
What is love? I think love can be many things, but to me, love is true acceptance of another being.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? More growth, physically, mentally, emotionally and I'd like to see myself getting paid for my work, just kidding... not really though. #getartistspaid
Chris can be found over at @chrrislowe.
Maggie Dunlap, Artist, Illustrator and occasional Art Director
Best album of the year? Ape in Pink Marble by Devendra Banhart.
Best film of the year? The Witch.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? 2016 has been, in many ways, a real flaming pile of dogshit. Sadly I could go on and on about all the terrible things that occurred this year but I struggle to think of any positives. Season 4 of The Eric Andre Show, maybe?
What is love? When a dog pulls away from their owner to be closer to you.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? The best I can hope for is that we slip out of this twilight zone and into another dimension where Bernie Sanders was the democratic nominee and subsequently the president and people aren't scared of losing their rights and their lives.
Maggie can be found over at @maggiedunlap.
Scarlett Bowman, Visual Artist
Best album of the year? Can't choose one I'm afraid: Colouring Book - Chance the Rapper, The Traveller - Baaba Maal, A Seat At The Table - Solange Knowles.
Best film of the year? Nothing that springs to mind, but Peggy Guggenheim's colourful documentary on her life-long love of art is special.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? Best: other than my wedding earlier this year, I'd say discovering the Jardin Majorelle Foundation in Marrakesh. The colour, the cacti, the birds, the smells, the tranquility = Heaven. Worst: global politics.
What is love? Family.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? A stop to gentrification in London. Enough knocking down artist's studios which are often situated in wonderful historical buildings full of character, only to be demolished to make way for ugly high rise flats!
Scarlett Bowman can be found over at @scarlettbowman.
Hannah Hill, Stoned artist focussing on hand embroidery, body positivity, representation in art and mental health awareness
Best album of the year? I have two albums that come to mind as my favourite of the year, A Seat at the Table by Solange and also Made in the Manor by Kano. Both beautiful and powerful.
Best film of the year? I really loved Inside Out.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? It's been an incredibly eventful year for me so its hard to choose one thing in particular, one of the best things to happen was being commissioned by Tate to create a piece of art to be shown digitally at the opening of the Tate Modern extension. The worst thing was probably Brexit until Trump happened tbh.
What is love? Love is community, support, empathy, strength, family, passion.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? More of the above.
Hannah Hill can be found over at @Hanecdote.
Martin Thulin from Exploded View
Best album of the year? Exek's Biased Advice.
Best film of the year? High-Rise, maybe? Didn't have much time to go to the movies this year, but I'm looking forward to watching Moonlight.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Can't remember what was the best, only vaguely remember the first days of January and suddenly we're here in December - very busy year, but maybe the encounters with new people on our EU/UK tour? There are so many lovely people out there, it gives me hope for humanity. The worst? That the wall between Mexico and USA isn't finished yet, which could potentially protect us from those creationists that habitat vast areas of our neighbouring country. Well, just kidding of course. I'm surprised though that no one even mentions what a wall like that would mean for wildlife that live on both sides of the border, whose survival depend on the migration, we humans are truly self-absorbed. Anyways, any Americans that don't feel safe at home, you are so welcome to visit us, Mexico City is a very progressive and inclusive city. We'll receive you with open arms, I think you need it right now.
What is love? Love is to understand that there are other living things than humans on the planet and we need to downsize every activity we engage in, so animals, plants, fungus and bacteria can lead a life in peace. We aren't very good at this... we need to love more.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? The rise of a true and including anti-fascist movement that actually attracts all kinds of people, not just an intellectual click. If we don't put an end to this tendency of intolerance here and now we'll for sure live in a narrower world within a decade. Roaring '20s turned soaring '30s, remember? We don't even want to think about the '40s.
Martin Thulin can be found over here.
Laura-Lynn Petrick, Analog Photographer, Director, Producer, Filmmaker
Best album of the year? Best album of the year I would say is a tie between Whitney's Light Upon the Lake. It is so delicate, heartfelt and beautiful. I can listen to it any time of day. The album has a lot of feeling and really speaks to me. I love the instrumentation. The band too, are very kind, genuine gentlemen. And my all time favourites, Allah-Las new record Calico Review, it is a deep jam with perfect undertones of nostalgia and sentiment.
Best film of the year? Hmmm, I am not one to usually engage in new films, but I'll say this. I went to see my friend Casey Affleck's new film, Manchester by the Sea. His performance was fantastic.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? The best, the widespread use of essential oils. The worst, Donald Trump.
What is love? Love is something one can't put into words, it is a compassion, understanding, romanticism, an ethereal feeling, but that being said I still am not describing what it truly deeply is. It's indescribable.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? I would like world peace and life on mars.
Laura-Lynn Petrick can be found over at @lauralynnjoy.
Natalie Weiner, Associate Editor at Billboard Magazine (and full-time Seahawks enthusiast)
Best album of the year? I am typically awful at annual rankings, as one of the least-organized music listeners around (my affinity for music made before 1980 doesn't help either). But in an effort to be as honest as possible, I'll resist the temptation to put Beyoncé at no. 1 (though, to my ears, 'Hold Up' is without question the song of the year), and instead go with the album that I actually listened to front to back the most times: Maren Morris's Hero. Morris is hardly reinventing the wheel with this pop-country release -- but before you write her off as a knock-off Sheryl Crow (an influence she's happy to be compared to) give her breezy songs a chance. Every song easily stands alone (she started as a Nashville songwriter), but the pared-down production and Morris's bluesy inflection ties the project together. Lest you worry she's floating above the crowd with hook-driven tracks like 'My Church' and 'Sugar', Maren has the all-too-relatable 'Rich', 'Just Another Thing', and (perhaps most of all) 'I Could Use A Love Song' -- all of which ground the album firmly in the world of twenty-something trials and triumphs. It's a comfort-food kind of record, but one that I've turned to over and over again.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? The best thing has been seeing the kind of community and support that is sometimes found in the face of ignorance and hatred; the worst thing (and unfortunately, far worse than the former is best) is the ignorance and hatred -- which is currently threatening the democratic way of life. Musically, women and The Chainsmokers, respectively.
What is love? Giving everything you have, to yourself and others.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? "Fuck Donald Trump" by YG atop Billboard's Hot 100.
Natalie Weiner can be found over at @natalieweiner.
Winnie Chang, Dancer, Artist and Performer
Best album of the year? In my opinion I believe Rihanna's ANTI album is the album of the year. I can literally listen to it every day, even when I heard it every day on tour! It's timeless!
Best film of the year? I don't know if I can decide on the film of the year... I really loved Kobu and the 2 strings, Secret Life of Pets, Zootopia... Deadpool!
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? The worst thing of 2016 is probably the presidential election and having Donald Trump as president, and the best thing of 2016 is that I was able to live my dream job and go on tour with Rihanna.
What is love? I don't know if love can be explained but I just know that everyone should live through and by love!
What would you like to see happen in 2017? I would like to see a shift in the energy and perspective that people live through. I'd like to see people become more compassionate towards each other, the animals, the earth... everything. I'd like to see people desire to give rather than take. I'd like to see people come together instead of segregating and degrading and fighting each other. I guess I just want people to live through and by love like I said above!
Winnie Chang can be found over at @winni3ta.
Noni Storm, Makeup and Styling Extraordinaire
Best album of the year? Best album of the year would probably be ANTI by Rihanna (such a mainstream choice) but she's one of my favorite artists being an island girl like myself, and she really came out of her comfort zone with this one.
Best film of the year? Definitely Gone Girl, plot twist on 100. If you haven't seen it, you definitely should.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Having to leave behind people who I've learned don't have my best interest at heart. Best part of 2016: meeting new people who've helped me on my journey on figuring out who I am as a person.
What is love? Good question.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? I'd like to see everyone promoting what they love rather than bashing what they hate.
Noni Storm can be found over at @nonistorm.
Chloe-Anna Danquah, Musician
Best album of the year? For me the album which inspired me in too many ways to list was definetly Badbadnotgood's IV.
Best film of the year? I don't really watch movies so I couldn't tell you one that really stood out to me, as I don't even reckon I've been to the cinema this year.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Really delving into myself and realising who I am. It's a blessing and a curse.
What is love? Whatever you make it.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? More progress.
Chloe can be found over at @khloeanna.
Bianca Venerayan, Writer
Best album of the year? Blonde by Frank Ocean, of course!
Best film of the year? Moonlight.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? The worst thing is the social injustice; the best thing is the efforts against it.
What is love? Haven't figured it out.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? Less fear.
Bianca Venerayan can be found over at @biancavenerayan.
Pete Sharp, Artist
Best album of the year? Slim pickings but I think it's probably The Life of Pablo. Let's all pray Yeezy take it easy for a while then continue to go insane next year and make another great album. In a way, he is putting himself on a cross of mental illness to provide the most internet content for us and we should all be thankful for his sacrifice. Perhaps the day he gets out from hospital should be known as Yeaster Sunday?
Best film of the year? Google thinks it might be Deadpool but I saw it and it's pretty bad. I'd like to say Finding Dory but I didn't actually watch it. I actually really liked the Revenant though and it was a promising start to the year. It did end about an hour after it should have but I won't subtract too many points for that.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? My mates who know about politics won't shut up, followed by Brexit and Trump.
What is love? Love is all encompassing.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? A worldwide vote to have a redo of 2016. We just start 2016 again but we all know where we went wrong. There's not a lot we can do about all the celebrity deaths because really amazing people die all the time, it's just their deaths aren't interspersed with hate crime and national fear
Pete Sharp can be found over at @petesharpart.
Angelica Estudillo, Art Director and Passionate Designer
Best album of the year? Lemonade by Beyoncé.
Best film of the year? The Lobster by Yorgos Lanthimos.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Best thing...hmm... My new nephew! Worst, I would say Trump.
What is love? Expect nothing. Appreciate everything.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? What would you like to see happen in 2017? Cancer cure, that would be awesome.
Angelica Estudillo can be found over at @theliveitup.
Nadia Bautista aka Miss Complejo, Artist
Best album of the year? I'm gonna pick an album that has marked me a lot, not only for its music but for what I think it represents. This year I had the chance to meet a lot of people from a different province of my country, Entre Ríos (Argentina), and I can say part of my heart belongs there now. I had the chance to get away from the big city that it is Buenos Aires and be closer to nature, the kindness and brotherhood that distinguish the people. I pick Terser, by a great band Valbé, not only because it allowed me to meet a new and great group of artists, but because it allowed me to meet great people.
Best film of the year? Julieta by Pedro Almodovar.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? The best and the worst, for the first time, I believe it's the same thing and the answer is the learning. This year brought me a lot of pain; it took away some very dear people, but it showed me that through big sadness and challenges I could still grow and make it to where I am today.
What is love? The other one.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? Thinking, finding an answer, being wrong and keep on searching.
Miss Complejo can be found over at @misscomplejo.
DJ Doowap, Live Mix DJ, Sound Engineer and Conceptualist
Best album of the year? Kaytranada - 99.9%. I have been a huge Kaytranada fan for years and enjoy dropping his old skool remixes in my DJ sets. This was a long-awaited album and the quality in production made it a worthwhile wait. He delivered above and beyond! Best EP of 2016 I would say is ABRA's Princess. She's insanely talented balancing cute and sexy at the same time. I am impressed at the fact that she not only creates beautiful vocals but also produces her own beats. Her bedroom producer sound is intriguing.
Best film of the year? I really wasn't impressed with the films that dropped this year... none worth really mentioning. I just dived into series this year and watched Anime as well as Black Mirror. I know you didn't ask but no doubt the best series that dropped this year is Planet Earth II .
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? The worst thing about 2016 is finding out the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is on the verge of extinction. Once something so monumental and magical dies on our planet, then something will die within us.
What is love? Love is opening your heart unconditionally.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? I would love all the incredible artists from around the world to embrace their gift and share their knowledge without limits, fear or ego. That goes for myself as well. We need all the lightworkers to shine brighter than ever.
DJ Doowap can be found over at @djdoowap.
Hanni El Khatib, Musician
Best album of the year? Untitled Unmastered by Kendrick Lamar.
Best film of the year? Hell or High Water.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Best: the realization that being independent and being creative with no compromise is truly the right path. Worst: politics and hate.
What is love? Adopting pets.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? I'd like to see good rock music come back into the mainstream.
Hanni El Khatib can be found over here.
Sophia Wilson, Fashion Photographer (and artist of many sorts)
Best album of the year? Lemonade by Beyoncé.
Best film of the year? Honestly didn't really love any movies that came out this year that I saw.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Best thing: the passion and the art. Worst thing: Donald Trump.
What is love? Seeing true beauty in something/someone.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? Oh man, I'd like to see a lot happen in 2017. Mainly, I'd like to see Donald Trump change his mind about building a wall, the Second Amendment, and abortion laws, I'd like to see world peace, and I'd like to see gender roles completely messed with because I don't think they should constitute people's quality of life.
Sophia Wilson can be found over at @phiawilson.
Elizabeth Ai-Quyen, Model, Content Creator, Photographer and Bad Bunny
Best album of the year? Latina by Thalia.
Best film of the year? Zootopia.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Best thing was being able to travel extensively this year. Worst thing was losing sleep due to traveling so much.
What is love? Baby, don't hurt me. Don't hurt me, no more.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? Expansion of my brands for content creation (Lizzynopants) and parts modelling (HandModelCanada).
Elizabeth Ai-Quyen can be found over at @lizzynopants.
Leigh Dickson, Makeup Artist and Influencer
Best album of the year? Kaleo's A/B.
Best film of the year? Deadpool.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Best part about the last year has been getting to travel a ton for work. The worst part has been missing the people I've left behind at home to do so.
What is love? Extremely necessary.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? Finally moving into my own place!
Leigh Dickson can be found over at @leighdickson.
John Tucker, Artist and Entrepreneur
Best album of the year? Savage Mode by 21 Savage and Metro Boomin.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? My accomplishment was the best in 2016 and the worst is just a lesson learned.
What is love? I am trying to figure that out still. I really dont know what love is but maybe one day I am going to find out.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? I want to get signed by a big agency finally.
John Tucker can be found over at @johntucker990.
Bif Naked, Recording Artist, Author and Activist
Best album of the year? Suicidal Tendencies' World Gone Mad.
Best film of the year? Deepwater Horizon (with Mark Wahlberg).
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? The best thing about 2016 is that I married Snake Allen (my guitar player) and published my first book, I, Bificus on Harper Collins.
What is love? Love is living for the happiness of others, and caring more about them than we do for ourselves.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? I would like to see more people taking an interest in, and trying to lend their voice, to the urgent need of raising the welfare rates. For more info, here's a link: Raise the Rates.
Bif Naked can be found over at @bifnaked.
Alina Zamanova, Artist
Best album of the year? Ukrainian rock band Okean Elzy's Bez Mezh ("Without Limits").
Best film of the year? Not chosen yet. I am about to watch The Lobster and The Handmaiden, let's see.
What's been the best and/or worst thing about 2016? Best thing of the year was my art experience - my participation in life drawing sessions at SHOWstudio with Nick Knight, and the shoot for Garage magazine. Worst thing: the world is going crazy.
What is love? Love is peace, being in the moment and being peaceful in that moment.
What would you like to see happen in 2017? I would love to learn... learn more about the world, travel.
Alina can be found over at @alina_zamanova.