We have now officially entered the year 2017 and things have already kicked into high gear. We are just barely into the new year and we have already seen a major headline with the defacement of the Hollywood (or for the time being, Hollyweed) sign. At least 2017 is already proving to be a better year than 2016. We all can recall the mentally exhausting year that was 2016. In between all of the celebrity deaths, tragic shootings, the whole Brexit thing, and the former host of The Apprentice becoming the new leader of the United States, it is safe to say that 2017 can only get better from here. After everything we saw in 2016, we can only look optimistically towards what 2017 may hold, but before we can look positively towards the future, we should take a moment to look back to the past. Way back in the past all the way to 2007.
While we may be too far removed from 2007 to remember much from that year, it was a rather eventful time to be alive. 10 years ago in the world of pop culture alone, it was never a dull moment. It was not nearly as chaotic as the year we just wiped our hands clean of, 2016, but it was certainly a time that provided us with a plethora of eye raising, jaw dropping, and head scratching headlines. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and it was the weirdest of times. It is important to look back at the successes, failures, and cringey fashion statements from 10 years ago to remind us just how much 2007 helped shape the modern age we live in now. With that in mind, let us take a trusty Delorean to go back to 10 years into the past and remind you of everything you may have forgot happened in 2007.
15. Kid Rock and Tommy Lee Duke It Out
It is usually never a pretty sight when two of a girl’s exes cross paths in a room. Things got ugly fast when both of Pamela Anderson‘s ex-husbands, Tommy Lee and Kid Rock, met eyes during the MTV Video Music Awards. While Alicia Keys was performing on-stage, the two rock stars came to blows off-camera only to be separated by security. Kid Rock recalled the scuffle as 5 years worth of animosity towards each other coming to a head. According to Rock, way back when he was going through his own divorce from Anderson, Lee started e-mailing him “horrendous” things, to which Rock simply replied that he didn’t want to continue speaking to Lee because he knew that one day, they will see each other and if Rock had his way, they won’t be talking. As far as Lee’s side of the story goes, he was in the front row of the VMAs with friends when Rock approached him. Lee went in for a hug only to be punched on sight by Rock. Security stepped in before Lee could retaliate. Kid Rock was cited for misdemeanor battery because of the incident.
14. Colbert’s Presidential Bid
Just as many of us think there are better candidate choices than President-Elect Donald Trump, many of us thought there were better candidate choices than President George W. Bush. While he was on his way out within the next couple years, a multitude of potential candidates used 2007 to put their bid into the Presidential race for 2008. While most were the typical politicians we all expected to run (Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, etc.), two unlikely candidates who expressed interest in running were comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. While Stewart didn’t take his interest any further than a joke, Colbert stressed that he was serious. He officially announced his candidacy in October (initially wanting to run as both a Democrat and Republican before learning he needed to fill a $35,000 fee to file Republican), but only under his native South Carolina ballot. The following month, Colbert’s Presidential ambitions were shattered when the South Carolina Democratic Party executive council voted 13–3 to refuse Colbert’s application onto the ballot.
13. Richard Gere India Controversy
For most of his career, legendary actor Richard Gere has kept his name out of controversial headlines. Though he has been long associated with a long standing urban legend involving a gerbil up his rectum, Gere has kept his nose clean and out of jail. His squeaky clean image was almost destroyed in an instant in 2007. At least in the eyes of Indian officials who tried to have Gere arrested after an April 15th altercation with Bollywood star Shippa Shetty. During an AIDS awareness rally in India, Gere got caught up in the heat of the moment and found himself locking lips with Shetty. Such a harmless gesture landed Gere in hot water with the press and Indian law enforcement. Since such public displays of affection are considered obscene in the land of India, Gere was issued an arrest warrant for his crime. To avoid the charge and jail time, he fled the country immediately.
12. YouTube in 2007
After being founded just 2 years earlier, YouTube started to get some serious attention in 2007. Much of that attention is the reason why the site remains so popular today. This is the year that even more eyes found themselves laid on the YouTube product thanks to hit videos which received millions of views. This included the Obama Girl political satire, Tay Zonday’s “Chocolate Rain” music video, and a political outcry from a distressed Britney Spears fan demanding that we all “Leave Britney Alone.” Each of these videos accumulated over 5 million views, which was a big deal by 2007’s standards. Especially the “Leave Britney Alone” video which ended 2007 with more than 14 million views, almost more than any other YouTube video at the time. This site’s popularity helped YouTube branch out into bigger endeavors, which included partnering with CNN to host two Presidential debates that year. This prompted more news outlets and mainstream platforms to embrace YouTube as a revolutionary form of media.
11. The Sopranos Finale
For 6 seasons and 86 episodes, The Sopranos reigned supreme atop the television mountain. Despite being on a premium network that was available in so few households—especially during the early 2000s—The Sopranos was a ratings juggernaut that pulled in millions of viewers every week. At one point, the show brought in close to 11 million viewers on average across just one season. Countless critics and fans raved about how the show was quite possibly the greatest, most groundbreaking series in television history. When the final episode of The Sopranos approached on June 10th, 2007, people were excited at the endless possibilities that the show could provide in its ending. Unfortunately, people were sorely disappointed as the show cut to black in its final minutes. Millions around the world called their cable company thinking their power went out, but this was actually a decision made by the creator of The Sopranos to literally end on a dark note. Some viewers have made sense of this ending with a few fan theories, but for the most part, most fans believe the show ended on a whimper opposed to the bang it deserved.
10. Don Imus Under Fire
Don Imus has spent an illustrious career in the radio industry for nearly 50 years now. However, much of his fame and acclaim has come under controversy for comments by Imus that have been shrouded with racist connotations. Such comments date back to a conversation between himself and executive producer, Bernard McGuirk, on the April 4th, 2007 edition of Imus in the Morning. After Imus referred to the Rutgers University NCAA women’s basketball team as “rough girls,” his producer called them “hardcore hos.” Piggybacking off McGuirk’s statement, Imus added that the female players were “nappy headed hos.” While McGuirk also added that watching the women’s basketball teams was like watching the “jigaboos versus wannabes” match-up from Spike Lee’s School Daze, all of the controversy came down on Imus’ head. The controversy led to Imus being suspended and, eventually, fired from CBS Radio. Imus would return to the airwaves later that year in December via ABC Radio.
9. Lindsay Lohan Career Pitfalls
There was a time when Lindsay Lohan was being primed to become one of Hollywood’s most popular and world renowned actresses, if she wasn’t already by 2007. Which made it all the more bittersweet to see the former child star’s career stall because of legal troubles and drug abuse. It can be argued that Lohan’s highly publicized fall from grace began in 2007. In January, she entered a rehab center for 30 days while simultaneously filming her future flop, I Know Who Killed Me. Fast forward to May when Lohan is charged with misdemeanor for drunk driving, which puts her in rehab for a 2nd time, this time for 45 days. In July, just two weeks after checking out of rehab, Lohan was arrested again. This time for drunk driving, cocaine possession, and driving with a suspended license. In August, she began serving her third rehab stint. That same month, she is found guilty for her charges and is given 1 day in jail, 10 days of community service, 3 years probation, a fine to pay, and an alcohol education program to enter. In November, she is sent to the LA County Jail to serve her 24 hour sentence, but is released after 84 minutes due to overcrowding.
8. Rihanna’s Big Break
Rihanna is considered today as one of the best musical artists working today and easily one of the most successful pop stars on the music scene today. It almost seems like her superstardom came out of nowhere in 2007. On the cusp of her upcoming third album, Good Girl Gone Bad, her career seemed to be at a stand-still. She made a decent career for herself in the last few years with a couple hit singles, but there was no indicator in her music that she was on the verge of becoming a big star. Then, suddenly “Umbrella” was released. The hit single featuring a rap feature from Jay-Z and a catchy tune, “Umbrella” helped make Rihanna an instant superstar. Shortly after the song’s release, she earned several nominations, awards, and other accolades for the critically praised song and album. “Umbrella” earned Rihanna her first Grammy win. Since then, she has been able to successfully follow up that hit with several other hit records.
7. Keeping Up with the Kardashians Premieres
Boy, time flies, doesn’t it? America has been obsessed with the Kardashian clan for 10 years now. In February, Kim Kardashian became an instant superstar when her sex tape with Ray J was leaked by Vivid Entertainment. Noticing the overwhelming exposure that the tape provided for the starlet, the E! Network came knocking on Kim K’s door with the proposition of developing a reality television show about her life. She accepted and brought her family along for the ride. It’s hard to believe that this nutty bunch has been on the airwaves for 10 years, but Keeping Up with the Kardashians premiered on October 14th. During its first month on the air, it became the highest rated Sunday night show for adults 18–34, earning 1.3 million total viewers. Since then, ratings have only doubled. It’s quite strange looking back on the first season at a time when we saw the Kardashians merely as a harmless and wacky cast of characters for a show that surely had a short shelf life. No one could have predicted where the Kardashian empire would be 10 years later.
6. Britney Spears Meltdown
This is one of those moments so edged in infamy that it’s hard to forget about it, but it’s always worth talking about. Britney Spears had a bittersweet fall from grace in 2007. Her year started off with her aunt dying of ovarian cancer in January and the following month, she shaved her head and admitted herself into a rehabilitation facility. She also attacked some paparazzi with an umbrella. During all of this, she was going through a nasty divorce from ex-husband, Kevin Federline, which was finalized in July. That same month, she was reported to have stormed out of an OK! Magazine photo shoot after damaging designer clothes provided for her. More infamously, a couple months later in September, Spears appeared inebriated and out of shape as she poorly attempted to lip sync and dance on stage at the MTV Video Music Awards. Then, after being charged with misdemeanor for a hit and run and driving without a valid license, she was forced to surrender custody of her children to her ex, Federline. This was just an awful year for the former superstar and her 2008 wasn’t much better. Thankfully, within a couple years, she was able to clean up her act and steer towards a new life of sobriety.
5. Mad Men Premieres
Mad Men was one of the few shows that made us look forward to seeing someone’s life during a day at the office after we have already gotten sick of working at the office. For some reason, after a long day at work, we found some appeal in a show that depicted a long day at the office for a group of hard drinking, chain smoking individuals. Perhaps it was because Don Draper (played marvelously by Jon Hamm) and his team were more than a bunch of hard drinking chain smokers and Mad Men was more than just a peek at an advertising agency. It is about a cast of complex, fascinating (albeit infuriating) individuals trying to grab the unattainable American dream. This was a gripping drama that depicted America at an interesting time period. This is why Mad Men built such a devoted fanbase when it first premiered on July 19th, 2007, and why they all remained glued to their seats until the show ended in 2015.
4. The Final Harry Potter Book Released
Though J.K. Rowling did end up writing another book—Harry Potter and the Cursed Child—recently, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was promoted as the final entry in the series at the time of its original release. On January 11th, Rowling finished writing the book in her Balmoral Hotel room in Edinburgh. After months of revisions and promotions, the book finally hit the shelves on July 21st to massive fanfare. Not only were there long lines of people waiting to get their copy, some people went as far as to sleep in the streets waiting days just to be one of the first people to own the book. It turned out to be worth the wait as the majority of fans were satisfied with the closing to the series. The book was a big critical and financial success and within 24 hours, 11 million copies were sold worldwide.
3. Emma Watson Almost Quit Harry Potter
The Harry Potter movie franchise managed to make huge stars out of its trio of young leads. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson all have the Harry Potter films to thank for their major Hollywood success. However, there was a point in 2007 where it looked like they were all going to turn their backs on the franchise that made them famous. When it came time to sign new contracts for the final two film adaptations, there was some hesitance on behalf of all three stars, which is understandable. Dedicating their first few years to Harry Potter had to be demanding enough. Continuing to play these characters on the cusp of adulthood while each star has their own ambitions they’d rather pursue. While Grint and Radcliffe did sign their contracts in early March, Watson was admittedly the most hesitant. Understanding the commitment asked for her to dedicate another 4 years to filming, Watson had doubts that she had another run like that in her. Eventually, upon realizing she could never let Hermione go, she signed her contract on March 23rd.
2. Television Writers Strike
Nowadays, the digital age of the internet played a strong part in breathing new life into the way we view television and, overall, it has provided a better quality of television shows on an array of digital platforms. However, 10 years ago, the future of digital television viewing seemed a lot more uncertain to those who wrote for the television industry. After uncertainty and failed negotiations surrounded whether or not the Writers Guild of America would get properly compensated for a tv show episode’s online downloads and DVD sales, the writers labor union started their strike on November 5th. This picketed strike included participation on behalf of several big name film and television stars, which halted the production on all major television programs. There was a strong chance that this strike put the 2008 fall lineup in jeopardy, but a compromise was eventually made and the strike ended on February 12th, 2008.
1. Introduction of the iPhone
On January 9th, Steve Jobs announced and unveiled the iPhone for the very first time to the public and on June 29th, everyone could buy one. On the date of release, it was evident that everyone and their mother wanted one as lines for the new device stretched out for miles. When first developing the iPhone in 2004, Jobs halted Apple’s tablet production to focus on the iPhone, which then was under the confidential codename of “Project Purple.” When the project was finally completed and unveiled in 2007, it arrived to mixed reaction. Those wowed at its revolutionary presentation made people dub it the “Jesus phone” while detractors like those at Bloomberg L.P. predicted the iPhone would only appeal to a niche audience of “gadget freaks” and no one else. The reality of the matter is that the iPhone’s massive success helped Apple become one of the world’s biggest companies and helped revolutionize the way we communicate.
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