While 2020 was undeniably a difficult year for many it also included a few bright moments.
Jennifer Lopez headlined the Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show with Shakira, Bad Bunny dropped three albums in one year and Megan Thee Stallion spoke into existence a collaboration with Beyoncé.
Meanwhile, Selena Gomez used quarantine to release new music and a makeup line and become a TV chef. Tyler Perry reminded us of the importance of paying it forward and DJ D-Nice brought us a celeb-filled at-home virtual club. Also bringing joy into our homes was the cast of Schitt’s Creek, reminding us to stay true to ourselves and appreciate our loved ones.
Here’s a look at a few celebrities who have a lot to be proud of this year.
Selena Gomez’s 2020 included an album, a TV show and a beauty line! The singer began the year by dropping her latest album, Rare, which was quickly loved by fans.
Following its release, Gomez told ET that she “wanted to make something that was transparent yet really classy and very real to me.”
In February, Gomez announced that she was launching Rare Beauty to promote the idea that “being rare is about being comfortable in yourself.” The line launched in October.
“I’ve stopped trying to be perfect. I just want to be me,” she said. “I think Rare Beauty can be more than a beauty brand. I want us all to stop comparing ourselves to each other and just start embracing our own uniqueness. You’re not defined by a photo, a like, or a comment. Rare Beauty isn’t about how other people see you; it’s about how you see yourself.”
Gomez’s beauty brand didn’t slow down her music career, as the singer continued to release new music and accompanying videos throughout the year. Gomez also landed an HBO Max quarantine cooking show, Selena + Chef. It has since been renewed for a second season. Acting jobs continued to roll in for Gomez as well; she booked a role on a Hulu comedy series and another playing a gay, female mountaineer. On top of all of that, Gomez spoke out about politics and produced a rom-com.
“What really defines success is seeing how people connect to a song or a movie or a TV show. It might have a positive impact on someone’s life,” Gomez said during the Latin Recording Academy’s 2020 Leading Ladies of Entertainment in November. “Everyone has this right to be seen and visibility and representation are vital to the process of articulating our identities.”
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Billie Eilish began her banner year by landing the title track for the latest James Bond film, No Time to Die, which she debuted in February.
Eilish next made her GRAMMYs red carpet debut and wowed with an impressive performance during the show. She went on to win in five of the six awards she was up for, including a sweep of the top four categories. In an interview with ET after the ceremony, Eilish called her epic night “surreal,” adding that it was “like a dream.”
The “Bad Guy” singer also attended her first Academy Awards, where she performed the “In Memoriam” segment.
Throughout the year, Eilish made headlines for speaking out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. In separate posts, Eilish demanded justice for Rayshard Brooks, a Black man who was killed by police, and slammed the All Lives Matter movement, urging white people to “Stop making everything about you. You are not in need. You are not in danger.”
She went on to perform her song, “My Future,” at the Democratic National Convention. During that appearance, Eilish gave an impassioned speech about the need for leaders who will “solve problems” and “fight against systemic racism.” She also encouraged young people to vote, something she was able to do for the first time in 2020.
Eilish closed out the year with a performance at the American Music Awards, at which she was nominated twice, as well as earning four 2021 GRAMMY nominations.
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Club Quarantine was the hottest ticket in town this year, and it’s all thanks to DJ D-Nice. The 50-year-old DJ, producer and rapper, whose real name is Derrick Jones, rose to fame in the ‘80s, but found a brand new audience amid quarantine thanks to his often celeb-filled, at-home club on Instagram Live.
“The self-isolation thing is driving me nuts. I’m like, ‘I need to play music and I need to feel some energy.’ So I decided to go into my IG live and play music,” D-Nice told ET in March. “All of the sudden my friends came in. It was only 200 of us, and then the next day it was 2,000, and then the day after, it was, like, 15,000.”
As the viewers grew, the number of celeb drop-ins did as well, with everyone from musicians to actors to politicians stopping by.
“All of the sudden J.Lo was in there and Drake popped in… You had Michelle Obama, you had Oprah [Winfrey], you had Gayle [King], you had Joe Biden, Bernie [Sanders], Janet Jackson, Patti LaBelle, Justin Timberlake, Lionel Richie, Bradley Cooper,” he said. “It was insane.”
The club got so big, in fact, that D-Nice was tapped to DJ the 2020 Emmy Awards.
“I’m on cloud nine right now,” he told ET after the show. “… I was just happy DJing in the very beginning and now all of these incredible opportunities have come from Club Quarantine…To actually participate and take part in bringing music out and allowing music to uplift spirits, out of all the things I’ve experienced recently in terms of career within the last six months, this one right here, it means a lot.”
In addition to his performance, D-Nice received some award show love, walking away with the DJ of the Year honor at the 2020 BET Hip Hop Awards.
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Gwen Stefani’s year to remember kicked off when she released a music video with her now-fiancé, Blake Shelton, for their duet, “Nobody But You.” They went on to perform the track at the 2020 GRAMMY Awards. The song later hit No. 1 on the country charts, Stefani’s first such achievement on country radio.
Once quarantine due to COVID-19 began, Stefani and Shelton rode it out together at his Oklahoma ranch. Spending quarantine together, a source told ET at the time, made Stefani and Shelton’s relationship “stronger than ever.”
In June, NBC announced that Stefani would return for The Voice’s 19th season, after last serving as a coach on the competition series in season 17. After the news broke, a source told ET that Stefani was “over the moon” to be back on the show.
Stefani’s epic year continued when she and Shelton released another romantic duet, this one called “Happy Anywhere,” and an accompanying music video. They performed the track at the 2020 ACM Awards.
Stefani’s life only got more exciting from there, with her and Shelton buying a California home together in September and going on to win a CMT award and get engaged in October.
“They have lived like a married couple for so long that those closest to them already saw them as ‘married’ but now they are finally making it official and their family is excited by the announcement,” a source told ET after Shelton popped the question with a stunning ring. “Gwen has always spoken about a big traditional wedding with family and friends but they plan to wait and see how the pandemic pans out. And in the meantime, enjoy their engagement.”
The final month of the year was another high point for Stefani, whose artist on The Voice, Carter Rubin, won the show. It marked Stefani’s first win on the show.
“I think my win was due to Gwen’s coaching,” Rubin told ET after his victory. “She’s phenomenal.”
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Jennifer Lopez’s year began with awards shows galore, as the singer and actress was frequently nominated for her role in the 2019 flick Hustlers.
Even with all of her acting acclaim, Lopez’s focus on music didn’t slow down. Just the opposite, in fact, as Lopez, along with Shakira, gave an epic performance during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show. Lopez’s 12-year-old daughter, Emme, even joined her onstage during the performance, which, the singer later told ET, made the mother-daughter duo “so happy.”
While Lopez and her fiancé,Alex Rodriguez, had to push their planned summer wedding due to COVID-19, the couple made the best of the situation, with the couple posting funny family videos on TikTok.
Despite the wedding delay, Lopez didn’t stop thinking about the big day, telling ET in May that her and Rodriguez’s first dance as husband and wife will “be a big production of some sort.”
Even with quarantine, Lopez didn’t take a career break, rather, she released two songs with Maluma, starred in a luxury brand campaign, landed a new movie role, was honored as WSJ’s Pop Culture Innovator and with the People’s Icon Award, and looked ahead to the 2021 launch of her skincare line, JLo Beauty.
“[The brand is based on] the idea of beauty having no expiration date,” Lopez told ET in December. “You get to a certain age and then people are already kind of like, ‘Boop boop, you next, bye bye.’ And you’re like, ‘Hold on, I’m still here.’”
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Megan Thee Stallion
Megan Thee Stallion’s breakout year was one for the books, which kicked off with the March release of “Savage,” which became a massive success.
“It just really blows your mind every day. When I write music or when I am rapping, I am not really thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s gonna go crazy.’ I am just making it because I like it and I know my hotties are going to like it,” Megan told ET in May of the song’s success. “For it to blow up the way it did, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is crazy.’”
One month after releasing the track, the rapper delighted fans by dropping a remix of the track, which featured Beyoncé.
“For me to have the Beyoncé remix, I was like, ‘What’s happening?’” she told ET. “… I had been speaking it into existence, like, ‘I wanna do a song with Beyoncé, I want a song with Beyoncé.’”
Megan continued her rise by performing her track, “Girls in the Hood,” at the 2020 BET Awards. In addition to the performance, the rapper won two awards during the virtual ceremony.
Megan’s year took a turn when she was allegedly shot in the foot, but she used the experience to speak out about the necessity for Black female empowerment. That was never more true than with her debut performance on Saturday Night Live.
In the midst of the drama surrounding the alleged shooting, Megan teamed up with Cardi B for “WAP,” a song that went on to make history.
In addition to her music success, which included the release of her album, Good News, Megan launched a Fashion Nova line.
“I just realized how big of a lack of representation there is for curvier girls, or taller girls, or girls with bigger feet,” Megan told ET of her reason for launching the line. “Everybody is not just a cookie-cutter size, so I just want to make sure that starting with this collab, we have better representation with just women in general.”
As if her year wasn’t big enough, Megan went on to win three awards at the BET Hip Hop Awards, win one award at the AMAs, and score four GRAMMY nominations.
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Schitt’s Creek Cast
The sixth and final season of Schitt’s Creek premiered on Jan. 7, when no one could’ve imagined the acclaim it’d go on to have.
Following its emotional finale, Dan Levy, who co-created and starred in the show with his dad, Eugene, released a statement expressing his gratitude to the fans that tuned in.
The cast — which also includes Annie Murphy, Catherine O’Hara and Emily Hampshire — didn’t end their success when their show said goodbye. Rather, celebs continued to gush over them and the show, which went on to earn a total of 15 Emmy nominations.
“The man is not going to be able to fit his head through the doorway after all this,” Murphy joked to ET about Dan. “I mean, he has worked so, so hard on this show, and it certainly would not be anywhere close to what it is without him, so he deserves every single nomination and hopefully award that’s coming at him.”
The show ended up winning nine Emmy awards, which included a sweep of the comedy categories. While the cast was sad to say goodbye to Schitt’s Creek, none of them are ruling out a reunion in the future.
“I do believe that we’re all going to work together again at some point. I can’t see us not doing something,” Hampshire told ET. “Also, we all really like each other a lot. Dan didn’t end this because he didn’t like doing it, he ended it because he has so much respect for the characters, and the story, and the audience and he knew it was the right thing to do.”
“If it was up to me, I would do 25 more seasons. I have been bribing Dan on a daily basis to write another season / do a movie / something. But if that doesn’t come to pass, we were so, so, so lucky to be able to go out on a high note,” Murphy told ET. “So, even though it’s a bittersweet goodbye, we were so lucky that it ended the way it did.”
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Bad Bunny had an insanely productive 2020, dropping three successful albums over the course of the year. Before the new music came out, though, Bad Bunny made headlines for joining Jennifer Lopez and Shakira’s Super Bowl halftime show along with J Balvin.
The singer earned four iHeartRadio Awards nominations, and went on to win the trophy for Latin Album of the Year at the ceremony. He continued his hot streak by scoring 14 nominations at the 2020 Billboard Latin Music Awards, of which he won seven.
He was also nominated for four Billboard Music Awards. At the ceremony, during which he gave a powerful performance, he took home two trophies. Later in the year, Bad Bunny won one of the nine Latin GRAMMY Awards he was nominated for, after delivering two unforgettable performances.
Bad Bunny’s first album of the year, YHLQMDLG, came in February and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. In an interview with ET in March, the singer said the inspiration for the album was “good vibes, happiness, nothing complicated or anything serious.”
Bad Bunny continued to make headlines when he released the music video for “Yo Perreo Sola,” which featured him dressed in drag. The move, one of many in support of the LGBTQ community, was praised by J Balvin.
His second album of the year, Las Que No Iban a Salir, followed, peaking at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 after its surprise release in May.
Shortly after that, Bad Bunny revealed that he’ll make his acting debut in a Netflix drama, which was later revealed to be Narcos: Mexico. He was next cast in his first film, American Sole, before closing out the year by landing a role alongside Brad Pitt in Bullet Train.
Bad Bunny’s last album of 2020 was also his most successful. El Último Tour del Mundo hit No. 1 on the Billboard chart, making it the first all-Spanish language album to do so. In an interview with ET, Bad Bunny described his latest album as “dark,” but admitted that working on it was a “relief” amid quarantine.
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Tyler Perry’s 2020 included both charitable work and personal successes. The producer donated both gift cards and food throughout the year, just two examples of the work that earned him the Governors Award at the 2020 Emmys. The award honors an individual or organization whose achievement goes beyond the scope of annual Emmy Awards recognition.
“For the Governors to even consider me for it and to know that they were watching and paying attention, that was really, really powerful. I was blown away by it,” Perry told ET in August. “When they said I’m getting that award and it’s about philanthropy and it’s about the contributions to television, I think about all the people who work for me.”
Perry was able to shoot full seasons of BET’s Sistas and The Oval in just two weeks amid the COVID-19 by turning his Atlanta studio into Camp Quarantine.
“As I’m directing, I’m editing. So I know I have it, I know if I have the shots,” he told ET of working amid the pandemic. “I got an amazing team, the actors are ready to go. They’ve had their scripts for months. They don’t miss a line. It’s pretty amazing.”
His continued work demonstrated a commitment to his projects that’s unsurprising, as Perry was named a billionaire by Forbes in September. Additional recognitions for the newly minted billionaire included winning the People’s Champion Award, as well as being honored as WSJ’s 2020 Entertainment Innovator.
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Watch the video below to see some of the best pop culture moments of 2020.
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