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Brangelina, Becky and the buzziest pop culture moments of 2016

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🐝🍋🐝🍋 Sour twist of 'Lemonade'🐝🍋🐝🍋

Queen Bey named her sixth solo studio album “Lemonade,” but a more appropriate beverage-themed title for the project would have been “Hot Tea,” because she spilled so much of it. The tracks told a story of infidelity and redemption that many people assumed were reflective of Bey’s experiences with her husband, Jay Z. To say the Beyhive takes breaking Beyonce’s heart personally would be an understatement. The socia -media manhunt for “Becky with the good hair” – the moniker for Jay’s unconfirmed mistress – forced more than one celebrity to defend themselves from the bee emojis. Rita Ora insisted that she would never disrespect Beyonce in such a way on “The Breakfast Club” radio show. And Food Network star Rachael Ray was accidentally caught in the crossfire for having a name too similar to fashion designer Rachel Roy, who had been long suspected of having an affair with Jay. The investigation is still ongoing.

Kim Kardashian’s robbery

The events of Oct. 2, 2016 are going to go down in history as one of the most significant incidents in pop culture. Kim Kardashian was in her hotel room during Paris Fashion Week when several men armed with guns entered her private suite, tied her up and stole nearly $10 million in jewelry. The robbery rattled the entire Kardashian family, causing them to double down on security and for Kim to take a break from social media. For a short time, the future of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” was left to hang in the balance as Kim required some much-needed privacy and time off after the incident. While production for “KUWTK” is back on, at the time of this writing, Kim still hasn’t updated her Instagram page. These are strange times.

Brangelina’s divorce

Celebrities get married and get divorced all the time. No big deal. But those celebrities aren’t always Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, the A-list power couple that seemed indestructible with their private, charitable lives and mysteriously good looks. But alas, after nearly a decade as domestic partners, they couldn’t make marriage work for a full two years. And to top it off, the ongoing divorce is messy. Angelina accused Brad of child abuse, he was forced to submit to drug testing, they’ve had to undergo family therapy and now they’re ironing out the details of nasty custody war.

The Mannequin challenge

Mimes around the world and Rae Sremmurd finally got the props they deserved when the #mannequinchallenge froze the internet. Everyone from Hillary Clinton on her campaign planeto Destiny’s Child on a fake beach to pregnant Blac Chyna in the delivery room was striking a pose and holding it to the tune of Rae Sremmurd’s No. 1 hit “Black Beatles.” Even Metro got in on the action.

Blac Chyna & Rob Kardashian drama

In the best relationship plot twist since Brangelina hooked up, Blac Chyna became a phoenix rising from the ashes in January when she hooked up with Kylie Jenner’s older brother. (If you don’t get the connection, Kylie’s boyfriend, Tyga, is Chyna’s ex. They were still engaged when he started his illicit relationship with then-underage Kylie.) But Chyna had the last laugh when she, too, claimed a seat at the Kardashian table. Rob and Chyna welcomed a baby girl, Dream Kardashian, in November. Even though their fresh relationship is filled with more drama than every season of “KUWTK” combined – they’re trying to find a resolution after a huge fight turned physical and then spilled onto social media – we’re glad Rob and Chyna were around to take some of the edge off of 2016.

The ups and downs of Kanye West

Yeezy had a rough year. During his Yeezy Season 4 fashion show in September, his models fainted in the heat and stumbled on their shoes. His wife was robbed at gunpoint a month later. He ended up on Trump’s side in the presidential election, even though he didn’t vote. And then he suffered a breakdown that caused him to publicly trash talk pals, Beyonce and Jay Z, and later be hospitalized. The tour was subsequently canceled. But West’s misfortune has sparked another needed conversation about mental health in pop culture.

Celebs and mental health

In addition to Kanye, 2016 was the year that many stars began to open up about their struggles with their personal demons. In his November-released autobiography, Zayn Malik wrote of his eating disorder during his One Direction days, and admitted he still deals with anxiety attacks. Earlier this month, Lady Gaga revealed that she has PTSD from a rape that happened when she was 19. Meanwhile, Selena Gomez and Kid Cudi both took intentional time and checked into treatment centers for depression and anxiety.

Michael Strahan’s Strexit

In April, Michael Strahan announced he would be leaving “Live with Kelly and Michael” to join the team at “Good Morning America.” Turns out co-host Kelly Ripa found out at the same time we did — and she didn’t take it well. Ripa didn’t show up to work for a week following the news. And when she returned the following Tuesday, it was pretty awkward. Strahan has since transitioned to his new TV home, and Kelly still doesn’t have a new co-host. You don’t need him, girl!

Election coverage on 'SNL'

In the midst of one of the most divisive and controversial presidential racess in American history, one show dared to go above and beyond with its election coverage: “Saturday Night Live.” Dave Chapelle’s monologue in the first episode following the election was a powerful and hilarious commentary on the state of the country. Alec Baldwin will undoubtedly go down in history as the best Trump impersonator ever.

Lochtegate

U.S. Olympians have one job: Win or lose, make us proud. Ryan Lochte either missed the memo or didn’t care. Reports emerged following the 2016 Olympics Rio claiming that several members of the U.S. swim team were robbed at gunpoint by thieves impersonating police officers. It turns out, the swimmers were peeing outside a gas station and Lochte vandalized some property. They tried to pay off the security guards who approached them, and fabricated a story about the robbery. But then he joined “Dancing With the Stars,” and America loved him once more. C'est la vie, we guess.

Celebrity deaths

This was also a year of loss. The deaths of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, and artists David Bowie and Prince shook the world. Hip-hop heads mourned the early loss of Tribe Called Quest's Phife Dawg and D4L member Shawty Lo. Alan Thicke and pro-wrestler Chyna were also among the lost. These deaths were really the salt in the bizarre wound that is 2016. Jan. 1 can’t come soon enough. Here’s to a normal 2017.

 
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