10 happy-cry moments from pop culture in 2016

It might be hard to remember, but there were some good things in 2016.

In a year that will go down in the history books for the deaths of celebrities, political unrest and upheaval and what seemed like an endless onslaught of tragedies, there were some moments that brought us genuine joy. From a passionate acceptance speech to inspiring moments on movies and TV to a young girl's smile, we rounded up 10 moments from this year that made us cry, but in a good way. Here's hoping for more of these in 2017.

10. Chance the Rapper's reaction to seeing Beyoncé at the VMAs

This GIF says it all. We all aspire to this level of pure happiness.

9. The end of Arrival

Depending on your point of view, Arrival can mean a lot of different things. The film's big twist (one of the best cinematic turn-arounds since The Sixth Sense) makes you think about everything you've seen (and will see) in a different light. Amy Adams' protagonist makes choices about her life that you may or may not agree with. But, if you choose to see it as a positive ending rather than a tragedy (and we certainly do), there's so much hopefulness in the movie about understanding one another, finding peace and embracing the love you have in your life. There are also aliens.

8. John Legend's Love Me Now video

If it didn't come from an artist like John Legend, the video for Love Me Now might seem exploitative, using images of his wife Chrissy Teigen with their daughter, Luna, interspersed with shots from Camp Domiz, a Syrian refugee camp in Northern Iraq; Orlando, Fla., the site of the horrific Pulse nightclub attack; Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; and Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. But the resulting video celebrates love, life, and family.

7. Jennifer Hudson sings I Know Where I've Been on Hairspray Live! 

Hairspray Live! just made it into 2016, and we're so incredibly thankful for it. While the show — which is the best live TV musical in the recent resurgence of the genre — is full of inspiring moments, our favorite is Hudson's jaw-dropping rendition of this number, made all the more resonant by current events.

6. When Jay Z shows up in Lemonade

Lemonade is one of the best things that came out of this year, but we won't deny that we were a little nervous about what was going on with Bey and Jay while we were watching it the first time. So when Mr. Knowles finally shows up during All Night it is quite a relief to see him frolicking with Blue Ivy.

5. Sookie's return in Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

Melissa McCarthy's life has changed quite a bit since the original run of Gilmore Girls, where she played lovable chef Sookie St. James. Accordingly, when the original cast of the show began to reunite for Netflix's revival, it was unclear whether or not McCarthy would be able to join. She made it in and, though she appears in only one scene, seeing the character reunite with her best friend Lorelai (Lauren Graham) instantly provokes waterworks.

4. The Simones rule the Olympics

Biles and Manuel forever. The Olympics ruled our television screens for most of August and we couldn't have been happier to follow these two women to glory. Simone Biles took medal after medal in gymnastics while Simone Manuel became the first African-American woman to win an individual Olympic gold in swimming. When Biles made her tumbling passes and when Manuel cried on-camera, we were sobbing right along with them.

3. This picture of a young girl meeting Kristen Wiig

 

 

Representation matters.

2. "San Junipero"

It's hard to talk about the fourth episode of the new season of Black Mirror without spoiling it, but suffice to say the show is not usually associated with positivity. But this episode, which starred Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Mackenzie Davis, tells a story where technology helps facilitate love, happiness, and connection, instead of alienating us from each other.

1. "Love is love is love is love is love..." 

The Tony Awards were a night of both celebration and tragedy. The theater community came together to honor its best and brightest less than 24 hours after the horrific mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. Broadway has a long history with the LGBT community, and the ceremony had a somber, almost urgent message of love and inclusion in light of the events. This was most evident in Lin-Manuel Miranda's acceptance speech for best original score. The Hamilton creator was supposed to take a victory lap for his smash hit musical on that night, and instead delivered a sonnet about the importance of love and music. Miranda and everyone in the audience could barely keep it together.

 


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