Moving America Forward

The Most Meaningful Literature, Entertainment and Art of 2016

December 23, 2016
by
The Most Meaningful Literature, Entertainment and Art of 2016
An image from writer-director Barry Jenkins's "Moonlight."
From a graphic novel penned by a congressman to a tome on modern tribalism, these are the works that challenged and inspired us this year.

In a late-night victory speech, President-elect Donald Trump called his base “the forgotten men and women of our country,” and he promised they “will be forgotten no longer.” His line embodied the spirit of 2016: This was the year that nationwide events put a spotlight on plights that can no longer be overlooked. Beyond Trump’s core base of white working-class voters, there was an assortment of marginalized communities making headlines, from the gay Latinos targeted at an Orlando nightclub to the black men confronted by police in Baton Rouge and suburban St. Paul; from indigenous peoples protesting a pipeline in the Dakotas to those fleeing climate change in Alaska and Louisiana; and from hijab-wearing victims of hate crimes to unemployed veterans.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom, because where there is strife there is also powerful art to make sense of it. And 2016’s collection of books, movies, TV, plays, music and other works was no different, helping us see these groups, to understand their grievances and develop a response. After polling our staff, here is the art that most moved us at NationSwell in 2016.

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