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Taylor Swift receives honorary doctorate from New York University

American Diaries: Hearings of Capitol Hill riot, opening of Museum of Broadway, celebration of June as Pride Month and more

Suhashini Sarkar Published 18.06.22, 03:28 AM
Taylor Swift: Accomplished singer

Taylor Swift: Accomplished singer

Great accomplishment

  • The American singer, Taylor Swift, was awarded an honorary doctorate in fine arts by New York University. She was also the commencement speaker for NYU’s 2022 graduation ceremony, which was held at the Yankee Stadium. If you heard a loud roar erupt that morning in the neighbourhood, it was probably because Swift had said, “Hi. I’m Taylor.” Swift delivered a speech for around 20 minutes. She began by saying, “Let me just say: welcome to New York, it’s been waiting for you.” Her closing words were, “So let’s just keep dancing like we’re… the class of ’22,” a reference to one of her most popular songs. Thousands of people attended the event, including the classes of 2020 and 2021 — their in-person graduation ceremony was cancelled because of the pandemic. NYU called the occasion “an unprecedented ‘doubleheader’ event”. The disability rights advocate, Judith Heumann, who received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, addressed the classes of 2020 and 2021 in a separate ceremony. During a rapid-fire question for a 2016 interview with Vogue, Swift had said that her frequent-collaborator, Ed Sheeran, was awarded an honorary degree by the University Campus Suffolk in England, but, regrettably, she was yet to receive anything similar. Earlier this year NYU launched a new course on the pop star, which will be taught by the Rolling Stone’s writer, Brittany Spanos.

Dark moment

  • A special House Select Committee has been investigating the riots that took place at the Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021. The Committee shared its findings last week. The hearings have been televised in a serialised format and are sensational. The New York Times called it a ‘true crime drama on primetime TV’. All major networks have broadcast the hearing except for the conservative network, Fox News. Instead, it had Tucker Carlson, its usual opinion host, anchor his show with no commercials during that time. However, Fox did host the second ‘episode’ of the hearing the following Monday. About 20 million people tuned in live to watch the hearings while roughly 15 million people viewed the Olympics in 2021. It is definitely a significant audience for a Congressional hearing. The Capitol Hill riots left five people dead and injured about 140 police officers. The former president of the United States of America, Donald Trump, was found to be at the centre of it all. He is believed to have instigated and supported the insurrection.

Rich history

  • A much-anticipated Museum of Broadway is opening in Manhattan in November this year. According to the website, the museum would be experiential and immersive. The Broadway scene in New York developed significantly in the early 20th century. Two of the oldest-standing theatres are the New Amsterdam and the Lyceum. The museum promises to exhibit the history of Broadway, major musicals that were ‘game changers’ and also what goes on behind the curtains. The space will feature both traditional exhibits and immersive experiences based on productions like Rent, The Wiz, The Ziegfeld Follies, Oklahoma!, and others. “Guests will travel through a visual history of Broadway, highlighting groundbreaking moments in a series of exhibits that showcase — and show off — dazzling costumes, props, renderings, rare photos, videos and more,” states the press release. Ticket sales will go live on June 21 and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS.

Out and proud

  • June is celebrated as Pride Month. The Stonewall Uprising — a watershed moment in queer history in America — took place on June 28, 1969 in New York City. President Bill Clinton declared June to be Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. Under President Barack Obama, it became known as LGBT Pride Month and, now, it is referred to as LGBTQI+ Pride Month. NYC hosts one of the largest pride celebrations in the world. This year it includes PrideFest, the annual street fair; Youth Pride for kids and teens; or dancing at Pride Island, the yearly two-day music festival. Philadelphia is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the city’s first Gay Pride Day. Washington, DC is home to some of the oldest active queer civil rights groups in the country. In the pride parade in West Hollywood, celebrities, such as Janelle Monáe, Cardi B, Vanessa Hudgens and others, made an appearance. Last year, the NYC Pride and the Denver Pride publicly banned corrections and law enforcement exhibitors from participating in their uniforms owing to the history of law enforcement using excessive force on the community. But this year, the Denver Pride has allowed police officers to participate.


  • A Willy Wonka moment happened last week when two workers fell into a tank of chocolate at the M&M factory in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. According to a local news outlet, the workers were rescued and taken to the nearby hospital but their condition is still unknown. The rescuers cut a hole in the tank that was partially filled with chocolate — reports indicate it may have been about waist-high. Being submerged in chocolate may be a fantasy for many people, but after this incident one should be careful what they wish for.
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