Celebrating Diverse Voices in 2023

As 2023 comes to a close, we here at Big Oak Tree Media have been reflecting on everything that has unfolded this year, and want to express our gratitude to all the wonderful people who share our affinity for the advancement of diverse communities. It’s been a year filled with milestones, breakthroughs, and moments that truly highlight the power of unity in diversity. We can’t help but feel a surge of excitement and amazement at the sheer magnitude of what has transpired. Minority groups have been taking the world by storm, accomplishing more than we can ever mention in just one sitting. However, we did want to shed some light on some incredible achievements diverse communities have accomplished this year, and highlight the progress our society has made in terms of amplifying oppressed voices.

This year started off strong with the return of the broadcasting of the annual Golden Globes awards back in January. In support of the boycotts of the HFPA, the 2022 Golden Globes were not televised as penance for their historical lack of POC on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. However, they came back in 2023 to prove to the public that the association was committed to the support of diverse communities. The HFPA gained 21 new members, 6 of whom are Black. They had comedian Jerrod Carmichael host the award ceremony, who openly spoke about his and the public’s frustration with the lack of representation in the HFPA. Along with this, the association’s list of nominees was extremely diverse. Many deserving actors were awarded Golden Globes this year, such as Abbott Elementary’s TV series star and creator Quinta Brunson, and Everything Everywhere All at Once’s lead actress Michelle Yeoh. It was certainly refreshing to see minorities put at the forefront of the ceremony this year, and we can only hope that the Golden Globes stay true to their commitment to uplifting diverse communities.

While on the topic of entertainment, another notable event was Shakira’s record-breaking collaboration with Argentinian DJ and rapper Bizzarap. After its January 2023 release, “Music Sessions Vol. 53” broke 14 Guinness World Records. Shakira now holds the record for most streamed Latin track on Spotify in 24 hours, the most viewed Latin track on YouTube in 24 hours, the fastest Latin track to reach 100 million views on YouTube, and the most streamed Latin track on Spotify in one week, just to name a few. Shakira now holds 17 Guinness World Record titles to date. Latin artists have begun to dominate the music industry, with celebrities like Bad Bunny and Shakira becoming famous worldwide. It has been a pleasure watching the world embrace Latino culture, and show their adoration for the Latino community.

The adoration continues on to 2023’s Miss Universe winner, Sheynnis Palacios, the first ever Nicaraguan to win a Miss Universe pageant. Palacios was also the first Nicaraguan to ever win any major pageant. We know how much this means to Nicaragua, and we love to see them get the representation they deserve in the mainstream media.

Many more firsts took place this year, breaking grounds for many more diverse communities. Hakeem Jeffries made history as the first Black lawmaker to lead a party in Congress. The Democratic Party in the US House of Representatives is now under Jeffries’s lead, and he is now also the first person elected to lead House Democrats to be born after the end of World War II. This year, NASA also named their first woman and first Black man ever assigned as astronauts to a lunar mission. ​​Christina Koch and Victor Glover will be on the Artemis II lunar flyby, which is expected to take place as early as 2024. These two were introduced as part of the 4-person team chosen to fly on what would be the first crewed voyage around the moon in more than 50 years, which in itself is another monumental first for American history. It was a big year for introducing diversity in space exploration, as Rayyanah Barnawi became the first female Arab astronaut to go to space. Barnawi is one of two Saudis on Axiom Space’s second private mission, which took off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the US in May of this year. The LGBTQ+ community also had their share of firsts this year, one of which includes Wendy Guevara becoming the first transgender woman to win a Mexican reality TV series. Guevara was a contestant on “La Casa de los Famosos México” (The Celebrity House — Mexico), the Mexican adaptation of “Celebrity Big Brother” produced by TelevisaUnivision. Guevara was voted as the winner with over 18 million fan votes, including a vote by Mexican Chamber of Deputies President Santiago Creel.

Houston has always been at the epicenter of diversity. With University of Houston being named the second most diverse campus in the nation, it’s no surprise to us that newly released data from the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau shows that Harris County is now the most ethnically diverse county in Texas. Harris County’s population includes people from 364 ethnic groups, dozens more than any other county across the state, including 33 groups only found in Harris County. The data cements Harris County as the sixth most ethnically diverse county in the nation. Texas’s population rose by 16% from 2010 to 2020, showing the most significant growth among its Hispanic, Black, Asian and multiracial populations. In addition to this, Houston’s Montrose Center, one of the largest LGBTQ centers in the United States, named a new CEO this year, Avery Belyeu. Belyeu is making history as the first openly transgender CEO of a major LGBTQ center in the United States. Her appointment is a significant step in breaking barriers to leadership for other transgender individuals hoping to be leaders themselves one day.

If you’re interested in hearing more Houston based news that celebrates our vastly diverse community, a publication that specializes in elevating diverse voices launched their services to the public this year. The Houston Landing is an independent, nonpartisan news organization devoted to public service journalism that seeks to improve the lives of all Houstonians through their involvement with the community. The Houston Landing reports on happenings all over Houston, providing information on topics such as public safety, politics, education, environment, and much more. The Houston Landing emphasizes their commitment to the community by allowing their content to be viewed completely for free, with no subscriptions or paywalls, so any Houstonian can have access to information about their beloved city.

This year has been a mosaic of triumphs, challenges, and moments that redefined our understanding of what’s possible. From cultural milestones to groundbreaking achievements in various fields, it’s been a year when diversity has shone brightly, showcasing the richness and depth it brings to our world. Communities that have long been marginalized or underrepresented have emerged stronger and more vibrant than ever. Witnessing these achievements has reinforced our belief in the beauty of our diverse world. It’s a reminder of the strength that comes from embracing our differences and working together toward common goals. We truly believe that the accomplishments of diverse communities in 2023 will continue to pave the way for a more inclusive, understanding, and accepting future. There’s so much to celebrate and learn from these remarkable achievements, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds as we continue to embrace diversity in all its forms.

Happy New Year,

Big Oak Tree Media Family 


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