Flowers and Remorse: To Those We Love and Lost in 2016


This year was a doozy. Not only did our political and judicial system fail us time and again, it also stole some of our most beloved pop icons. These were fearless individuals that helped us through all the hard times we faced, and their deaths rolled in one after the other, each flimsily connected to this awful year like a tenuous string of paper dolls.

We spent more time at the graveyard than on the dance floor in 2016. That, my friends, is what is called a dark year indeed. This list is by no means comprehensive, but these are the ones that lit the brightest fires across our web.

Here are some of the lost that we have mourned the hardest (thus far).

What David Bowie has – and will continue – to teach us about the non-conformity of gender and social norms will never be lost. He redefined rock, fashion, many generations of youth, and that being yourself was the coolest thing of all. The greatest angels bestowed him upon us, and we thank them.

Leonard Cohen was the voice of a smoky den, lit by the cherries of a thousand cigarettes. He gave us the pleasure of sadness, and we took comfort in the dark. His music helped ease our souls, and create places for us to go when everything was not ok.

Muhammad Ali gave us not only a champion of the outsider, but of a righteous human who stood tall against the American establishment so invested in taking us down. He never went quietly, and never without a fight, and his legacy gives us hope that those who speak up for human rights, wins.

Carrie Fisher, the princess we all loved on screen, the real life individual who shared her courage to be oneself. Her candor and her acceptance of her mental illness gave us the power, and the hope, to live our lives in the light, and when personal darkness struck, to embrace it. Bipolar is no joke, but it’s not the end. She was a powerhouse of uncommon wit who gave her star power more light than most.

Just days after her daughter, Carrie Fisher’s passing, Debbie Reynolds joined her on the other side. At 84 years old, she had gifted us with one of the most cherished careers in Hollywood – one that spanned over 50 years. Not many people have such a distinction. May she always sing in the rain.

The sexual revolution of our generation began with a man named Prince. Dancing in the Purple Rain, he not only redefined music with his myriad influences that went beyond the common pop star’s scope, he created a sound like no one else. He served us with unabashed musicianship greater than the world has ever seen.

George Michael, a musical and sexual pioneer, and, as we discovered posthumously, a generous heart like no other. What he gave countless mothers and queers can never been forgotten, or repaid. He will always be our father figure.

The world lost a little whimsy the day Gene Wilder died. While we’ll always know him as Willy Wonka (and the ONLY Willy Wonka, thanks), he was the endless entertainer that we never knew we needed.

Alexis Arquette was a fearless creator, actor, and pioneer of transgender movement. She was part of the prominent Arquette Hollywood family, and we at FourTwoNine had a great bond with her. May she rest in peace.

Anton Yelchin wasn’t a household name, but his star was on the rise. He was also an intellectual, rare in the world of Hollywood superficiality. It’s never easy to see the young ones go, especially those with more potential than they had the chance to meet. His contributions to entertainment are enduring, and though short, significant.

She was the voice that launched a million writers’ careers, and a pioneer in an age where equality wasn’t top of mind. Harper Lee was as famous for her life as she was her work, but through her characters and her mighty pen, she inspired the world to stand for justice, no matter the cost.

Elie Wiesel had a long life, and died at 87 this year. He was a Holocaust survivor and author whose book, “Night,” shed light on Nazi crimes. Whether you read him in school, or your curiosity got the best of you, the book, and his life, are not something you ever forget.

Sonia Rykiel was the French designer dubbed the “queen of knitwear” and a fearless fashion icon. In an industry that sometimes favors commerce over artistic integrity, she showed the world that reinvention can come from the unlikeliest of places.

Hit us up on social media and let us know who you’ve miss the most.

About The Author

Robbie Imes is FourTwoNine's Director of Content and Social Media

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