Am I the only one who still thinks back to the ’90s when anyone refers to “10 years ago”? It really feels like yesterday I was pinning up posters of N’SYNC and Justin Timberlake in my closet (cut out from Teen Beat magazine, of course), running home from the bus stop to feed my Tamagotchi, and having sleepovers that revolved around watching TGIF. Everything was just so much simpler back then.
Yesterday, fans celebrated the 20-year anniversary of the first book from the Harry Potter series — but JK Rowling and her gang aren’t the only people celebrating the big two-oh this year: check out 28 pop culture moments that happened back way, way back in 1997.
1. The Spice Girls released their debut single, “Wannabe.”
And tweens everywhere praised the group’s #GirlPower ‘tudes, their sneaker platforms (Bongo, anyone?!), and fought over who got to be Baby Spice. (For the record, I liked Posh ~before~ she married David Beckham.)
2. TGIF’s most popular shows were Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Boy Meets World.
AKA: the best night of the week.
3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer debuted on The WB.
Sarah Michelle Gellar totally killed it playing a high school student by day and vampire-slaying badass by night. Oh, and she taught girls everywhere that it’s not only OK to be different, but it’s pretty damn cool.
4. Notorious B.I.G.’s “Mo Money Mo Problems” posthumously reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
This happened just two months after Notorious B.I.G. was gunned down at a stoplight after leaving an industry party on March 9. To this day, his death remains one of the biggest unsolved homicides in L.A. history.
5. Nokia dominated the mobile phone market.
One word: Snake.
6. Simone Biles was born on March 14.
And 20 years later she goes on to win four gold medals at THE FREAKING OLYMPICS. I feel old … and unaccomplished.
7. Recess debuted on Disney’s One Saturday Morning.
Life was so much simpler when we woke up (hangover-free) on Saturday mornings and watched cartoons with a bowl full of Cocoa Puffs, amiright?
8. 98 Degrees released their debut album, 98 Degrees.
Or should I say, “Nick Lachey and three other dudes” hit the music scene, much to the chagrin of N’SYNC, I’m sure.
9. Kylie Jenner was born on August 10.
And now just 20 years later she’s on Forbes “Celebrity 100” list for her $41 million in earnings thanks to her product endorsements, her role on KUWTK, clothing lines, and of course, her namesake cosmetic company. Kylie Jenner Lip Kit, anyone?
10. Tyra Banks was the first black model to have a solo Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover.
Thus opening the door for Beyonce, Ariel Meredith, Adaora, and Kirby Griffin to follow in her path.
11. The Backstreet Boys hit the music scene with the release of their debut album, Backstreet Boys.
And started the infamous Team N’SYNC vs. Team Backstreet Boys debate. (Team N’SYNC 4EVR.)
12. Princess Diana died in a car accident in Paris, France.
Affectionately known as “The People’s Princess,” her funeral was aired live around the world with over 2.5 billion viewers. Elton John’s emotional, re-worked rendition of “Candle in the Wind,” sung at her funeral, is regarded to this day as the best-selling single of all time.
13. Shania Twain released her album, Come on Over.
The album became the best-selling country music album and has sold over 40 million copies worldwide.
14. Teletubbies made their grand debut.
Tinky Winky, Laa-Laa, Dipsy, and Po: creeping out children since 1997.
15. Titanic premiered in the U.S.
And the scandalous scene where Rose asks Jack to “draw me like one of your French girls” was the talk of every middle school kid around the country.
16. Tamagotchis were the “It” toy of the year.
AKA: ’90s kids version of Hatchimals.
17. At 15 years old, Ivanka Trump made the cover of Seventeen.
And 20 years later, she’s made it inside the White House. Time ~fliesssssss~.
18. Jennifer Lopez played the lead role in Selena.
Anyone else remember playground disputes over which tween in your group looked the most like Selena? No? Just me?
19. Mike Tyson bit off Evander Holyfield’s ear during a match and was suspended from boxing.
And let the “tastes like chicken” jokes begin.
20. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones got their alien-fighting skills on with the debut of Men in Black.
“Roaches check in … but they don’t check out.” Brb: dying.
21. Julia Roberts made us laugh, cry, (and wish we had a gay bestie) in her debut of My Best Friend’s Wedding.
“The moment I wake up, before I put on my makeup … I say a little prayer for you.” BRB, watching this movie because I forgot how AMAZING it is.
22. Hanson became the ultimate tween heartthrobs with their hit single, “MMMbop.”
Can anyone tell me what this means? Anyone? ANYONE?!
23. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is published (soon to be called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the U.S. release the next year).
And “Potterheads” officially became a thing.
24. George Clooney was named People’s Sexiest Man Alive.
The ER heartthrob beat out Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, and Harrison Ford for the ultimate title.
25. South Park premiered on Comedy Central.
AKA: the debut of arguably the raunchiest cartoon on TV in the ’90s.
26. Ellen DeGeneres publicly came out as gay.
On the powerful front page cover of Time, Ellen bravely announced, “Yep, I’m gay.”
27. LeAnn Rimes became the youngest person to win a Grammy.
At just 14 years old, she won Best New Artist and Best Female Vocal Performance for “Blue.”
28. Aqua released the love/hate song “Barbie Girl.”
I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been listening to this song on repeat all day. Some things never change.