The 90s were an unforgettable decade, especially if you were pretty young back then. 90s kids will remember several pop culture trends and moments that define this decade for them. Some might grow nostalgic, remembering the 90s as the time before most of us were addicted to our phones.
90s pop culture is an especially important part of this decade, with most kids and teens heavily invested in the world of music and movies. Iconic album covers were coveted, while we waited patiently for a movie to be shown on TV instead of streaming it on Netflix. Entertainment wasn’t quite as fast-paced as it is now, so one might say we had time to enjoy and savor these iconic pop culture moments of the 90s:
The Release of ‘Titanic’
There was probably no movie that inspired such a worldwide craze as ‘Titanic’ did. We would squeal if someone gifted us a VHS tape of the movie, while Titanic-themed merchandise was sold in every corner store. Even those of us who were too young to understand every part of the movie had probably watched it to see what the fuss was all about. Some parents might have tried to prevent their kids from these viewings, but circumventing the rules was half the fun.
In addition to the actors’ performance, the soundtrack was another iconic pop culture reference in the 90s decade. Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’ played on the radio, on computers, and in almost every restaurant. Overall, the movie and its soundtrack have made their mark in the heart of many 90s kids, teens, and even adults.
The East Coast Vs. West Coast Feud
For many folks, the music was what truly defined the 90s decade. If you were into hip-hop back then, the rivalry between the East and West Coast was the most notable feud on the science. Tupac and The Notorious Biggie were the two major combatants here, though both met their unexpected ends in the 90s as well. Both rappers were killed in this decade through drive-by shootings. Tupac succumbed to his injuries in 1996, while Biggie passed in 1997.
The Feminism of ‘Thelma & Louise’
The movie ‘Thelma & Louise’ is a poignant and unique tale that’s also quite feminist in nature. It follows two women going on a road trip that quickly spins into a semi-horror story. As far as American cinema is concerned, this film was among the first of its kind. It showcased how two women can be each other’s support system, even to the extent of riding to their death. To this date, the movie is a favorite for many all-female movie nights and sleepovers. It’s also given rise to several memes and cultural references.
‘The Macarena’ Video and Song
‘The Macarena’ is one song that everyone probably hums or sings at some point even if they don’t know the lyrics. This song was released in 1995, had Spanish lyrics, and was a pop culture phenomenon for the rest of the 90s. It was a pop-dance hit as well, with the video only increasing its popularity.
Lindsay Lohan in ‘The Parent Trap’
Say what you like about this famous actress now, but the 90s was the time when a very young Lohan impressed America with her acting chops. The child actress played a double role of twins in a retelling of the classic tale ‘The Parent Trap’. Although the movie was a remake, it’s usually remembered as the official one by most 90s kids.
The Trial of O.J. Simpson
Moving away from the world of music and movies, another of the most famous pop culture moment of the 90s was the O.J Simpson trial. Simpson was convicted and tried for killing his ex-wife and her friend. While he was eventually acquitted after a long, sensational trial, the name of O. J Simpson is still remembered today (and not in a very kind manner).
In fact, this trial is usually referred to as one of the most publicized criminal trials to date. Not only was the murder case quite heinous in itself, but Simpson was a well-known name in American households as well. He was a broadcaster, former NFL player, and an actor to boot. With this once-loved celebrity status, the trail was bound to be an iconic one for any decade.
The Death of Princess Diana
It’s been more than two decades since Princess Diana’s sudden and tragic death following a car crash. We’ve seen her sons get married and have children of her own, but Diana seems to be remembered in every important moment concerning the British Royal family.
Princess Diana was an icon in her own right, so her death was understandably shocking even outside of the United Kingdom. The world watched her funeral on television, while thousands were present at the Abbey to pay their regards. There were also many famous names at that funeral in 1997, including Elton John, Nicole Kidman, and Tom Cruise.
The Beginning of the Harry Potter Craze
For most of the 90s, Joanne Kathleen Rowling was an impoverished writer who scribbled on napkins in coffee shops to save on electricity bills. In 1997, though, her first Harry Potter book was established as an international bestseller. ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ (Sorcerer’s Stone in the United States) might have been rejected by several publishers, but Bloomsbury finally had the good sense to publish the work for the masses.
Today, we’ve seen two blockbuster movie series based on Rowling’s’ Potter books, along with a whole online world called ‘Pottermore’. Fans of Harry Potter are still loyal today, though the initial wave began in the 90s. In fact, the second book was also released in 1999, though Rowling found it hard to complete as she feared it wouldn’t live up to the excitement created by the first one. As we know now, the subsequent books just fuelled the craze even further, even making J. K. Rowling richer than the Queen of England at one point.
The Y2K Bug Premonition
Finally, at the tail end of the 90s, there was this huge scare about the future of the world as we know it. The century and millennium were ending, and computers had just begun to make their presence known in our everyday lives. According to some ‘professionals’, the computers of the world weren’t rightly programmed to switch to ‘00’ for the year 2000. This created a fear of all the computing data and operations being dialed back to zero in the new millennium.
Of course, as we now know, none of this happened. All that hype and scare was still fun, though, when we think about it in retrospect.
These pop culture moments of the 90s will definitely have given many of us flashbacks to a now-distant past. While we can’t really capture the essence of the 90s today, we can always enjoy the memories and pass them on to the next generation. Along with buying some memorabilia to remember our 90s experience, there should also be some great shows that can reawaken our interest in 90s television.