Clashes, natural disasters and political gaffes have dominated the headlines in 2017. But when we asked our staff to give us their top picks for AJ+ videos and projects, we found that much of what we covered was inspiring, heartwarming and just plain fun, while other powerful projects helped us all understand some of the major crises in our world.
Sit back and take a look at some of the stories you may have missed this year, and why they stood out to these producers.
The way the poet connects sports with the history of injustice and the struggle against police brutality is so compelling. The animations and crisp shooting complement the power of his words. I’ve seen it so many times! — Shreen Khan
This piece beautifully tells the story of an incredible group of women. It’s stunningly shot and flawlessly produced, and it’s one I can (and have) watched again, and again, and again. It makes me want to go to New Orleans. — Alex Janin
This is a hopeful story of positive and empowering ways women can push back against daily, casual oppression. This story epitomizes the way we can use love in the face of darkness. I also love the artist’s intention behind the source of the textiles and who makes the items. — Chelsea Lynn
She’s still doing surgery at the age of 90. She’s tiring her younger colleagues. And she’s the funniest person in the hospital. Alla Ilyinichna’s incredible charisma will keep you watching, she’ll make you laugh and you’ll want to be her best friend. But there’s a point halfway through where I dare you not to shed a tear. It’s the sweetest, most emotional short film of the year. — Sakhr Al-Makhadhi
I am a diehard patron of affordable Chinese cuisine, so I was pretty easily enraptured by Dolly Li’s series on the Chinese-American community — told through the lens of Chinese food. Learning about the decades of exclusion and discrimination Chinese-Americans have faced — and overcome — was at once sobering and inspiring, especially for a first-generation American like myself. This series touched on a concept that I think is particularly resonant in our current political climate: that the vibrant tapestry of American identity is, and will forever be, woven together by immigrants from every corner of the world. — Yara Elmjouie
It’s often difficult to understand a crisis if you aren’t at the forefront of the situation. This video eloquently and powerfully explains a major genocide happening in the world right now — the Rohingya crisis. Every image and word provides meaning and emotion. — Raji Ramanathan
Oftentimes, nationwide issues are reported only when they affect majority white, heterosexual and cisgender communities. This year saw a rise in natural disasters in the U.S., and it’s important for information like this — that’s focused on people of color — to be elevated, especially when recovery efforts are scarce. (Just take a look at Puerto Rico). From air pollution to sea level rise, this project was a smart way to introduce how climate change affects black people the most. There needs to be more reporting like this in 2018. — Jess Ramirez