12 Notable Pop Culture Anniversaries Happening in 2024

Group of young intercultural friends sitting on long couch by small table with snacks and watching movie together in living-room at party

It is a brand new year and while most people are looking to shed some undesired weight, eat more salads at lunch and participate in Dry January, I’ve been investigating which pop culture moments and releases are celebrating anniversaries in 2024. Here is a list of twelve significant snapshots from every month that are celebrating anniversaries.

#1: 25th Anniversary of …Baby One More Time by Britney Spears on January 12, 1999

Even in the year 2024, Britney Spears still dominates headlines, sparks controversies and always gives her fans reasons to scream,”LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!” It’s hard to think that twenty-five years ago, the Princess of Pop first made her debut on her inaugural album titled …Baby One More Time. At the time of the release, the critics gave mixed reviews about the album – confirming it as a commercial success, but criticizing the music as juvenile and unimaginative. Two and a half decades later, the album transports you back to a naive time of life when the most important thing out of your day was whether or not your crush noticed you in the hallways on your way to fourth period. Point is, disregard the critics from 1999 and belt out from your bedroom:

“Sometimes I runSometimes, sometimes I hideSometimes I’m scared of you…”

Super Bowl Super Bowl XXXVIII Halftime Show

#2: 20th Anniversary of “Super Bowl XXXVIII Halftime Show Controversy” on February 1st, 20o4

Oh, the Super Bowl. Everyone’s favorite official unofficial holiday. (Seriously, why don’t we get the Monday following the Super Bowl off from work? What are we doing here?). The one day of the year where sports fanatics bet parlays on the under if the national anthem will be sung in 53 seconds, your auntie tries to outshine her mother-in-law by feeding the whole house of family members her pot of chili, everyone judges the once memorable TV commercials and somewhere in all of that there’s a football game to watch. In a day full of entertainment, the halftime show tries to outdo it all.

Now, there’s been some iconic musical performances on Super Bowl Sunday from the likes of Michael Jackson in 1993, Prince in 2007 to the more recent Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent and Kendrick Lamar in 2020, but the most memorable halftime show will always be from 2004 involving Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake. We’ve all seen the footage. We all remember the infamous photo. What was deemed as a “wardrobe malfunction”, turned out to be one of the biggest controversies in the 21st Century. The FCC, led by Colin Powell’s son, Michael Powell, and the Bush Administration blamed “the MTV culture” and scrutinized Janet Jackson in particular. The demonization of a Black woman, when a white young man was involved in the same act, still ignites conversations of inequality with race and gender to this day. Oh and by the way, P. Diddy, Kid Rock, Jessica Simpson and Nelly performed in the same halftime show. Remember when they were on stage? Yeah, no one does.

30th Anniversary of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective on February 4th, 1994

#3: 30th Anniversary of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective on February 4th, 1994

There is no one who dominated 1994 more than actor Jim Carrey. Just look at this 1994 lineup: “Ace Ventura”, “The Mask” and “Dumb and Dumber”! Each entry is full of iconic scenes and memorable one-liners that are still used in today’s vernacular. Just a last week, Tony Romo, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and current football commentator, said on air in the middle of a football game in his best “Lloyd” impression, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance?”.

The “In Living Color” alum launched this incredible run on February 4th, 1994 with “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective”. Out of all the iconic characters Jim Carrey has played, it’s Ace Ventura who is arguably the most memorable. Awkward around humans, but caring with animals, the butt talkin’, Hawaiian shirt wearing, extremely eccentric Ace Ventura is hired to retrieve the Miami Dolphins’ mascot who was stolen right before the Super Bowl. And last thing to remember, the best insult/pickup line you can ever deliver is from this film: “Well, I’m not really ready for a relationship, ____, but thank you for asking. Hey, maybe I’ll give you a call sometimeYour number’s still 911? Alllllllrighty then!”

#4: 20th Anniversary of “The College Dropout” by Kanye West on February 10th, 2004

Bear with me because this next section will be the epitome of the separation between work and artist. I recognize full well the controversy surrounding Kanye West in 2024. I neither condone nor excuse his remarks on antisemitism, hate speech and extreme rhetoric. What I want to share specifically was my absolute fascination with The College Dropout when it was released on February 10th, 2004. Never before or ever since, had I anticipated a music release more in my life. At the time, I was 13 years old. My morning routine at that point was to wake up, take care of business, get dressed, brush my teeth, grab my school bag and park it right in front of the family TV to watch music videos on MTV while my mom eventually made me late for school. But one of these mornings, my routine came to a screeching halt. Against a black background, in a simple white font that resembled a documentary the following words came on the screen in absolute silence:

“Last October Grammy nominated producer Kanye West was in a nearly fatal car accident. His jaw was fractured in three places. Two weeks later he recorded this song with his mouth still wired shut…

… so the world could feel his pain!”

What is followed by the silence was Kanye’s unrecognizable voice:

“Yo, Gee, they can’t stop me from rapping can they?
Can they, Hop?”

Then the iconic early Kanye chipmunk sample comes in with the beat – I was immediately hooked.

In a time where gangsta rap was all the rage, here was Kanye, a known producer, but not even a known performer, not a thug, not a player, before he was Yeezus, before the Kardashians, he was Kanye West,  musical genius, from Chicago. Little did anyone know (besides Kanye himself) that Kanye West would change the hip-hop world forever.

The song that was referenced was “Through the Wire”, Kanye’s first single. There are very few moments in life where you experience an artist that completely alters the perception of that art medium. For me, this was that very moment. In my living room, waiting for my mom to take me to school, my 13 year old self was not prepared for the visceral impact that song would play in my adolescence stage of life.

On February 10th, 2004 albums still dropped on Tuesdays, so I made my way to the local Best Buy to purchase The College Dropout, with my own money that I earned, I will add. Leaving the store I immediately put the cd in my walkman and I let it play through the whole album without stopping.

From the skits performed by comedian DeRay Davis impersonating Bernie Mac, to the amazing collaborations with artists like Jay-Z, Talib Kweli, Common, Twista, Ludacris, Mos Def,  and the musical resurrection of Jamie Foxx, to the incredible samples of Aretha Franklin and Lauryn Hill, The College Dropout is a masterpiece.

In 2004, Kanye’s potential was limitless. In 2024, he’s now seen as a complicated talented artist. Regardless of where you stand on Kanye West now, the influence and hip-hop game changer that is The College Dropout will never be in question.

40th Anniversary of “Eat It” Music Video by Weird Al

#4: 40th Anniversary of “Eat It” Music Video by Weird Al on February 28th, 1984

You know what is missing in 2024? Parody music. No one does it better than the iconic Weird Al Yankovic with 1984’s “Eat It”, which popularized Weird Al’s now legendary career. “Eat It” parody’s the popular hit “Beat It” from Michael Jackson that was released the year prior. Lyrically, “Eat It” portrays the frustrations of a parent who attempts to feed their picky-eater of a child. In case you were wondering, Michael Jackson was presented the lyrics from Weird Al prior to recording the track. According to Yankovic, the King of Pop was amused by the concept and agreed to sign off on the project. The song went on to earn Weird Al a 1984 Grammy Award in the Best Comedy Recording category, reached number twelve in the US and reached number one on the charts in Australia (which “Beat It” only topped at three there at its height).

The music video was a shot-for-shot remake of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” video. Where Weird Al truly shines in this masterpiece is his attempt to mimic MJ’s dance moves. Along with the exact wardrobe that Michael wore, the “Eat It” music video was hilarious in 1984 and remains hilarious now. Michael Jackson might be named “The King of Pop”, but Weird Al Yankovic is without a doubt “The King of Parody”.

#5: 30th Anniversary of Whitney Houston Dominating the Grammy Awards on March 1st, 1994

What do you think of when you first hear the name Whitney HoustAND IIIIIIIIIIIIII will always love yooooouuuuu! March 1st, 1994 was the 36th Grammy Awards Ceremony – viewers witnessed U2’s Bono present the Grammy Legend Award to Frank Sinatra, Toni Braxton winning Best New Artist, Aladdin’s “A Whole New World” winning Song of the Year and Whitney Houston having one of the most important nights in her career.

The show opened with Houston performing a breathtaking rendition of Dolly Parton’s classic “I Will Always Love You”. The track was featured on The Bodyguard soundtrack that Whitney Houston starred in alongside Kevin Costner. Houston ended up winning three Grammys in total including Record of the Year, Album of the Year, and Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female. As tragic as Houston’s life would later become, we know she was recognized at the height of her career on that unforgettable night in March in 1994.

20th Anniversary of Google Launching Gmail on April 1st, 2004

#6: 20th Anniversary of Google Launching Gmail on April 1st, 2004

Gmail, the most popular email provider in the world is celebrating its 20th anniversary this April. The thing is, when Gmail launched, everyone in the tech world thought it was a joke. In hindsight, releasing the most important email provider in history on April Fool’s Day probably wasn’t the wisest idea (hey, even Google can have some dud- ideas from time-to-time right?). Despite the date, Gmail has gone on to garner 1.8 billion active users as of 2021. And broke millennials will always particularly be thankful for free Gmail accounts giving them the ability to sign up for free trials on their favorite streaming platforms. What’s more fun than getting your Netflix for free? How about making your Gmail account called superkoolkid1234@gmail.com, followed by superkoolkid12345@gmail.com!

30th Anniversary of Illmatic by Nas on April 19th, 1994

#7: 30th Anniversary of Illmatic by Nas on April 19th, 1994

In Eminem’s classic track titled “Till I Collapse,” released in 2oo2, Em says the following:
“I got a list, here’s the order of my list that it’s in
It goes:
 Reggie, Jay-Z, 2Pac and Biggie
André from OutKast, Jada, Kurupt, Nas, and then me”

The greatest rapper of all-time before Eminem, in the words of Eminem, is Queensbridge Houses’ own, Nas. Born Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, Nas is no doubt one of the greatest MCs to ever perform and put a pen to paper. Nas’ inaugural album Illmatic is not just one of the greatest debut records in hip-hop history, it is one of the greatest debut records in all of music history. Illmatic‘s themes are intense, raw and gut wrenching as the twenty-year old Nas depicts the life of a troubled teen in the Queensbridge housing projects located in the Long Island City-section of Queens and filled with heavy gang violence, poverty, drugs and destruction. In an interview in 2001, Nas said the following about the album: “When I made Illmatic I was a little kid in Queensbridge trapped in the ghetto. My soul was trapped in Queensbridge projects.”

Critics and the public raved about Illmatic, calling it a masterpiece. Nas’ distinct and unique style and poetic lyrics launched his career to legendary status out of the gate. The Source, a premiere hip-hop magazine and Black culture publisher in the 1990s, gave Illmatic a five mic rating, the highest and most prestigious award for any rapper at the time. The five mic rating sent shockwaves through the hip-hop community as it was seen as blasphemous for a debut artist to receive such an honor, since the very same publisher put parameters for a new artist to never receive a five-out-of-five mic rating. This is the quality of Illmatic; it even made The Source change their own damn rules.

20th Anniversary of Friends Series Finale

#8: 20th Anniversary of Friends Series Finale (May 6th, 2004) & Lost Debut (Sept. 22nd, 2004)

Brazilian novelist, Paulo Coelho once said: “When someone leaves, it’s because someone else is about to arrive”. In the TV landscape, this could never have been truer than in 2004. On May 6th, 2004, after ten seasons with 236 episodes in total, Friends visited Central Perk for the last time. The gang of Ross (David Schwimmer), Chandler (Matthew Perry), Joey (Matt LeBlanc), Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) and Monica (Courteney Cox) closed the door their Manhattan apartment for the final time in “The Last One”. The expectations of ending a beloved show come with immense pressure. But to end a show like Friends, one of the most successful TV shows of all-time, is something else entirely. With that being said, parts 1 & 2 of the episode did deliver. It was the perfect blend of humor and emotion while still being faithful to the characters, allowing each actor to shine and not trying to do too much. All to say, the final episode of Friends was satisfying.

TV viewers did not have to wait long in 2004 for the next show phenomenon because on September 22nd, 2004, J.J. Abrams’ Lost debuted. Lost was unlike any other show on network television at the time: the non-linear storytelling, the incredible ensemble cast, characters you are invested in from the start of episode 1 and the mystery behind the island. It took America by storm. In fact, I vividly remember watch parties being the norm in many homes where friends and family would gather every Wednesday night to watch the latest episode, spend hours dissecting every frame and sharing their theories on what is happening on the island.

Now with streaming and most networks/services releasing the whole series in one drop, the appeal of watch parties is “lost” in 2024.

30th Anniversary of The Blue Album by Weezer

#9: 30th Anniversary of The Blue Album by Weezer on May 10th, 1994

Remember when I said Illmatic was one of the greatest debut records in all of music history? Well you better put Weezer’s The Blue Album on the list as well. Released on May 10th, 1994, Weezer’s debut album launched the careers of one of the most successful bands ever assembled, who remarkably are still releasing new music and touring to this day.

In 2020 Rolling Stone ranked The Blue Album 294th of their “Top 500 Albums of All-Time List.” What qualifies a “legendary album” is whether or not the album contains the status of “no skips.” Meaning every single song on the album is not just playable, but is an absolute 100% BANGER. By this definition, The Blue Album is a legendary album. Led by lead singer and songwriter, Rivers Cuomo, the 41:36 minute album starts off with “My Name is Jonas,” inspired by Cuomo’s brother who was having insurance problems after a serious car crash while at college, and concludes with “Only in Dreams,” Cuomo’s alleged expression of his artistic process. But let’s be real, that song is about a girl who you can only get in your dreams.

Without The Blue Album there is no “Undone – The Sweater Song”, there is no “Buddy Holly”, there is no “Say It Ain’t So”, there is no Weezer as we know them today. And that is a world I do not wish to know.

#11: 40th Anniversary of June Movie Releases (Ghostbusters, The Karate Kid & Gremlins)


I’ve gone on record on the Ready 2 Retro Podcast stating that June 1982 is the greatest month for movie releases in that decade (The Thing, Blade Runner, Poltergeist, Annie and Star Trek II:Wrath of Kahn), but June 1984 makes that statement hard to say with conviction. On June 7th, 1984, one of the greatest comedy/horror/ sci-fi movies was released. That movie was Ghostbusters. What hasn’t been said about this movie already? The performances from the actors, especially Bill Murray whose acting hijacks the show, are elite. The special effects still hold up forty years later. The humor endures; changing ideologies and cultural norms. Ghostbusters is essential to the 1980s pop culture fandom, and its popularity has only grown as each upcoming generation absolutely falls in love with it.


Is it a horror movie or a Christmas movie? Honestly, who cares? It’s a great movie to put on 365 days of the year. Director Joe Dante’s Gremlins celebrates 40 years on June 8th. Gremlins is the total package with amazing puppet work by Chris Walas, fantastic performances by Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates and Christmas carol-singing Gremlins! As you look to rewatch this classic film remember the vital rules in caring for Mogwais:

1. Avoid bright light

2. Don’t get them wet,

3. NEVER feed them after midnight

The Karate Kid
One of the biggest sports writers ever, Bill Simmons, considers The Karate Kid, “the most memorable Sports Movie Trilogy of all-time”. With accolades as high as that, the question must be asked- does The Karate Kid still hold up 40 years after? (Insert Mr. Miyagi nodding GIF here).

The Karate Kid has heart, humor and relatability as young Daniel LaRusso (played by Ralph Macchio) struggles to adjust from New Jersey to the Valley. As the movie progresses, “Danielsan” is bullied by the local karate youth gang called Cobra Kai, led by Sensei Kreese (Martin Kove) and his protege, Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka). Daniel befriends his neighbor and Gōjū-ryū karate teacher, Mr. Miyagi, and as their friendship develops, so does their will to uphold honor, dignity and self-defense.

2024 is a big year for The Karate Kid franchise. Not only is the film celebrating the 40th anniversary on June 22nd, but the 6th and final season of the series Cobra Kai, which continues the stories of Daniel and Johnny as adults, will also be released. That’s not all; through social media in November 2023, Ralph Macchio and Jackie Chan, who also played Mr Miyagi in the 2010 reboot, shocked the pop culture world by announcing that another Karate Kid film would be released in 2024. Fans of all generations of The Karate Kid franchise have much to look forward to in 2024.

30th Anniversary of Forrest Gump

#12: 30th Anniversary of Forrest Gump on July 6th, 1994 

Think about how many movies there are in existence. Hard to fathom right? According to website “The Numbers” there have been over 486,000 movies released in the U.S. However, this does not account for straight to DVD and streaming releases, plus this figure was back from June 2022. With that knowledge we can comfortably say that there are over 500,000 movies ever made. Now imagine how many lines are generated from over 500,000 movies- this is bringing us into the millions. So out of all those movies and all those lines, the American Film Institute ranks “My mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get” among the top 50 all-time greatest movie quotes.

If you haven’t indulged in Forrest Gump for some time, let me encourage you to change that soon. Sure, watching the film 30 years later can make the story, plot and Forrest’s optimism to life seem unrealistic and primitive in today’s context, but the movie still holds up. There’s a reason why Forrest Gump won Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Tom Hanks who won the previous year in Philadelphia going back to back like Magic Johnson), Best Director in Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future trilogy), Best Visual Effects, Best Adapted Screenplay by Eric Roth based on the novel by Winston Groom, and Best Film Editing by Arthur Schmid, at the 67th Academy Awards. Wow!

*Fun fact about Forrest Gump: John Travolta was the originally the first choice to play the role of Forrest Gump and to this day states that passing on the role was a huge mistake.

**Even more fun facts: Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, and Matthew Broderick were also considered for the role. Matthew Broderick? Ferris Bueller himself? Running clear from Alabama to the ocean? Chevy Chase as Forrest Gump? Just know that an alternate universe, Chevy Chase is in a red Bubba Gumps hat waving. Better yet, in an entirely different universe Billy Murray meets JFK telling him “I need to pee”. This is something I’d love to see but nonetheless, Tom Hanks was the right choice.

Signing Off:

These are just twelve of many, many anniversaries happening this year. Let me know which ones you’re most excited about, especially the ones I missed. Send me an email (or should I say GMAIL) at “ready2retro@gmail.com” or send a DM on Instagram @ready2retro!

Also, want more movies from 1994? Check out Ready 2 Retro’s Ultimate 1994 Movie Draft featuring Carlos @thenostalgiclatino, Joey from @ninjatoitles & Jesse from @heartgodmedia.

Click here to listen to it!