The Best Memes And Moments Of 2023

From Rihanna’s Super Bowl performance to girl dinner and girl math, the year brought us dozens of hilarious, fun and relatable things to obsess over on the internet.
Best of 2023: Memes & Moments
Best of 2023: Memes & Moments
Illustration: Jianan Liu/HuffPost. Photos: Prince Harry - CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images; Roman Empire - Anadolu/Getty Images; Rihanna - Focus on Sport/Getty Image; Keith Lee - Ethan Miller/Getty Images; Kylie Minogue - Neil Mockford/GC Images

For the chronically online like me, recalling the year on the internet is a daunting task.

There are big-name events like the Oscars and the Grammys, which occasionally spark some memorable chatter online. Then there are the moments when we’re alone in our bedrooms just scrolling and scrolling on our phones. A number of funny TikTok videos and constant memes on Instagram dominate our phones. (Who among us has awoken to a TikTok playing on loop because you fell asleep with your phone in your hand?)

This list serves as a quick reminder of some of the moments that took over our minds even when we weren’t plugged in to our devices. 2023 proves that once again, the discourse was swift and often fleeting, but we always checked in for a good time.

Social media has a ball with Prince Harry’s memoir.

Prince Harry’s memoir, “Spare,” which was released at the very top of the year, recounted several moments over the course of Harry’s life, including his grief over his mother’s death, his love for Meghan Markle and his rocky relationship with his brother, William, and his father, King Charles. But leave it to Black Twitter to make a joke out of the whole thing. Social media users imagined their own inside look at life as royalty, from Harry seeing Meghan in a bonnet for the first time to Harry paying his respect to Ice Spice’s lyrics for guidance amid his royal split from his family. It was such a funny moment on Twitter, reminding us of the good ol’ days when it was actually still called that. — Erin E. Evans

Rihanna’s Super Bowl performance wows her fans.

Rihanna performs during the Super Bowl halftime show Feb. 12 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Rihanna performs during the Super Bowl halftime show Feb. 12 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Focus On Sport via Getty Images

Rihanna fans rejoiced in 2022 when it was announced that the pop singer would perform at the Super Bowl halftime show this year. Questions were quickly thrown around on social media: What would she perform? Would she finally announce new music? Would we get a tour announcement? Well, fans didn’t get new music, but she dazzled on stage atop a bunch of floating stages, all while casually announcing that she had a baby on the way. — Evans

Girl dinner dominates when you’re hungry.

The best contribution to the ~discourse~ in 2023 was the viral “girl dinner” trend. If you’re not aware by now, girl dinner is what happens when you’re a beautiful, busy girl and you only have salami, cheese, pickles, five tortilla chips and a crouton on hand. Slap it all on a plate (or a paper towel), pour yourself a glass of wine and bam! Girl dinner, ooooh, girl dinner. I have been enjoying my girl dinners in peace for many years, so it’s thrilling to finally be able to put a name to my chaotic dining style. The trend hilariously spiraled out on social media, and of course some people tried to hate on it, but women will be eating girl dinner until the end of time. Long live girl dInner. — Lizzie Grams

Can’t talk about girl dinner without talking about girl math.

Honestly, every time I try to budget, I fall back on girl math to justify my desires. My personal fave is believing that using money in my Venmo account means I got my purchase for free. — Evans

Usher delights at his Las Vegas residency.

My only regret this year is missing Usher in concert in Las Vegas. Throughout the year, we saw so many clips go viral of women swooning over the R&B crooner as he performed his biggest hits. It was lovely to see Usher get his love IRL for this residency — and I’ll be sure to catch him at his world tour that’s reportedly happening in 2024. — Evans

Blue Ivy emerges as a surprise superstar.

Blue Ivy Carter and Beyoncé perform Aug. 11 during the Renaissance world tour at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Blue Ivy Carter and Beyoncé perform Aug. 11 during the Renaissance world tour at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood via Getty Images

Obviously Blue Ivy’s parents hold enough star power to fill up a stadium a few times over. But in 2023, Blue Ivy showed us exactly what she can do — by performing alongside her mother on the Renaissance tour. In the “Renaissance” film, audiences learn that Blue Ivy was only supposed to perform at one show. But after reading some disparaging comments online about her performance, she decided to go harder and work on her craft to shut down all the haters. And at the concerts all year, fans — through long standing ovations and big cheers — reminded her that so many of us have been rooting for her all along. — Evans

The ‘On My Mama’ music video gets us movin’.

“On My Mama” by Victoria Monét was one of my favorite songs of the year. The song samples rapper Chalie Boy’s 2009 hit “I Look Good” and was seemingly always on the airwaves this summer. Then came the vibrant music video in which Monét made it a family affair, featuring her own mama and her daughter, Hazel. Chalie Boy also made a cameo in the Sean Bankhead-choreographed video. What a joy. — Evans

Patti LaBelle bumbles through Tina Turner tribute.

There isn’t a holiday season that goes by that I don’t tune into this YouTube video of Patti LaBelle performing “This Christmas” at the national tree lighting celebration. She notably forgets the words, screams for her background singers and stumbles through her performance. So it took my breath away when LaBelle completely flubbed the tribute to the late Tina Turner at the BET Awards in June. Singing “(Simply) The Best,” LaBelle could not get it together with the lyrics. “I’m trying, y’all,” she said to the audience at one point. Needless to say, Twitter users had a field day with their commentary. — Evans

Keith Lee takes Atlanta restaurants to task.

I’ve been following Keith Lee’s food reviews for the past couple years on TikTok. He’s a humble, personable and extremely charitable guy who lives in Las Vegas with his family and who likes to eat good food, share his thoughts and pay it forward to family-owned restaurants that need help. It’s heartwarming and fun. That is until he went to Atlanta this year, where he received a lot of sub-par service and often left restaurants without eating. Many Atlanta residents hailed Lee for calling out issues of poor customer service that they’ve noticed for years. Even Grammy-winning artist Kandi Burruss responded on social media after Lee attempted to eat at her family’s restaurant, Old Lady Gang. But while the Atlanta visit sparked a ton of conversations and several viral videos, what’s often less talked about is the huge effect Lee has had at several restaurants since he embarked on this tour: He’s helped dozens of restaurants financially himself as well as encouraged his huge online following to visit places he has rated highly, perhaps making him one of the most sought-after food critics in the country. The Keith Lee effect really took off this year ― so it will be exciting to see what happens in 2024. — Evans

Kylie Minogue’s ‘Padam Padam’ takes over … everything.

If you were a gay man — or, really, anyone — with internet access in 2023, you almost certainly came into contact with Kylie Minogue’s “Padam Padam,” the slinky electro-pop earworm that ushered in the Australian singer’s latest renaissance and quickly became a viral sensation. Minogue performed the surprise hit around the world — including at her newly launched Las Vegas residency — and the track’s seemingly nonsensical title, which was taken from an Edith Piaf song and is meant to mimic the sound of the human heart, inspired nearly endless memes and TikTok videos throughout the summer. — Noah Michelson

This viral skit from ‘The Color Purple’ hits the right spots.

Rosie, a pint-sized actor in the making on TikTok, has been posting videos of some of the most iconic scenes in Black TV and film on the platform all year. But it’s her rendition of “The Color Purple” — where she portrays all the characters in one scene — that’s really taken off recently. The skit even attracted the attention of Oprah Winfrey, who invited Rosie and her family to walk the purple carpet at a recent premiere for the new “Color Purple.” You have to see her talent to believe it. Watch it here. — Evans

Ariana DeBose helps ‘Anh-juh-luh Bassett’ do the thing.

Ariana DeBose performs during the 2023 BAFTA Film Awards on Feb. 19 in London.
Ariana DeBose performs during the 2023 BAFTA Film Awards on Feb. 19 in London.
Stuart Wilson/BAFTA via Getty Images

Who was at the BAFTAs this year? Who won? I honestly have no idea, but I do know that Angela Bassett did the thing. In fact, anyone with a Twitter (ugh, X) account knows because Ariana DeBose’s impassioned opening song spread like wildfire on social media. Her cutesy rap about the night’s female nominees was so cringe it became camp. For days after, it played on my mind in a loop. May all award shows be blessed with such an iconic moment. — Jillian Capewell

Michelle Williams voices the audiobook for Britney Spears’ memoir.

The release of Britney Spears’ memoir, “The Woman in Me,” was a big deal on its own, with the pop legend finally getting to tell her own story on her terms and generating some major revelations. But it became an even bigger deal when clips of the audiobook, read by Michelle Williams, started going viral, especially Williams’ pitch-perfect rendition of the cringe that is Justin Timberlake’s blaccent (among many problems that man has, as revealed in the memoir). In fact, it was hearing Williams’ impeccable performance that convinced me to buy the audiobook — and finish it in two days. Her ability to capture Spears’ voice added to the experience of the memoir. It’s also an award-worthy performance all by itself. Williams is eligible for a Grammy, but can we also somehow get her an Oscar, Emmy and a Tony for this, too? — Marina Fang

Savannah ‘VanVan’ McConneaughey becomes a viral sensation.

I’m a sucker for cool children doing cute things. So when Savannah “VanVan” McConneaughey went viral as a pint-sized rapper telling the masses that she likes to “play outside every day,” I was sold. You can’t tell me you can watch her videos without boppin’ your head a little bit. She’s a star in the making! — Evans

‘Dupe’ becomes a mindset.

I can’t believe it was still 2023 when my TikTok FYP started filling with videos of people walking around big-box stores, holding up workout pants and shouting, “Lululemon DUPE!” Maybe it was a silly riff on “dupe” culture, where consumers who want name-brand things at lower prices are constantly on the lookout for a drugstore or generic alternative that feels like the real thing, or maybe it was just an excuse to shout in the middle of a store. (Needless to say, this trend was annoying to some.) Once people started thinking in dupes, they saw them everywhere: With the right mindset, you can turn anything into an [insert nice thing here] DUPE. — Capewell

The Roman Empire is apparently on way too many people’s minds.

I couldn’t believe that the Roman Empire was a thing this year. But apparently, men think about the Roman Empire ... a lot more than you might think. Thankfully, HuffPost reporter Brittany Wong reported on the trend and why, men especially, think about that time period so often. But at least for me, the best part of the trend was hearing women talk about what their Roman Empire is. Our obsessions are truly wide-ranging and often super surprising. — Evans

A ‘ludicrously capacious bag’ carries the Succession’ season premiere.

We’ll miss “Succession” for many reasons but particularly because of its endlessly quotable writing. It reached new heights with a scene in the final season’s premiere, when Cousin Greg’s date to Logan’s birthday attracts suspicion from Tom because of her “ludicrously capacious bag.” “What’s even in there, huh? Flat shoes for the subway? Her lunch pail?” Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) asks Greg (Nicholas Braun). “I mean, Greg, it’s monstrous. It’s gargantuan. You could take it camping. You could slide it across the floor after a bank job.” With that, a meme was born. The phrase was soon emblazoned on actual bags, ludicrously capacious or otherwise. You could also apply it to any number of gargantuan bags. My personal favorite: when the New York City Department of Sanitation’s anti-rat campaign featured an illustration of a rat with a disproportionately-sized suitcase, I could not help but think of good old Tom Wambsgans. To quote another “Succession”-related phrase: “It made sense dramaturgically.— Fang

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