R29’s Top Stories Of 2022 Didn’t Shy Away From the Big Issues

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It’s list-making season, so obviously we had to get in on the fun. That’s why this week’s R29 Twitch stream, hosted by Entertainment Director Melissah Yang served as our version of an R29 rewind. During the chat, Yang, entertainment writer Katherine Singh, and a slew of other R29ers, recapped some of the biggest and personal favorite stories featured on the site in 2022. They covered everything from Euphoria to abortion access, Black maternity and agua fresca. Read on to discover some of R29’s biggest stories of the year.

R29 Lifestyle gets boots on the ground for abortion access 

The overturning of Roe v. Wade is one of the most defining stories of 2022. Months before that decision was made official, R29 Senior Writer Molly Longman headed out to Texas to get an up-close look at how the state’s Senate Bill 8 — a controversial law effectively banning abortion after six weeks — was impacting health services, professionals, and the real people who needed access to them. In “Abortion Rights Are Going from ‘Bleak to Bleaker’ — Texas is Ground Zero,” Longman followed one college student’s journey through 30 different clinics as she tried to get an abortion while still navigating school, work, and life. “Someone I talked to called this ecosystem in Texas in late 2021 and early 2022 a dress rehearsal for a post-Roe world, and being able to talk to doctors about the effects of that was really powerful,” Longman said. 

R29 Fashion finds joy at Costco

For R29 Fashion Writer Frances Solá Santiago, it started with a simple question posed by her boyfriend: Why do people shop for clothes at Costco? That led to Santiago diving head first into the world of Costco fashion, heading into warehouses, and finding communities on TikTok and Facebook of people sharing their finds. “The Unexpected Appeal of Costco Fashion” demonstrates how people become fans of the store and experience — finding trendy pieces, brand names like Nike, Adidas, and Banana Republic at discounted prices, and even designer dupes — and will make you wonder if it’s time for your own trip to the nearest Costco. “There has been so much talk about inflation and cost of living, so seeing how the pandemic and cost of living has been prompting people — even those who have never considered it before — to go there and shop was really interesting,” she said. 

R29 Beauty is the ‘Mane Character

R29 Senior Beauty Writer Amanda Mitchell knew that, this year, she wanted to create “a love letter to all the fake hair that we are wearing on our bodies — wigs, weaves, hair transplants and all of the other things we don’t talk about.” Enter ”Mane Character,” a beautiful and ambitious package that dives into all of those topics and more. Within, you’ll find raw and candid stories questioning if wearing fake hair can ever be truly ethical, how wigs started getting better once Black women started designing them for more people, and how one young woman with alopecia is fighting to get custom cranial prostheses covered under medicare. “I do not like doing my own hair,” said Mitchell. “But I could put a wig on and have the world think I have my life together. I wanted to do this package because there are so many ways people [wear] wigs and weaves.” 

R29 Entertainment goes big in gaming

It’s been one year since R29 launched Good Game as the place to celebrate all things gaming and the online and IRL changemakers in that space, and what a year it has been. One story that resonated in particular was Yang’s in-depth profile of popular streamer Leslie Fu (aka Fuslie) — accompanied by a high-fashion shoot, of course. “Something really exciting about GG is that you get to see gamers in a way you might not have necessarily seen them before,” Yang said. “It’s a way to pass the mic and give a spotlight to these women who have done so incredible in gaming and streaming, and give them the chance to feel glamorous. It’s one thing mainstream media hasn’t done a lot of: have these real heart-to-heart conversations with gamers.” 

R29 Somos loves Black Panther’s Namor

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was always going to be a major event. But what people may not have been expecting was Namor (Tenoch Huerta Mejía) would end up representing. In “With Namor, Wakanda Forever, Does What Latine Media Will Not,” writer Dash Harris explores how the character is an authentic exploration of the intersection between Black, Latine, and Indigenous identities and histories, explained Chelsea Sanders, VP of multicultural brand strategy and development for Somos and Unbothered. “There was such intention behind this casting, in the writing of this story,” she said. “Ryan Coogler and everyone part of this film wanted to make sure not to tell a story that didn’t only tell a narrative about what you imagine Africa or the Yucatán Peninsula to be. It felt inclusive and historically accurate.” 

R29 Unbothered shines a light on Black maternity 

Black women are three to four times more likely to die in relation to pregnancy and birth than white women. That was the starting point for Unbothered’s “Birth Rights” package, according to Sanders. “Black women are truly discriminated against when it comes to health care to the point that it is lethal,” she said. “We deserve to celebrate in the same way others do but we cannot do that when we are at risk when we go to the hospital.” As part of the package, you’ll find stories aiming to prompt conversations about reproductive health, queer parenting, why some Black people opt for doula birthing plans, and so much more. The aim is simple: honoring Black maternity, pushing forward pressing issues, and creating change for the next generation. “Our birth right is safety, access, life, and we need to choose to celebrate that and advocate for that even when others aren’t able to,” Sanders said.

Refinery29 Twitch streams Thursdays at 2 p.m. PT/5 p.m. ET.

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