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In 2021, gaming leveled up, emerging as a rich and diverse ground for storytelling and community building, with a notable presence across top creators, top breakout creators, top women breakout creators and even top YouTube Shorts creators.

Google-owned YouTube on Thursday revealed a list of top videos as well as creators for 2021 and gaming along with comedy videos that have topped the chart in India.

In 2021, gaming leveled up, emerging as a rich and diverse ground for storytelling and community building, with a notable presence across top creators, top breakout creators, top women breakout creators and even top YouTube Shorts creators.

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We are all born creative

By Zeenah Vilcassim

We are all born creative, but as we go through life, we learn to suppress it, especially in hard times. The global Stir Creativity platform by Bombay Sapphire was launched with the aim of inspiring and reigniting creative self-expression. The brand believes that creativity fosters positivity, this came to life during the second lockdown when people started sharing their creativity as a source of inspiration and hope.

Sometimes, even the smallest acts of creativity evoke optimism, and further inspire others to tap into their creative selves. Many turned to various forms of creativity, be it sketching, creating music, or just trying out a new recipe; it is what kept most of us going during our isolation. Creativity doesn't need a traditional canvas; it can be found in any form and with Stir Hope, the aim for this creative self-expression was to ignite hope for a better tomorrow in everyone.

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While creativity comes in many forms, it also plays a number of different roles in people's lives-to uplift spirits, to bring a sense of joy or purpose, or even to bring peace. Wit Stir creativity, it also stirs a feeling of connectivity in each of us. The narrative for Stir Hope was built by recognising the power that creativity can hold and tapping into visionary creators to share their personal stories of how indulging in their creativity helped them retain a sense of hope during a difficult time.

The Stir Hope campaign is aimed at inspiring others to share their own creative expressions and feel more connected despite being socially distanced. The creators who bring their personal stories to life are independent thinkers who used their creative expression to stay hopeful and optimistic during the lockdown. Each storey narrates the vital role creativity plays in their lives, inspiring others to explore and unlock their own creative potential. The masterpieces exhibited by the creators ranged from music (as it soothes the mind and soul), food (as it provides comfort), design (which helps relieve stress and anxiety), and mixology (which helps elevate the mood and inspires creative experimentation).

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Haydar Serezli, right, speaks to a walk-up customer at his booth at the Festival In the Park in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Sept. 25, 2021. (Salim Fayeq/VOA)

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA — When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold early last year, artists such as Patricia Boyer of Charlotte, North Carolina, were panic-stricken. Who would see — not to mention purchase — her creations when much of America was on lockdown?

"It was really bad, because here you are with all this art, and you're like 'what am I going to do with it?'," the 65-year-old painter told VOA. "And the anxiety level was through the roof."

Amid a severe economic downturn and restricted in-person interactions, artists were forced to get creative. Boyer, who specializes in acrylic on canvas, said she was able to display some of her art with the help of friends and colleagues.

"I now have my inventory in three different spaces — one of my friends got me in her gallery. So, it's a way for me to get my name out," Boyer said.

Artists have faced unprecedented challenges triggered by the pandemic. Data published by the National Endowment for the Arts show, from 2019 to 2020, unemployment rates more than tripled for fine artists like Boyer and surpassed 50% for many types of performing artists.

Among major U.S. economic sectors, creative industries were among the hardest hit by the pandemic, second only to the hospitality sector.

Signs are situated along the walking path of Freedom Park urging festival goers to mask up, though few were seen wearing face coverings. (Salim Fayeq/VOA)

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Photo by Saw Wunna on Unsplash.

Pro-democracy protests in Myanmar 2021.

Aung San Suu Kyi also known as "The Lady" is the most revered and distinguished figure in Southeast Asia. Her journey from being a regular housewife in Oxford, England to being a pro-democracy political activist and winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 has been arduous, perhaps perilous at times. The military junta of Myanmar, officially known as Tatmadaw has been ruling Myanmar ever since its independence in 1948 with an iron fist.

In 1989 during the heydays of the regime, speaking out against the junta could cost one their life. The previous year, Burma's generals had repealed the country's constitution, imposed martial law, and violently suppressed pro-democracy protests. The junta imposed a total information blockade. Newspapers and publishers were asked to register with the government and limit their publishing to the regime's propaganda.

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