Entertainment

Celebrities Who Made The Biggest Cultural Impact In 2017

Updated May 27, 2021 0 votes 710 voters 15.5k views81 items

List RulesVote up the celebrities who influenced mainstream culture in 2017. No politics :)

Editor's Note: Voting and Reranking have been closed.

The celebrities who influenced culture in 2017 were fashion innovators, outspoken activists, social media influencers, cutting edge artists, and talented musicians. They used their platforms to create or say something original and when these 2017 influential celebrities spoke, the American public took notice. The very nature of being a famous person implied wielding a certain amount of influence, but the celebrity influencers on this list had a greater impact than the average famous person this year. Whether they started a movement - like Colin Kaepernick - or became the first person to do something - like Chance the Rapper, the first unsigned recording artist to win a Grammy without actually selling his music - these celebrity trendsetters were on the cutting edge of culture. 

In a year dominated by news of Donald Trump, he can't help but make the list despite his technical current standing as a politician. As the President of the United States, his influence over American and global culture is hard to deny. But in a year filled with politics, this list is for those celebrities who impacted culture outside of legislature and policy. So leave your political opinions at the door and vote up the celebrity tastemakers who defined 2017.

Check out who is influencing people in 2019.

Photo:
  • 1
    • In 2017, ex-Scientologist Leah Remini doubled down on her crusade against Scientology, deciding to focus on disconnection (the severance of all ties between Scientologists and non-Scientologists) and abuse.
       
    • Her documentary series called Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath was nominated for an Emmy.

    More Leah Remini 

    17 Of The Most WTF Things Leah Remini Has Said About Scientology#53 of 289 The Best 'Dancing With The Stars' Contestants, Ranked

  • 2
    • In 2017, Jordan Peele made history with his film Get Out when he became the first African-American writer-director with a $100M movie debut.

    • The film encourages conversation about what Peele calls the "post-racial lie" - i.e., that racism is no longer an issue in America now that an African American has served as president.

    More Jordan Peele 

    14 Things Jordan Peele Did Before 'Key & Peele'#148 of 339 The Funniest People Of All Time

  • 3
    • In 2017, Corey Feldman made it his mission to take down what he identifies as a long-standing Hollywood "pedophile ring." He filed police reports, talked to the press, and appeared on sit-down talk shows.
       
    • In a YouTube video that has been viewed more than 1 million times, he announced that he was ready to identify at least six alleged abusers, including one who remains powerful today. He later disclosed one of those abusers' names on live television.

    More Corey Feldman 

    #332 of 904 Celebrity Death Pool 2021#1763 of 1,883 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

  • 4

    More Leonardo DiCaprio 

    The Best Leonardo DiCaprio Characters#70 of 242 The Hottest Men Of 2019, Ranked

  • 5
    • In 2017, Selena Gomez raised awareness for Lupus and was a personal advocate for taking needed mental health breaks. She took one herself disappearing from social media for a bit. When she returned she revealed she'd had a kidney transplant and was taking the time she needed to have a healthy mental state.

    More Selena Gomez 

    The Best Songs On Selena Gomez's Album 'Rare'#21 of 22 Unicef Goodwill Ambassadors For The United States

  • 6
    269
    188

    More Eminem 

    All The Ways 8 Mile Is Radically Different From Eminem's Actual Life12 Messed Up Facts About Eminem's Troubled Upbringing

  • 7

    More Barack Obama 

    Silly Things People Blame Barack Obama For#8 of 44 Which US Presidents Do You Wish Were In Charge Right Now?

  • 8

    More Carrie Fisher 

    Inside Debbie Reynolds And Carrie Fisher’s Rocky But Loving Mother-Daughter Relationship#80 of 349 The Best Actresses In Film History

  • 9
    • She was one of the first to come out with allegations of sexual misconduct against Harvey Weinstein and hers was the voice that The New York Times led with in their investigative report.
       
    • Ashley Judd, along with other celebrities like Rose McGowan who also went on the record about Weinstein's abuse, paved the way for more than 82 other women to come forward about the producer's abuse.
       
    • The Harvey Weinstein fallout led to the airing of many more accusations against prominent men, both in and outside of the entertainment industry. Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey, and many others similarly fell from public grace. The enormous impact of these accusations will be felt for years ahead.

    More Ashley Judd 

    #81 of 186 The Greatest Actresses Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)#7 of 18 Great Actresses Who Make Bad Movies Now

  • 10

    More Lupita Nyong'o 

    #84 of 258 The Best Marvel Movie Actors Ever#482 of 2,753 The Most Influential People of All Time

  • 11

    More Dwayne Johnson 

    Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Memes That Are Funnier Than They Have Any Right To Be#193 of 219 The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Oscar (For Acting)

  • 12

    More Gal Gadot 

    A Bunch Of Celebrities Made A Cringey 'Imagine' Video And The Internet Isn't Having It#84 of 274 The Best American Actresses Working Today

  • 13

    More Donald Glover 

    The Best Childish Gambino Songs, Ranked#48 of 90 Who Is The Coolest Actor In The World Right Now?

  • 14
    • Two days after a bomb exploded and 22 people died at her concert in Manchester, England, she returned to Manchester Arena to host a benefit concert honoring the families of the attack's victims.
       
    • After the Las Vegas shooting, she called for stricter gun control laws.

    More Ariana Grande 

    The Best Songs On Ariana Grande's Album 'thank u, next'Ariana Grande's Hairstyles, Ranked

  • 15
    • When she won Prince Harry's heart, she gave the world a wedding to look forward to and a love story to distract from the harsher things happening in the world.
       
    • Once married, she will potentially be the first mixed-race royal in history - although historians now speculate that Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III was of African descent.

    More Meghan, Duchess of Sussex 

    Meghan Markle’s Interview With Oprah Is Eerily Similar To Princess Diana's 1995 Interview24 Memes That Best Sum Up Oprah's Interview With Harry And Meghan

  • 16

    More Mark Hamill 

    17 Wholesome Mark Hamill Tweets That Just Make Us Feel Good#227 of 264 The Best (Male) Actors Working Today

  • 17
    • His national anthem protest before NFL games influenced dozens of other NFL players to do the same and sparked a national conversation about race.

    More Colin Kaepernick 

    #107 of 119 The Greatest College Football Quarterbacks of All Time#1140 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever

  • 18

    More Emma Watson 

    #59 of 201 The Best Actresses Working Today#32 of 243 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities In The World

  • 19
    • We're leaving politics off this list, but let's be real... Donald Trump's impact on American culture in 2017 can't be ignored. From the way people talk, to the way they use Twitter, to the things that people care and share about online and in person, Donald Trump's influence can be felt in the far reaches of society. 

    More Donald Trump 

    We Compiled Every Single Time A Trump Administration Official Got History Completely WrongThe Most Savage Anti-Trump Songs

  • 20

    More David Dobrik 

    #130 of 188 The Best Hot Ones Guests Ever#2 of 36 The Best YouTubers Who Started On Vine

  • 21
    177
    226
    • "Somebody called me too fat? [Crying-Laughter Emoji]" - Rihanna's comment on a fan's Instagram post about her weight.
       
    • In 2017, the pop star got "thick" - or was she still "too skinny"? Internet trolls had plenty of opinions and Rihanna didn't care about any of them. She announced that she was happy in her skin, sending a welcome message of body positivity.

    More Rihanna 

    The Best Rihanna Songs of All Time#5 of 198 The Greatest New Female Vocalists of the Past 10 Years

  • 22

    More John Goodman 

    #32 of 349 The Best TV Actors And Actresses Of All Time#37 of 213 Celebrities Who Should Run for President

  • 23

    More Adam Driver 

    #74 of 170 The Best Living American Actors#19 of 299 The Hottest Men Of 2021, Ranked

  • 24

    More Samuel L. Jackson 

    12 Behind-The-Scenes Stories From 'Pulp Fiction'#3 of 178 The Greatest Black Actors In Film History

  • 25

    More Melania Trump 

    All The First Lady Traditions Melania Trump Is Breaking#185 of 319 The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models