For 15 years, Trey Parker and Matt Stone have fearlessly pushed boundaries by taking shots at liberals and conservatives, atheists and the ultra-religious, and everyone in between. After they met at the University of Colorado, the two film students created an animated short called The Spirit of Christmas, which became a viral sensation and introduced the world to Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny. Since then, they’ve become two of the most distinct voices in comedy, and in our culture.
Declaring 2011 “The Year of the Fan,” to celebrate the 15th season of South Park, the pair of storytellers isn’t afraid to take-on social issues in witty, irreverent, and unexpected way that has captured the attention of college students across the country. South Park, which was just picked up through 2016, has become a cultural phenomenon and in the last year alone, they’ve dug into topics like immigration, Occupy Wall Street, mental illness, social networking, penis size and of course, Broadway. And in 2011, with the smash hit The Book of Mormon, they’ve helped reinvent Broadway for a new generation and captured nine Tony Awards along the way.
WOMAN OF THE YEAR: Aung San Suu Kyi
A living reminder of Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy, mtvU’s “Woman of the Year” is fearless in her pursuit of democracy and defense of human rights. Suu Kyi refused to be silenced by one of the world’s most authoritarian states, and her lifelong effort proves that nonviolent resistance can overcome the fiercest oppression. After spending more than 15 years under house arrest for her political views, Suu Kyi continues to demand democratic reform from the Burmese military junta. In March, the junta stepped down, and last week, her party re-entered Myanmar’s political system, with the likelihood that Suu Kyi will run for parliament.
This week, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is making a historic trip to Myanmar and on Friday, she will meet with Suu Kyi. This marks the first visit by a secretary of state to the country in more than half a century.
Suu Kyi’s principles of non-violent protest, collective discipline, and respect for human rights reverberated through many of the popular uprisings that took place in 2011- from the Middle East’s Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street. Suu Kyi blazed a trail for others to follow, encouraging young people to stand up for what they believe in and demonstrating the power of non-violent protest. Aung San Suu Kyi is an inspiration, standing for hope and the type of visionary idealism that has the power to transform our world.
Each year, mtvU selects cultural leaders from the world of music, pop culture and/or politics who are inspiring change and making an impact on the world. In 2010, the college network named Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and hip hop artist Nicki Minaj its “Man and Woman of the Year.”