MTV's College Network Names Pope Francis & Lorde 2013 'Man & Woman of the Year'
mtvU, MTV's 24-hour college network, today announced its 2013 "Man and Woman of the Year:" Pope Francis and Lorde - an established dignitary at the pinnacle of his career and a young woman on the brink of superstardom - whose bold and unexpected declarations went against the status quo of their respective communities.
In 2013, Pope Francis spoke out about a range of contentious topics, including homosexuality, wealth accumulation, abortion and birth control, challenging the church to become more compassionate, inclusive and accepting of love over dogma, while also pushing the church to serve a broader purpose in the lives of its followers. He simultaneously questioned his own absolute authority, asking "Who am I to judge?" in reference to a person's sexual preference, showcasing a radical sense of humility for a figure of his prominent stature.
Meanwhile, 17 year-old New Zealand pop singer Ella Yelich-O'Connor, otherwise known as Lorde, broke-through as a fresh new voice for her generation with her chart-topping single "Royals," which confronts the excesses of luxury. The song topped well-established records, holding the longest Reign atop the Billboard Alternative Songs chart by a female solo artist and making Lorde the youngest solo artist to hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in more than 25 years. Lorde blazed a unique trail to pop stardom in 2013, simultaneously embracing new distribution platforms, while shunning the spotlight. Beginning December 11, mtvU will profile Pope Francis and Lorde to millions of students around the United States in short-form segments on-air and online.
"In a year filled with students speaking out on a wide range of issues, Pope Francis and Lorde took unexpected stands on issues that mattered to them, challenging the beliefs of many in their respective communities," said Stephen Friedman, MTV President. "As we look back and celebrate their contributions to society and culture over the past year, we look ahead with anticipation to see how their work will continue to ripple a wave of change in the years to come."
Pope Francis: mtvU Man of the Year
Pope Francis, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio to Italian parents in Buenos Aires, assumed the leadership role of the Catholic Church in March 2013, while focusing on breaking down bureaucracy and making the church more inclusive and community focused. Months into his papacy, he surprised many by declaring that he would not judge a person for their sexual orientation, taking a bold stance on homosexuality that diverged from that of his predecessor. While there is doubt if Pope Francis' statements will change the teachings of the Catholic Church, he has proven to be a compassionate leader that will not succumb to dogmatic pressures. Continuing in his quest to unite rather than divide the Church, Pope Francis gave a high profile interview that appeared in Jesuit publications around the world in September, preaching love, acceptance and modesty over all else.
Pope Francis, who took his name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi, has also take several opportunities to demonstrate his concern for the well-being of the poor, wielding his power and influence to focus the Catholic Church on fighting poverty, luxury and vanity. His own humility and outspokenness in the name of acceptance has brought a new, unexpected voice to the Vatican in 2013.
Lorde: mtvU Woman of the Year
Seventeen year-old, New Zealand native Lorde went from an everyday teenager to an international superstar when her record breaking single "Royals" exploded in 2013. Lorde, an MTV Artist to Watch for 2013, used her music to challenge her peers to think about what really matters beyond money, cars and clothes, becoming an icon for post-recession Millennials in the process. In the blink of an eye, she grabbed the record for most weeks atop the Billboard Alternative chart by a female solo artist and became the youngest solo artist to top the Billboard Hot 100 in 25 years. Lorde held the pole position on the Hot 100 for nine weeks, becoming just the fifth female to do so in her first appearance as a lead act in the chart's history.
Perhaps most impressive is Lorde's path to success and stardom in 2013. Coming out of nowhere, she wrote her massive hit "Royals" in under an hour and took the bold step of releasing her first EP for free through platforms such as SoundCloud. "Royals" has not only been a hit on the charts, but also online, as its video has been viewed more than 100 million times on Youtube and the single has recorded more than 100 million plays on Spotify. Yet, Lorde still maintains an aura of mystery, keeping public appearances and performances to a minimum in the midst of stardom. It's no wonder that an effusive Billboard cover story proclaimed Lorde "the most sought-after new artist of the year."
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. mtvU's 2012 "Man and Woman of the Year" were Frank Ocean and Malala Yousafzai, while the network honored "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, as well as Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi as its "People of the Year" in 2011. The previous year, mtvU named Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and hip hop artist Nicki Minaj its "Man and Woman of the Year."
For more information or to view the mtvU 2013 "Man and Woman of the Year" segment, head to www.mtvU.com.
Broadcast to more than 750 college campuses and via top cable distributors in 700 college communities nationwide, mtvU reaches nearly 9 million U.S. college students - making it the largest, most comprehensive television network just for college students. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, mtvU can be seen in the dining areas, fitness centers, student lounges and dorm rooms of campuses throughout the U.S., as well as on cable systems from Charter Communications, Verizon FiOS TV, Suddenlink Communications, AT&T u-Verse and nearly 70 others. mtvU is dedicated to every aspect of college life, reaching students everywhere they are: on-air, online and on campus. mtvU programs music videos from emerging artists that can't be seen anywhere else, news, student life features and initiatives that give college students the tools to advance positive social change. mtvU is always on campus, with hundreds of events per year, including exclusive concerts, giveaways, shooting mtvU series and more. For more information about mtvU, and a complete programming schedule, visit www.mtvU.com.
More On: Reign, mtvU, Stephen Friedman, Church, Saint Francis, Vatican,