Policies of the newest USA president Donald Trump don’t go unnoticed. In his short time in office, a week after his inauguration, his acts and policies have taken the headlines. A day after his inauguration, The Women’s March took place. Last Sunday the Screen Guild Awards got political. With the awards season started, I expect more and more actors, musicians and celebrities would speak up and share their political views on this administration. Either they will show their political colours on the red carpet or during acceptance speeches.
One thing has intrigued me; do the opinions of celebrities matter? Be it political, race inequality, genderism, animal rights or other domains. Actually I hate this word – celebrities – as today it seems that almost everyone who’s been on a media could be branded as a celebrity. This post is about influential A-listed actors, musicians, authors, anchors who have gained fame, merit and respect because of their craft.
The list of famous people who do this is long and this has happened from many decades ago. In 1973 Marlon Brando sent a Native American actress to collect his Academy Award on his behalf. By doing this Brando showed his view about how film industry treated Native Americans. Beyoncé supports Black Lives Matter. French actress Brigitte Bardot established her foundation to protect animal rights. Audrey Hepburn was a UNICEF ambassador because she experienced how it was to live as a kid during World War II in Arnhem, The Netherlands.
Some of them pursued their political views and aspirations and they have turned into politicians: Ronald Reagan was USA president, Clint Eastwood was mayor in Carmel, Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor of California.
In 1985 musician Bob Geldof organised Live Aid, a benefit live concert raising fund to counter famine in Ethiopia. In that same year USA artists got together and released We are the world under the name USA for Africa with the same intention: fighting the famine in Ethiopia.
Actors, musicians, authors and other famous people in the media are well-known in broad public. By sharing their views, they present themselves as citizens, they exercise their rights to speak up. A number of them might have experiencing it first hand of through their families. Several of them sympathize with certain values and they want to share it because they care and are aware of the ability to reach broad public.
It is interesting to see how public react to this. Online I saw a couple of comments that they’d rather see these celebrities performing their craft than being political. Several comments don’t mind them sharing their political opinions. Part of them are uncomfortable about this.
While being politically engaged for celebrities is not news, (social) media contribute pressure to how people see it. Some say that opinionated celebrities are branded being elitist while in fact they might have lost ties with reality. I see no harm in using the fame to reach more people as they bring the it to the spotlight. By using their influence it might help building awareness or simply putting some causes for people to know more.
Do you think opinions of well-known people on certain domains, matter?
Featured image is from ABC News.