Politically Active Celebrities: A Blessing or Curse?

 By Daria Antonova Contributor

Photo Courtesy of IMDbM/center>

What do we think about when we hear the word “celebrity?” We think about someone famous, someone with a ton of money, someone who gets a lot of attention, and someone who is simply from a whole different world. Throughout time, the main role of celebrities has been to entertain people and make them forget about their daily troubles. However, historically, stars have been taking on other roles, often surprising audiences. For instance, Clark Gable and other stars such as Paul Newman, Charlton Heston and Jimmy Stewart have risked their lives during World War II. More than 20 celebrities have become United Nations ambassadors. Stars have even started their own charities and and run for political office. Involvement of celebrities in these aspects of people’s lives has been both welcomed and frowned upon, and at the present time, one of the most controversial issues is whether stars should be politically active or not.

A lot of people oppose the idea of famous people becoming politically active because they believe that actors should act, musicians should make music, and dancers should dance. These people believe that it is not a celebrity’s place to make political statements, and that by doing so, stars abuse their status to influence people’s decisions regarding important matters.

Many people also believe that it is simply unprofessional for entertainers to talk about politics. For instance, the 2017 Emmys  received a lot of negative feedback due to the amount of political statements that celebrities made at the ceremony. One of them was the star of  TV show “Atlanta.” Creator Donald Glover even said “I wanna thank Trump for making black people the number one most oppressed group. He’s the reason I’m probably up here.”

Another celebrity who made a political statement at the ceremony was Riz Ahmed, who claimed, “If this show [The Night Of] has shone a light on some of the prejudice in our societies, Islamophobia, some of the injustice in our justice system, maybe that’s something. I will shout out South Asian Youth Action for helping me prepare for this, and the Innocence Project.” The Emmys ceremony was not the only event where starts talked about their political affiliations; it also happened at the Oscar ceremony, during talk shows and interviews, and on celebrities’ social media accounts.

...we have to admit that celebrities possess a large amount of resources which, if used correctly, can tremendously help us make this world a better place.

Nevertheless, even though the fact that celebrities are becoming more politically active is frustrating and unacceptable for some people, the amount of attention celebrities get should not be the reason for them to refrain from politics. We often forget that entertaining people is not the only role that celebrities have. They are also parents, friends, siblings, and, most importantly, citizens of their countries who have a right to express their opinions and concerns, including the way their governments function.

In addition, we have to admit that celebrities possess a large amount of resources which, if used correctly, can tremendously help us make this world a better place. One of the celebrities who is already making a difference is Emma Watson, the “Harry Potter” star and U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador who partnered with the  HeForShe campaign on behalf of women all over the world. Another celebrity who has been politically active is Frank Sinatra, who campaigned for U.S. Democratic presidential candidates for more than 25 years and helped promote the civil rights movement.

These examples show that the political activities of celebrities can have great outcomes and that stars just need to channel their energy the right way. Everyone should aspire to make this world a better place, so why would we deny someone’s help just because of their status?