Celebrities and Politics?

After winning a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy for her film Florence Foster Jenkins, Meryl Streep devoted a large portion of ter acceptance speech to talk about her views about the now President Donald Trump.

Business Insider

After winning a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy for her film Florence Foster Jenkins, Meryl Streep devoted a large portion of ter acceptance speech to talk about her views about the now President Donald Trump.

Atira Nair, Staff Writer

During and after last year’s election, many celebrities, from Meryl Streep to Mark Wahlberg, have come out and spoken about their own political opinions. Many have criticized these celebrities, claiming that they should not be involved in politics. Although there have been mistakes, there are many possible benefits of having celebrities speak up about issues. Celebrities should be able to speak up about politics, as they help bring issues to the spotlight, and encourage people to get involved in an issue.

Many famous celebrities use social media platforms to state a tweet or a solitary, noncommittal statement about the election or some isse. These occurrences sometimes cause controversy and result in many people claiming that celebrities are not qualified to talk about politics. When talking about whether celebrities should get into politics or not, I don’t mean that politics should be used as a publicity stunt by celebrities. Celebrities should state opinions when knowing what they’re talking about and understanding the concept. This way, they can bring attention to issues such as sexism, xenophobia, discrimination, climate change and a variety of other social and environmental issues that need to be talked about. We already see this work in positive ways. For example, Sam Smith and Lady Gaga have spoken up about LGBTQ rights and sexual abuse victims respectively during their speeches at the 2016 Oscars. These events have led to discussions about these issues in the media and at home. Another example is the Women’s March where celebrities like Natalie Portman, Chrissy Teigen, and Ke$ha have participated, encouraging others to march with them. Celebrities have influence and are held in high standing. Thus, they have the power to get their opinion and issue through to the public, which could result in people going to protest, going to the polls more often, and speaking up for about issues.

Some people argue that celebrities are not in touch with the average American and don’t really know much about politics. Many celebrities actually understand much of politics or issues they choose to talk about, such as Emma Watson with feminism, Leonardo DiCaprio with climate change, and Lin Manuel Miranda on Puerto Rico. In an article by Investopedia, journalist Martha V. Shelton lists many different outspoken celebrities who used their fame to bring awareness to issues and how they influenced the public. For example, she talks about George Clooney’s investment in humanitarian issues in Sudan, and how his subsequent arrest due to his activism resulted in media coverage. This, in turn, caught the public’s attention and brought light to the issues in Sudan. She says, “The American public’s awareness of these issues was enhanced by these celebrities’ awareness” (Investopedia). Clearly, celebrities such as George Clooney are well informed about their issues and highly committed to them. Furthermore, celebrities opinions are not immediately invalid, just because they are performers or entertainers. Many believe that celebrities are not educated or invested enough to talk randomly or noncommittal about politics. This may apply to some celebrities, however, my main argument does not advocate for these kind of political talks, but actually educated celebrities to discuss issues meaningfully and act on their beliefs.

Despite many arguing that celebrities should not talk about politics and stick to their lane in entertaining, I believe if celebrities discussed important issues, this could lead to more public awareness of issues, more people in polling booths, and action taken. Celebrities have influence, therefore they have the power to speak up and be heard. They should use this advantage to bring important issues to light.