Fame and Politics

Xavier Vazquez, Writer

Photo by Getty Images

In today’s social climate, politics play an important role in our lives, something we must deal with as we go throughout our days. Such is this role that we have politicized every single important issue that affects our society, even our human rights.

When a celebrity speaks out on any of these topics, it’s common to hear others say “Just act, you’re an actor,” or “Why ruin the sport with this junk?” Comments like these make it seem like these celebrities are not people with life experiences and opinions. When prominent figures speak on certain topics, they spread awareness and encourage action, rather than staying quiet and ignoring the problem, which yields no resolution. Celebrities are looked up to – they are role models; if they speak up, their following will pay attention to those issues.

For instance, NBA players have done a lot to get their point across, including allowing players to kneel during the national anthem, put social justice messages on the backs of their jerseys, pay homage to Breonna Taylor, and even cancel and reschedule playoff games. This shows a truly inclusive league. Letting players stand up for what they think is right shows a lot. It shows children looking up to these men that just because some of them are minorities, they are not lesser and have power that can be used for good. It helps people speak out as they know they have someone in the limelight who agrees with them. 

However, not everyone sees such activism as positive. Many think the League has gotten “too political” or see it as virtue signaling. I think that argument is baseless, as many of the league’s players, being part of the black community, have personally encountered the injustices that come with being a person of color in America. Calling that ‘virtue signaling’ is tasteless.

Shifting to another political issue, take global warming. It has been talked about many times throughout the years. At the Oscars, while Leonardo DiCaprio was accepting his long-awaited Oscar statue, rather than giving the usual speech thanking the Academy, he shed a light on one of the most important issues for our planet: global warming and its dangers. Once DiCaprio gave that speech, the news cycle the following day was riddled with the topic of global warming and possible solutions. 

Though some may not like the idea of famous people intertwining themselves with politics and believe they should “stick to what they know,” this example – along with countless others – shows celebrity activism can have a positive outcome when they make their voices heard.