- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 22 February 2017
- Written by JANAYA LEWINSKI | STAFF WRITER
Lately, because of the people like Tomi Lahren, an opinionated online video host, being a celebrity and using your platform to address a political belief or standpoint is a problem.
Being that celebrities are people, I feel like they are entitled to use their status to rally people around what they believe in. It is human and we all do it.
Of course, not as many people are listening to me as they are to say, Ashton Kutcher, but we are all entitled, nonetheless. Just because they have larger platforms than you and I does not make it wrong. Politics are for the people, for us, no matter who you are.
Celebrities and politics are synonymous and have been for quite a while. With all the complaining she does about keeping politics celebrity free, you could easily forget that Tomi Lahren herself comes from the party of Regan, movie star turned president and possibly the most famous example of celebrity turned political. But, as Lahren says, celebrities should just “perform” and keep their noses out of politics.
To quote her directly, Lahren says, “[In reference to Lady Gaga at the Super Bowl] she chose to just sing instead. What a concept? An entertainer just sticking to entertainment.” And currently, should I just forget the amount of times the 45th president spent on television? He is the first reality star turned president; I guess that is quite the accomplishment—emphasis on the “I guess.” I wonder what would have happened if former president Regan and current President Trump, stuck to entertaining.
The Republican party is not the only party where celebrities made the move to politics. Al Franken, the junior senator from Minnesota used to be a regular on Saturday Night Live. Sacramento mayor, Kevin Johnson used to be a fixture in the NBA spending time on the Cleveland Cavaliers in the late 1980’s before joining the Phoenix Suns for the duration of his career. Essentially, Democratic celebrities are just as likely to head the call to public service.
With the calls to serve in public office aside, is it okay for celebrities to bring politics into their everyday lives? I cannot think of a better way to say “OH MY GOD YES,” so there, I said it. People are entitled to their own opinions. That is the beauty of this nation, the Constitution, and the premises of our founding “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” for anyone wondering.
Some pertinent examples of celebrities in politics would be Rowan Blanchard, Chris Evans, Kerry Washington, Oprah Winfrey, and Angelina Jolie, just to name a few. The celebrities use the positions they are in to give back to their communities, and to the country.
And yes, that involves using their platforms to have a conversation about things that matter to them. For example, Beyoncé used her 2016 Super Bowl performance to raise awareness about black empowerment and Meryl Streep using an acceptance speech to denounce deplorable political actions.
I have a hard time separating celebrity and politics, because the line has always been blurred, in my opinion. If we live in a country founded on the principles of freedom, I do not understand why it would not be okay for celebrities to join the conversation. Celebrity or not, you are entitled to personal politics. People are multi-dimensional; do not forget that when you think that entertainers should just “entertain.”
Ashton Kutcher said it best in his senate hearing last week when he explained how some people were going to say he should stick to his “day job” of acting. But realistically if he did, he would not have been able to save hundreds of trafficking victims through his foundation, Thorn.
Every voice matters, celebrity or not.
Our voices can be just as influential as theirs, but we need to stop being bitter about the amplitude that celebrity voices receive and start searching to amplify our own voices.