Woohyun Song / Valencia HS 12th Grade
In light of recent events, many people around the world have been speaking up against the immense amount of oppression that many minorities and especially blacks have been facing throughout history. From these voices, the most visible is that of socially prominent figures, such as celebrities.
This “celebrity activism” has been greatly criticized recently, with some of the criticism being pointed at how empty their statements actually are and how little actual action is actually being done by the celebrities despite their claims and social privileges.
There has been a vast spectrum of differing opinions on the issue. Many have been seen in full support of the celebrity activists, such as high schooler Kenneth Yang, who has said that “[ . . . ] celebrities speaking up about particularly the BLM movement is very influential to others that are not in support of such movements. Examples such as Keke Palmer talking to national guards was a big influence on the Internet and that it should be happening more. In terms of COVID celebrities such as NBA players speaking up is very impactful and important to spread a message,” with a fairly positive take on the influence that celebrities can have on the progression of the movement.
On the other hand, many have stated how meaningless the statements are and in some cases how the celebrities should not speak up because of their immense distance from the issue. Standup comedian Dave Chapelle had spoken about celebrity activism in his latest Netflix special called “8:46,” saying how him “[talking] over the work these [civilian activists] are doing [ . . . ],” would not have any major effects.
Despite their sizable fanbase and platform, celebrity activists have proved to do very little. The most some celebrities do is post an effortless, meaningless statement on how they will “take responsibility” for societal prejudices they benefit from or in many cases, simply a post that says “BLM” without much explanation or context.
This can easily be interpreted as mere PR stunts to “show” their support for the recent activism against racism by using incredibly all-encompassing and vague statements that do not actually bring about change for the sake of not polarising and losing their own fans.
The most recent example of this can be seen with the “I Take Responsibility” video that was recently published on various different social media platforms. Their lack of action infuriated many activists and they were consequently criticized heavily, just like the cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine” did when it came out.
Here it comes to show how the issue lies not entirely within the roles as celebrities, but the incredible lack of responsibility and action that many of them have done, with only a few prominent examples of the “good” celebrities, such as the active work put in by those such as John Boyega, Noname, and even Kanye to a certain degree.
<Woohyun Song / Valencia HS 12th Grade