Before the internet and social media, celebrities were inaccessible, often god-like figures. Nowadays, we have direct access to a huge majority of famous people, thanks to the likes of Twitter, Instagram, et al. We see into their every day lives and learn that they aren’t all that different than us. That’s a good thing. However, the Coronavirus crisis and racial unrest in the United States has revealed something troubling. The “Haves” are often completely out of touch with the “Have Nots”. While this isn’t a new concept, our ability to glaringly see it is. All this is to say I am TIRED of celebrities.
Celebs are people, too
In the past, I’ve been a defender of famous people. I wouldn’t defend anything they did that I saw as actually problematic, like a violation of serious laws. But I tried to stick up for them as human beings. I’d hear some person’s account of a negative celebrity interaction and generally side with the celeb. “I saw Angelina Jolie at a restaurant, and she was SO MEAN!” “Well, that’s probably because you interrupted her lunch and were rude to the server, Loreen”. Everyone is the hero of his or her own story, so a celebrity being “rude” may have just been them setting boundaries like a normal human.
And then, Coronavirus happened. Then the most recent Black Lives Matter movement happened. And, boy, were celebrities tripping over themselves to give us their hot takes about both.
Lights, camera, SHHHH!
Of course, every person – famous or not – is entitled to have an opinion on most anything. Some celebrities have first-hand experience of one or both of these crises, making their opinions not just welcome, but important. A few other folks need to take a seat, though. For example, I hate that I have to criticize Wonder Woman, but actress Gal Gadot was one of the first offenders. Near the start of quarantine in the U.S., she recruited celebrities to do a sing-along video of “Imagine”. It was cute and entertaining, but did absolutely nothing to help people. Not to mention, it’s REAL hard to feel sorry for anyone who went through quarantine in their multi-million dollar home.
With the Black Lives Matter movement, advocates say there is a very fine line between support and self-indulgence. Celebrities speaking out about a political movement is fine. But they should be mindful of the core tenants of that movement. Activists say that minority voices must be at the forefront, since they are downplayed even in non-BLM moments. So, when several celebs created a “Take Responsibility” video, discussing their contribution to systemic racism, it was well-intentioned, but a bit tone deaf. White celebrities shouldn’t be the focus at this moment in time. Furthermore, celebrities are in a unique position to help promote minority actors, artists, community organizers, and so forth, which may be a much more valuable contribution.
Who’s doing it for the money?
None of this even scratches the surface of celebrities who have done their darnedest to actually undermine one or both movements. (Looking at you, Evangeline Lilly.) It’s also hard to estimate how many of these celebrities actually want to help people and which ones are hoping to cash in on what’s currently popular. I normally don’t mind celebrities profiting from their own marketing, but not when people are literally dying from both of these current major issues.
I understand the irony of me giving my opinion on celebrities’ opinions. And the other side of this debate is that silence is also unhelpful. There’s a happy medium though – where celebrities do what they can with their fame and fortune to help while not making the matter solely about them. I also know that though I am tired of celebrities, others may disagree. They may saw that celebrity opinions about these important matters are an effective means for shining a spotlight on them. That may very well be true, but they can stop with the livestreams about social distancing while at their pool. This time, I’ll side with Loreen.