We have recently endured a tumultuous period in the political world and have been continually bombarded with information to the point that it is difficult to know what to believe. Whether this is in relation to Trump, Brexit or any other controversial political events many ordinary citizens have been left confused. People may be getting even more confused when celebrities become involved.
When Kanye West entered the White House wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat to publicly show his support for Donald Trump it spoke volumes; it was shared over multiple news platforms, across social media and it left people talking. Was this for the right reasons?
With over 12.5 million followers on Twitter alone, Kanye made his political stance clear to every single one of his fans. Should he have spoken about his beliefs and support for the Republican party so passionately and so publicly?
Many would argue that celebrities should not involve themselves in politics simply because entertainers should entertain and leave politics to the professionals. That is assuming that celebrities are uneducated about the politics that they represent and do not know what they are talking about. This is an unfair assumption as many celebrities are passionate about the subject and want to see the right changes made. Furthermore, some people who rose to stardom experienced a ‘rags to riches’ story, therefore they know what it is like to be an ordinary citizen and should be able to advocate for them.
Others believe that celebrity influence might be damaging. In an era of social media, celebrity culture is everywhere and young fans look up to their stars meaning they could be seen as too influential. Celebrities, like Kanye, could be influencing their fans to conform to a certain political view and using their platform to do so.
There was a spike in voter registration, especially in young people according to Vote.org, for the US Midterm Elections after Taylor Swift urged her fans to vote during her acceptance speech at the American Music Awards on Sunday. Swift pushed her fans to become involved and vote for what they believe in. Surely, this is an example of a celebrity using their platform to influence their fans in a good way?
If a celebrity wants to use their platform to discuss politics, then shouldn’t they have the freedom of speech to do so? They have a right to have their own beliefs and express them, but they should do this responsibly. Perhaps in an age where people admire and look up to celebrities and are constantly surrounded by social media celebrity influence could be beneficial. If they are educated about what they are talking about, suggest that their fans make informed decisions and do not push their own beliefs on to them this could increase political participation, interest and, engagement in younger people. Something that politicians strive and oftentimes fail to do.
The public are prey to several different influences on a daily basis, whether that is through celebrities, social media, teachers, bosses or even family members. It is always important to research and make your own educated decision regarding politics; whatever you choose could one day affect you. Make sure you make the right choice for you.
What are your thoughts on celebrity participation in politics? Radar would love to hear your thoughts, either leave us a comment or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org