Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past two weeks you will be aware of Kanye West’s recent twitter rampage, throughout which he made several controversial statements about the current President and slavery.
The affair struck me and provoked the question as to why in one of the most important states politics has become something of a Hollywood. The day after her remarkable Golden Globe speech Oprah had caused the media to go into a frenzy, indicating that the 2020 presidential race could be Oprah versus Trump. The ‘news’ was surprisingly greeted by an array of overexcited Americans, perhaps due to the idea that the nation would soon be governed by a liberal female, black president… or the idea that everyone’s favourite talk-show host could be running the country. Without a doubt a female, black president would be a landmark in American history but are we forgetting that the star has not got the experience required for running the worlds hegemon?
The concept of ex-celebrity politicians is not something fresh for the states, with Trump being a television personality and previously having Reagan (former B-movie actor) as president during the 1980s and Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Governor for California and yes both had their successes, but this does not indicate that all celebrities are qualified for a career in politics. Perhaps the success of celebrities is due to the widespread dislike of modern politicians in contrast to these adored public figures, or perhaps their success comes with the rise of populism as many celebrity campaigns have been populist.
Despite this though, I am not writing this with the intent to spurn celebrity involvement in the political sphere. The key issue regarding luminary involvement in politics is when the views and information being broadcasted to their large platform is incorrect or badly articulated. There have been several cases, including Kanye’s most recent exploits, where stars have expressed ill-researched ‘facts.’ Typically, when this happens the mistake is usually realised quickly, and an apology issued, followed by some media backlash. But although the effects don’t appear severe the true problem lies amongst those fans that have taken the information at face value.
Whether they like it or not celebrities have a significant amount of influence, particularly on the younger generation so consequently it is crucial for celebrities to wholly research any information or opinions that they broadcast.
Regardless of the negative impression surrounding some recent political outbursts from celebrities it is worth considering that it remains a valuable attribute of our society that we are able to freely share our opinions with countless people at once. So even if a star’s political stance doesn’t draw a parallel with your own it remains impressive that so many celebrities are now taking an active interest in the contemporary political sphere. Having been essential for the surge in rights movements and generating large amounts of support for causes that potentially would have slipped under the radar.
By Hollie Cook