Celebrities and politics

Taylor Swift decided the time was right to address political issues.

photo via Wikimedia Commons under creative commons license

Taylor Swift decided the time was right to address political issues.

Alex Lasin, Staff writer

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Celebrities and politics are a controversial mix and raises the question of whether or not celebs should use their platform to exert political influence. Many argue forms of entertainment are often meant to be means of escaping the realities, such as politics, but the influence of such a prominent part of the nation’s culture shouldn’t be neglected.

When Colin Kaepernick first sat during the national anthem in August of 2016, a spotlight was shined on the topic of athletes using their platform to protest injustice, and has received much criticism since.

Fox News reporter Laura Ingraham expressed her distaste for Lebron James’s criticism of President Donald Trump and vacuously stated he should “shut up and dribble”. Professional American athletes are citizens all the same, they just happen to have hundreds, if not thousands, of people watching them on a regular basis. The fact that people of influence have a nationwide audience watching and listening to what they have to say is a powerful tool that should be utilized. After all, with a big platform comes a big responsibility.

With the upcoming 2018 midterm elections, Taylor Swift recently broke her political silence in an Instagram post in which she endorsed Democratic candidates Phil Bredesen and Jim Cooper, and encouraged followers to register to vote. For the duration of her career, Swift had been particularly apolitical but stated “several events in [her] life and in the world in the past two years” have changed her views on remaining silent.  A majority of Swift’s fans are young women and girls who happen to be a powerful demographic when it comes to elections; this is why it is so important for her to use her voice.

Conversely, Kanye West has always been vocal about his opinions on politicians, although his politics have evolved over the past decade and a half. Kanye’s sentiments are not limited to his music, but also his impromptu expressions such as his 2005 statement, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people”, and his recent professions of admiration for President Donald Trump. While West may struggle to convey what he means clearly, he has never shied away from using his voice in regard to social and political issues.

Celebrities obtain a large, often diverse audience, and regardless of whether or not their audience agrees with whatever stance they may hold, it can start a dialogue about issues impacting the nation and lead to a more informed society.

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