Celebrities Can Change the Minds of Millions
Around the globe, celebrities serve as role models, gaining the attention of the media and the general public. Many, who are well-informed on the topics at hand, have sacrificed their time for the greater good. For instance, Jackie Chan is a candidate that has shown dedication and more than just being able to raise dollars. He has visited the hardest to reach areas of China to bring warm clothing, supplies, and as well help build schools. Another example is when Chan heard about the 2007 Yunnan earthquake, Chan immediately began making phone calls to find out what supplies were needed and how he could help. Jackie Chan is just one of many celebrities who dedicate a lot of their time to humanitarian work. Celebrities should use their influence as a platform to promote social change because they are able to gather the media and the general public to make a statement regarding these issues. However, it is important that celebrities must be well-informed and keep in mind that their actions are for the greater good and not to benefit themselves before they reach out to ask for change and support.
In activism, celebrities are able to reach out to a large fan base, consisting of millions of different ages, races, and political beliefs. An average American does not have the equivalent magnitude as celebrities do to reach out to the larger masses. Celebrities should be responsible in how they influence in order to stir up a positive change in society. In the article, “Beyonce and Why Celebrity Activists Matter,” the author describes the importance of celebrity activism. During the Super Bowl XLVII halftime show, performer Beyonce put forth the message of black power and pride to an audience of over 112 million people. For many, this was outraging, to many others, it was inspiring. “If they [celebrities] are educated and dedicated they can inspire people to look deeper, to do research, to get involved and affect change.” As the author puts it, “celebrity activists matter.” They do. When celebrities are doing it for the right reasons, and not to create a brand for themselves, to spark a chain reaction whether it makes an influence locally, or federally. This exemplifies that legislators are not the only individuals who can create change through enacting new laws and bills. “The reason why her video and halftime show is important, and why similar efforts by celebrity activists over the decades have mattered, is because they can leverage their fame to help sway public opinion, which is key to changing public policy”. Again, the influence of celebrities reaches out to the various groups of people, legislators being one of them. Even though celebrities don’t have the power to change government laws and policies, officials who hear the statements made by celebrities now have the opportunity to revise or enact new laws and bills. New laws and bills will grab the attention of many people, and it will create a series of chain events that hopefully will accomplish the goals coming from celebrities. Again, celebrities have the power to influence others, possibly even leading more people to become more regularly involved in social and political issues. All of this would probably not have occurred if the actions wouldn’t be as successful if another lesson known group attempted. Celebrities are the centerpiece to change the minds of millions, and their influence on the media and the general public can raise awareness on certain issues.
How it works
Celebrities gain a large following because of their skill in a particular industry. Some are athletes, actors, and actresses, comedians, or musicians, who are very knowledgeable in the sport or whatever industry that they are in. Yet, when it comes to social or political issues, some may not have a background and real understanding of the issues. In the article “Who Really Benefits from Celebrity Activism?” Georgia Cole et al. acknowledges that having such a large audience can stir up unintended results. Celebrities may not have a strong grasp of policy and social change, some may say that celebrities tend to take the easy route even though the situation is very complex, can lead to oversimplification and misunderstandings. Cole states that “the problem with celebrity causes is that they mislead their audience to another direction often making their audience see that he or she has solved the problem.” While celebrities may be resourceful in raising awareness, they often lack the professionalism and intellect required to make qualified assertions. Celebrity activists sometimes raise a plethora of unnecessary awareness, when the real problem lies in how to actually combat or resolve an issue in an organized and cost-efficient manner.
While many say that it is great that celebrities raise awareness, some say it can sometimes be misleading and unnecessary, leading to worse problems. For example, “actor George Clooney has taken great interest in Darfur; Madonna and Oprah Winfrey have embraced the fight for girls’ education in Africa, while Angelina Jolie knocks at the doors of the major center of powers as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador to promote humanitarian relief. Unfortunately, many of the policies and remedies promoted by this ever-growing influx of celebrity activists have been heavily criticized for being paternalistic, detached from reality and often dangerously counterproductive”. In the perspective of the media and general public’s standpoint, this is all very beneficial to areas that need relief. However, the Kony 2012 Campaign is an example that brought debate whether or not it was actually beneficial. Upon further examination this campaign, to many this San Diego based organization seems to have the wrong intentions. Their campaign did bring a lot of attention to their organization, perhaps the attention they had wanted. Regardless, celebrities should not solely donate X amount of money to a group, but actually be involved of process even though it might be challenging. For those who can’t take the heat, this route is probably not the best option.
Celebrities around the world have put in tremendous effort to promote social change. However, some create worse problems by oversimplifying the issue or have false intentions. Celebrities should listen and support well-known and qualified individuals and organizations about the content of the situation and how the problem can be really solved, even if it is difficult and requires time. Celebrities should come about through ideas that are apolitical which the media and the general public will pay attention to. They must have a clear understanding of the complexities of the issues which they seek to participate in. Celebrities should not take part of activism if their methods involving enriching their brand. Misinformation and oversimplification hurt the cause and often end up interfering with the issue rather than solving any sort of problem.