Celebrities use platforms to comment on social issues
Updated: Oct 29, 2020
By Jake Feldman
News & Opinions Editor
We have all heard the phrase, "shut up and ______." Whether that be in sports with the "shut up and dribble" movement or the "shut up and play" movement in music, celebrities are realizing that their fame comes with a platform, voice and influence.
In times like this where the world seems polarized and chaotic, the people with large followings have the opportunity to bring awareness to the things that matter to them. In the National Basketball Association, the entire 2020 playoffs became a showcase, not of basketball skill, but for athletes standing up for social justice.
In the current music scene, Hip Hop award-winning artist J. Cole was outspoken about protesting the death of George Floyd. Other prominent figures such as LeBron James, Jamie Foxx, Jarvis Landry and Ben Affleck also spoke up in promotion of Justice for All. These celebrities have a talent that has given them a voice and a platform to bring about change.
There will always be people who will say, "I watch sports to escape from that" or "I listen to music to get me away from those problems," but one thing that is often forgotten in the midst of this politically divided world is that celebrities are people too. They pay taxes, they benefit from governmental policies, they are citizens and people with opinions, values and beliefs just the same as everyone else.
Foxx highlighted this when he visited Minneapolis after the death of George Floyd. He said "I'm not here as a celebrity… These are my brothers. This means everything because, at the end of the day when we see you guys out here on the frontline, we want to let you know you got support." Even beyond using his platform, he spoke for the people that don't have the same platform, "All I wanted to do is let you know that we're not afraid to stand...we're not afraid of the moment." Affleck stepped out for a historically Black church in efforts to save it from being turned into a residential zone.
James has always been at the forefront of using his platform for good. "Being a champion is not about who you are, it's about what you do." James created an organization that will donate money to disenfranchised predominantly Black communities suppressed from voting.
These celebrities are simply using what they have been given to create a better world. Everyone is welcome to have an opinion, that is the beauty of America. Liberty and justice for all, including the celebrities, politicians, athletes, students and working citizens alike. We all have a platform and an opportunity to create the world that we want to live in and be the good that we want to see, so it all comes down to this: Will you use your platform and make a change for the better, or simply "shut up and _____?"