Celebrities Voicing Political Opinions

Mia Habib, Reporter

At the Golden Globes ceremony on January 8, Meryl Streep made a fiery speech on the importance of protecting journalism. She attempted to convey the message to her audience about the importance of their relationship with the foreign press in order to safeguard the truth under the presidency of Donald Trump.

Streep attacked his campaign rhetoric and spoke of the heartbreak she felt when discovering Trump mocked a disabled reporter. Her speech drew criticism from many people, accusing Streep and other Hollywood actors of being hypocrites.

More recently, several performers at the SAG awards gave similarly impassioned speeches against Trump’s policies, which then appeared all over Facebook and Instragram the following day.

David Harbour gave a moving speech after receiving the award for best ensemble in his show “Stranger Things.” He encouraged his fellow actors to battle fear, self-centeredness, and exclusivity through their art and to cultivate a more empathetic and understanding society “by revealing intimate truths that serve as a forceful reminder to folks that, when they feel broken and afraid and tired, they are not alone.”

With their huge platforms as highly respected actors and actresses, these performers had every right to speak their minds to not only their peers in the audience, but also the nation, as they are protected under our Constitution’s First Amendment.

Their words struck the heartstrings of people across the country and caused them to really think about journalism, immigration, Islam, and more from a new perspective.

While it’s a common argument that celebrities should simply entertain and let the politicians do their job, the benefit of celebrities vocalizing their stance on global issues is their ability to advocate for people not as easily heard.

Those who criticize celebrities for speaking up about politics tend to forget that Donald Trump himself is a celebrity who spoke up about politics, and is now our president.

As part of a democracy in the Unites States, many citizens still find themselves feeling as though their political efficacy is tanking. If one of Hollywood’s many entertainers speaks about an issue that an impacted citizen may find important to her, it can be then brought to light more easily as everyone will listen to a household name on television.

Therefore, by speaking out to the world about an issue that may align with the less prominent person’s concerns, the famous person, whether intentionally or not, advocates for the person not as easily heard.

Finally, celebrities speaking to the public about their stance on a certain issue or opinion can bring awareness to all sorts of issues. Diane Guerrero, well-known for her role in Orange is the New Black as Maritza Ramos, spoke in an interview about the real struggles of being in a family of undocumented immigrants.

She gave insight on their intentions when moving to the United States and the heartbreaking feeling as she watched her parents who worked so hard for her get literally dragged out of their home.

By opening up to the public about these very personal experiences, awareness was brought to the process of immigration and what comes of it.

In our country’s political climate, voicing opinions is something celebrities should be able to embrace just like everyone else since they have protection of free speech just as well.

Through the use of their platforms, the benefits that come from celebrities voicing their political opinions and perspectives allows for the encouragement of a more diversified society and therefore, should be embraced and celebrated.