posted on: Thursday September 27, 2018
by Julia McCoy ’22
The beginning of this year brought us award shows with red carpets full of celebrities standing together in solidarity to raise awareness for the Time’s Up movement. Now, nearly nine months later, we saw a more subtle attempt at political commentary during this year’s Emmy Awards.
Though the distinct coordination that we saw at the Golden Globes and the Oscars was missing, it is clear that celebrities will continue to use their voices to fight. While it may strike some as odd to use award shows as a moment for political commentary, the spotlighted platform is the perfect moment for any award winner to seize the opportunity to speak up for what they believe in.
The Emmys started with a skit called “We Solved It,” which discussed the show’s most diverse nominations ever. In it, celebrities including Kate McKinnon and John Legend jokingly celebrated this historic moment, claiming that America’s diversity problems were solved.
It is quite obvious that we have not, in fact, solved the diversity issues facing the United States. However, bringing attention to the slight progress that has been made allows us to recognize the ability and room for improvement.
Similarly, many jokes were made throughout the night at the expense of men who have recently been ostracized from Hollywood’s society. Jokes like these and the overall idea of the Times Up movement are inherently political and bound to cause controversy.
By speaking out about these issues, celebrities are lending their voices to a global cause that has taken over the world in the past few years.
These actions remind us of the hard work and advocacy of many women, not just celebrities. It is as if these famous people are using their status to shine a light on those who do not get to speak on such a spotlighted platform.
Acceptance speeches at this year’s show also left room for some political commentary. In her speech for Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role for a Comedy, Rachel Brosnahan of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel told everyone to vote this fall.
Everyone who has watched an awards show knows how fast you have to speak during an acceptance speech. The fact that Brosnahan used her last few seconds to emphasize voting shows how important it truly is.
In today’s polarized society, it is hard to speak out for what you believe in without being scrutinized, which is why using such a global platform can be risky.
However, it is extremely important to take these risks if you want to make a change. Celebrities have such a significant platform that reaches many people. The use of their voices as a way to incite discussion and change is a powerful thing that should not be taken lightly by any means.
Many people believe that celebrities should not involve themselves in the political world; they claim it is out of their realm of understanding. While this may be true, the entire point of a democracy is to allow every person to have a voice and an influence on the government. Famous people, with their immense followings, have the ability to truly participate in democracy by sharing their ideas and allowing them to spread much faster than those of ordinary people.
So yes, it may be true that celebrities are not the most knowledgeable on subjects such as politics and government, but if they believe something strongly enough, they should be allowed to share it on any platform they wish, not because they are forcing anyone to agree with their ideas, but because they are allowing people to hear what they have to say.
If it resonates with someone, they have made a difference in a way no one else can.