Bear Witness

Increasing celebrity involvement in politics

Shlok Gore, Staff Writer

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Rapper Kanye West recently made waves by saying that slavery is a choice. Basketball star LeBron James was told to “shut up and dribble” after criticizing President Donald Trump. Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel openly opposed the Republican healthcare bill on his show.

Through the past few months, more and more celebrities have gotten more vocal about politics, whether it be voicing their opinion or demanding change in the government.

Because these celebrities have a massive yield of supporters, their voices were heard by millions. The impact of their ideas and speed of their deliveries were further elevated because of conduits like television and social media.

“When you have a platform, your idea gets spread a lot faster,” sophomore Cassidy Chang said.

Kimmel utilized his TV show to talk about into a severe and personal issue. His son is covered by the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which was steadily losing funding because of the Trump Administration. This program covers around 9 million American children whose parents have too large of an income to be covered by Medicaid.

“Parents of children with cancer, diabetes, and heart problems are about to get letters saying that their coverage could be canceled,” Kimmel said. His son, Billy, is covered under this program, and the potential discontinuation of Billy’s coverage prompted him to deliver a sentimental monologue during his show that highlighted his frustrations towards these funding cuts.

James voiced out his concern about President Trump’s policies and interpretations during a post-game interview. “The number one job in America, the appointed person is someone who doesn’t understand the people,” James said. The next morning, a news anchor from Fox News told him to “shut up and dribble.”  

As to why celebrities are getting more and more involved in politics, junior Kesha Srivatsan says, “I think that recent politicians such as Trump have swayed so much from the subject of politics, and their actions and views have more effects than just in politics. These effects also go into everyday life. Because of this, celebrities such as James and West feel the need to voice their opinion because Trump’s politics now come into their field.”

This factor has motivated celebrities to speak out now more than ever. Some of these opinions are reasonable, based on authentic information or personal experiences, and well-articulated. Others lack factual basis and may be deceptive in nature. For example, Kanye West caused an uproar when he stated that slavery and the inhumane conditions African-Americans endured was a choice.

“When you hear about slavery for 400 years … For 400 years? That sounds like a choice,” West tweeted.  

West, who is also an enthusiastic supporter of President Trump, has received backlash for his statement, and this continues to show how even celebrities fall under the scrutiny of the public.

Expect to see more and more public figures voice their opinions of the political realm as the field of politics becomes more and more blended with everyday life.

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Increasing celebrity involvement in politics