Celebrity Activism in the Time of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Vanessa Guillen
The political and racial climate of the world is heated and revolving more than ever! The Black Lives Matters movement has grown to be the largest civil rights movement the world has seen and actively participated in, to date!
On Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube we’ve seen more and more celebrities fall into cancel culture over some racists and problematic instances they’ve partaken in. YouTubers like Jeffree Star who was called out for using the N-word on multiple accounts as well as even telling a black fan that they should bleach their skin. Talk. about cringeworthy! Then we have people like Shane Dawson who made fun of Trayvon Martin after his death in a ‘comedy’ video.
People can be so vile, ignorant, and bluntly disrespectful!
However, we’ve seen the staging of white ally support with other celebrities like the on and off problematic Kardashian Jenner crew who only spoke on and posted a picture on Instagram when prompted by fans questioning why they haven’t spoken out yet. In particular Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian, and Kylie Jenner who all have black children and/or partners.
In the world we live in, we are going to need more than a picture posted of support, especially coming from the individuals who love everything about Black culture, Black fashion, Black music, and Black heritage, but not Black People!
These same people who also love having Black partners for the problematic myths about Black people in the bedroom or who only want cute curly-haired babies, but are silent until urged to speak out when it comes to instances like George Floyd.
We as a social culture need to stand firmly and demand better of the celebrities we look up to or allow to have so much content and merchandise in our homes, on our social media, or on our person.
For too long, Black and African peoples have been fed empty promises by the government, and mainstream cultures have washed over us for too long alongside other BIPOC.
Today we’re gonna dive into a few examples of celebrities that do more than post a picture. People who have money, fame, and still have time to be humble and speak for what is right. These are individuals that don’t need fans to ask them to be enraged or disgusted. For some of these celebrities, it comes innately to their character to be angry or disgusted because they know and understand the struggle. They also understand white privilege, and not defensive about it.
The British Nigerian actor feared that his career in white Hollywood had ended after passionately giving a speech at a protest at Hyde Park in London! He continues to preach in tears begging everyone around him to acknowledge his existence.
Fame aside he demanded to be seen as a human being! The bare minimum that other humans to this day still do not understand! His anger was boiling, his sadness an inherited and generational trauma of a whole community in pain. Boyega speaks to a vision of hope, and his speech, unfortunately, echos all of Dr. King’s hopes in his ‘I Have A Dream’ Speech.
It’s 2020 and BIPOC people are still fighting, begging, and demanding to be seen and heard! Boyega stood his ground and didn’t give a flying crap about his career being on the line. He wanted to stand by and for his people and his community.
And he makes a valid point about all these movements maintaining order, organization, and heart!
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Since the royal couple has moved out of the palace, relocated to Canada, and given up certain royal privileges, tons of British media have taken to slander Meghan Markle and not her husband Prince Harry.
Meghan has taken the brunt end of all the racist remarks, constant sexist claims, and belittlement. She dusted them all off with some Black Girl Magic because no time for hater over here! When they go low, you go high.
Prince Harry and Meghan took to creating video followed by a plea and plan to continue open discussions about the events surrounding the death of George Floyd and the plethora of problematic issues throughout Canada as well.
Prince Harry as a straight religious white man has understood how to be a proper ally while giving space for BIPOC to be heard and seen without claiming or owning the space.
Take notes Kim K.
Most people don’t know that Hasley is a mixed-race Black woman. A jaw-dropping revelation isn’t it; that a Black woman can be lighter-skinned? This world has so much growing to do in terms of colorism.
Halsey stepped out of her comfort zone and has addressed her light-skinned privilege a few times before. However, unlike other celebrities who just speak of support with empty words and no followup actions, Halsey was down in the trenches using her platform to garner volunteers who would help care for protesters who had been shot at, assaulted, or beaten by police officers during all the peacefully intended protests!
Watch her giving medical attention to rubber bullet survivors, giving water to those who couldn’t feel their lounge anymore from running away from the violence at the hands of cops.
She was shot at and tear-gassed herself, yet she found a way to help others around her.
As all these go on, we know that some celebrities who have strong platforms and even more reasons to make a strong stand against racism could hardly step away from Snapchat to help a bigger cause that doesn’t involve money or sing along TikTok videos?
Michael B Jordan
In the same vein of John Boyega, Michale B Jordan called out all the racism and current problematic issues that infest Hollywood movies and culture today!
So many people against the growing movement have criticized people like Jordan for being ‘unpatriotic’, ‘anti-white’, and ‘ignorant’. Michael B Jordan is far from any of those labels.
Jordan has proven his care for his career and the community that surrounds what he does as an actor. He advocated for justice for the innocent deaths of BIPOC and believes that there should be immediate changes to the way Hollywood, hires, writes, promotes, and engages with BIPOC.
Hollywood has no excuses for why there aren’t more BIPOC and other marginalized groups on screen as well as these individuals not being used a diversity quota or haphazardly thrown onto the set to be a token Black person or token Gay person. Do they have to wait until 2040s to get while diversity is the more important to their trade?
Whatever we did to deserve a fearless icon like Jane Fonda, the world may never know. Fonda has built an entire career making movies that address problematic companies, climate change, racial injustice, sexism, and inclusion,and diverse women’s rights! Pick a movie of hers and you will more than likely find such issues she supports or wanted to discuss.
During these trying times, Fonda, an 82-year-old white American has proven herself down for the cause! Sis has gotten arrested on four different occasions standing up for those who weren’t being seen or heard equally.
The actress has understood white privilege a long while ago and continues to use her social media platform, hosts interviews, and open discussions, as well as shows up during protests to express her sincere support of the movement and discontent with law enforcement and social backlash.
She blogs and continues to let BIPOC, other marginalized peoples, and fellow white allies know that they need to keep fighting, keep expressing empathy, and to keep pushing for a change the future needs.
We can no longer afford sweet empty nothings. We can no longer allow injustices to slip through the cracks. We can no longer allow celebrities and politicians (locally and federally) to remain silent. The world has been silent for so long. Too many white people believe that racism ended when the Civil Rights Movement stopped. Too many white people don’t understand or believe in privilege because Obama became president.
A simple post and some famous people throwing money at a charity without a followup or an active engagement of service aren’t going to cut it anymore. Similarly, merely taking the leadership of a charity organization that serves people of color- the position you secure with privilege anyway – doesn’t cajole anyone anymore, and obedience at your commands doesn’t mean that you earned it. More interesting, staging a black and white video with an apology for being white is not what the movement is looking for.
No more white tears over here today y’all!
The movement is looking changes to happen from inside everyone’s hearts. You need to find the courage to unlearn this beast of racism you’ve been conditioned and programmed to embrace or ignore.
Google is a free resource, and tons of books, TED Talks, and video essays exist about the real, non-whitewashed history of our current world, and we all need to jump on the right side of history to get this boat in motion. There are no more excuses in this modernized world!
If you don’t “see race” or you claim that you are color-blind like many “soft” racists have claimed, experts agreed by now that this is a choice you make. It doesn’t change the fact that there’s racism, that you are racist, or that you are profiting from racism.
We must hold ourselves, our communities, and others accountable in order to make progressive steps, laws, and policies toward true justice and socio-political change!
Arrest the cops who murdered Breonna Taylor! No Justice No Peace Until George Floyd’s name is not in vain. Black Lives Matter has got your back, Vanessa Guillen!
Black Lives Matter! No Justice, No Peace!
The perspectives of our community matter in media! It’s about our voice, and taking control of our narratives. Please join and support us!
Visit AfroGist Media channels often for news updates. Access other thoughts and analyses here, reach out to post your commentaries, and feature your platform. Watch shows, and participate in crucial conversations that concern us. Connect with the community.