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International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Celebrity Voices Matter – Especially now


The title of “celebrity” has come a long way in the past couple of decades. Looking back on the artists and athletes in the 70s for example, their main purpose was to write their songs, act in their movies, or score their points on the field.

However, with the rise of social media, the relationship between celebrities and fans has slowly become more transparent, allowing for the fans to get a deeper look into these celebrities’ lives, for better or for worse. Now in 2018, artists are not just artists and athletes are not just athletes, they are activists and role-models too.

I recently read some Tweets from a politician who explained how celebrities should not voice their opinions. He further stated that their only job was to perform their talents.

I completely disagree with this.

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I use Instagram daily and keep up with pop-culture and politics as well. Over the past few years I have found myself searching for artists who share similar viewpoints with me and who are relatable. When I say relatable, I don’t mean someone who is a high schooler, but someone who engages with their fans and who recognizes their role as a celebrity and role-model. From commenting on the political climate in the US to the new fashion trends, celebrities can be more than just a name in someone’s music library or a face on merchandise.

I have been a huge of Taylor Swift since I was 7 years old. I’ve been to four of her concert tours, have piles of her merchandise and keep up with news regarding her life. Once I became old enough to understand politics and how changes in politics have such a direct effect on me, my family, and my community, I seeked celebrities who use their platform to raise awareness on certain issues and to condemn the people who they think  aren’t advocating for their beliefs.

During the 2016 U.S. election I was waiting and waiting and waiting for Taylor Swift to speak up. I couldn’t understand how someone with such an influential platform would not even acknowledge the fact that there was a major election occurring. As more and more international events occured that personally affected me I became more and more discouraged when she stayed silent.

I admired those who, even if their posts were more neutral, encouraged the greater population to vote and stand up for what they believe in such as Emma Stone, a U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador, Katy Perry who endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election and Colin Kaepernick, a new force in the civil-rights movement.

Yes, singers’ jobs are to sing and actors’ jobs are to act, but with the growing transparency between celebrities and the general population, their jobs are now to take hold of their voice and platform to raise awareness on issues they care about. If they can sponsor large brands and promote their newest endorsement on Instagram and Twitter, why shouldn’t they be able to express their views on social, environmental, and political issues?

No matter what, if, and when celebrities do come out and express their stance on certain issues, they are bound to upset a lot of people.

I think this is why Taylor Swift waited until she was 12 years into her career to speak up as she didn’t want to upset some of her fans. When she did finally voice her political opinion on Instagram to her 112 million followers this past October, I was elated but many of her fans were enraged.

In the post, Swift first explains her reasoning for why she is choosing to speak up and then states how she is endorsing two Democrats in her state of Tennessee, Phil Bredesen and Jim Cooper. She further denounces Marsha Blackburn, a Republican representative who is running for Senate in Tennessee.

Swift continues to explain that she “cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love” and stating Blackburns beliefs “are not MY Tennessee values.” Before closing her almost 200-word statement, Swift encourages Americans to educate themselves on who is running in their state and to “vote based on who most closely represents your values.”

It’s easy to discount the power of celebrity voices, however quantitative data proves the amount of impact their opinions have on people’s actions.

According to, after Taylor Swift posted her now infamous Instagram post, voter registration in Tennessee spiked as well as in the U.S. as a whole. Within the first 24 hours after Swift posted to Instagram, 65,000 people across the U.S. registered to vote with a majority of the registrants being between 18 and 24 years old. In comparison, only 56,669 people in the U.S. registered in the whole month of August.

Although I do think it is vital for celebrities to use their platforms to enact change, I also believe they should be informed on the amount of power they have especially when it comes to social media and the younger generations. So many younger groups are susceptible to what could be considered “fake news”, and will take facts like these as the truth if it comes from a role model in their life, such as their favorite actor or athlete.

In the future, I hope to see more and more celebrities using their platforms for the better, to enact change. Being a part of a generation who learns, is inspired from, and grows up on social media, I have seen first hand the influence celebrities have on us. Whether I go out and buy the new shoes they are endorsing or bump into them while marching for a cause, I take into consideration their actions and perspectives, but with a grain of salt.

By: Holden Davitian

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