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“Just Shut Up and Sing”

Maryam Farhangfar, Staff writer

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“…And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose,” said actress Meryl Streep during the 74th annual Golden Globes. She was met with a thunderous applause as well as approving looks from her fellow actors.

The next morning, President Donald Trump tweeted, “Meryl Streep, one of the most overrated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes.” His statement received much backlash from the public, some saying that it was not appropriate for the President to respond to remarks or engage in petty arguments.

Following Trump’s election, hundreds of well-known celebrities, including Meryl Streep, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Barbra Streisand, Katy Perry and the Kardashians, have taken to both social media and award shows  to express their discontent with recent events. But others, such as actor Mark Wahlberg, do not believe they should speak about politics publicly.

“A lot of celebrities did, do, and shouldn’t [talk politics], a lot of Hollywood is living in a bubble. They’re pretty out of touch with the common person, the everyday guy out there providing for their family,”said Wahlberg in an interview with Task & Purpose Magazine.

Celebrity statements have elicited a mixture of both positive and negative responses. Some believe it is neither their right nor place to speak against political issues and are demanding boycotts of  artist’s works. Others believe they are rightfully using their position of influence to bring awareness to issues important to them.

This great debate cannot be discussed without mentioning the First Amendment, which protects and guarantees the freedom of expression for both individuals and the press; therefore, by criticizing their government, celebrities are simply exercising their freedom of speech.

Of course, this is certainly not the first time that celebrities have spoken out against current political climates. In 2003, the country band the Dixie Chicks caused a huge controversy and uproar when they spoke out against former President George W. Bush’s actions during the Iraq war, and were famously told to “just shut up and sing” by the media.

Students at Vista del Lago have mixed attitudes towards the matter as well. “I would say that they can share their mind, but why would someone who knows they have influence on young people or anyone speak their mind? This only influences and leaves out room for people’s own opinions,” said junior Tanner Olsson.

On the other hand, junior Madison Ryan sees their actions as positive and beneficial. “This is not only appropriate, but a great idea. In fact, I wish more celebrities would take that platform for discussing real ideas and issues. This is a position they got in because of their hard work, and they have the right to say what they want,” said Ryan.

Whether the public agrees or not with what is going on in America, celebrities are increasingly using their platform of influence to speak out against issues important to them. So far, it doesn’t seem to be hurting anyone’s career.

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