As long as I can remember, celebrities have always spoken their minds about politics, especially on social media. Some do so eloquently but with venom, like J.K. Rowling. Others just spew random hatred, like Cher. Still, others make statement in a YouTube video or a TV show. Joy Villa even wore a dress to the Grammys that said “Make America Great again” on it. The one thing that brought my attention to all this, however, was Lady Gaga’s latest Super Bowl performance.
The show wasn’t exactly subtle. Gaga started out with a medley of two patriotic songs, “God Bless America” and “This Land is Your Land,” then went through many of her most popular songs, including “Born this Way,” in which she changed some of the words at one point to messages of inclusion for all races, genders and sexualities.
Gaga seems to be continuing something Beyonce did at last year’s Super Bowl, where she and her dancers were dressed up in outfits reminiscent of the Black Panthers. This does bring up the question, however, of whether celebrities should be expressing their political opinions at all. The answer is no.
Having a celebrity endorse something in the political world – especially when that celebrity’s job has nothing to do with politics – isn’t always the best thing. It didn’t keep Hillary Clinton from losing the election. Clinton had an incredible amount of celebrity endorsements, from Beyonce and Katy Perry to YouTube stars like Tyler Oakley, especially when compared to Donald Trump. Still, Trump is the one living in the White House. All the tweeting, texting, posting, announcements and appearances didn’t affect fans in a way that made enough of them vote for Clinton.
The fans of celebrities are not there for their opinions, they are fans for their content, whether it be music, movies, TV shows or any other kind of entertainment. I love some of Cher’s music – it brings back memories of road trips I took with my family as a child – but that does not mean I appreciate her Twitter account. Almost all her tweets are mostly all-caps insults of the Trump administration with barely legible abbreviations dotted with a clown and toilet emoji and inaccurate punctuation marks. There is no way she is affecting any of my opinions or future decisions.
Lady Gaga’s performance seemed to have no concrete effect at all. Sure, her message may be inspiring to many people but what did it accomplish? The people she inspired probably already share her opinions. All I really learned from Lady Gaga’s performance was that she thinks the U.S. is everyone’s land and everyone should be treated the same. Besides, who would believe a pop singer over someone with an actual political position?
Even those celebrities who do have some sort of job involving politics have a limited influence. People like John Oliver and Steven Colbert have a mostly liberal audience while Tomi Lahren has a mostly conservative audience.
They can’t change a lot of minds since no one is forcing people with different opinions to watch their shows. Even someone like Phillip DeFranco, a man who runs a news show on YouTube in which his opinion usually lands somewhere in the middle of the right and left, is limited by the amount of his subscribers and the fact that he can’t advertise like many mainstream shows do.
Now, I understand that this article might seem a little hypocritical to some. I am writing about not sharing opinions and yet here I am, sharing an opinion. First of all, I am by no means a celebrity. I wasn’t even popular in high school.
Second, this section of the paper is all about expressing opinions. Social media, as it was introduced to me, is about updating people about what is going on in one’s own life. Concerts are to display content. People pay to see celebrities perform the songs, not a statement of their opinions. Celebrities are simply putting too much energy into something that has no affect when they could be using it on something that matters.