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Stop Saying Celebrities Should Not Discuss Politics

by Todd A. Smith

 

 

Celebrities are Tax Paying Citizens Too


“I think what I’ve learned from working on ‘Moonlight’ is we see what happens when you persecute people,” the award-winning actor Mahershala Ali said while accepting the SAG Award on Sunday.  “They fold into themselves, and what I was so grateful about in having the opportunity to play Juan was playing a gentleman.  I saw a young man folding into himself as a result of persecution of his community and taking that opportunity to uplift him and tell him that he mattered, that he was O.K., and accept him.  And I hope that we do a better job of that.”


Ali’s speech stood out at the SAG Awards during a ceremony that contained many great and uplifting speeches.


Nevertheless, critics have taken to social media to bash celebrities for speaking out on politics and social issues.


For many, celebrities are just robots to be used for the entertainment of fans.  And after fans have been entertained, the celebrity should disappear and ignore the divided world around them.


That position is wrong on at least two bases.


First, just because a person works in the entertainment industry or the field of sports, does not mean they cease being a tax-paying citizen.  Therefore, political issues affect them just as much as it affects the non-famous citizen.


Secondly, celebrities have a platform that many do not have.  Very few people will listen to a regular person when it pertains to any issue.  However, many will listen to a celebrity.


Therefore, it is imperative that those with a voice speak up for the voiceless at all times.


On the contrary, celebrities have to realize just because something is popular in liberal Hollywood, does not mean that it is popular throughout the rest of the world.


Although, I disagree with many things that celebrities stand for on a moral and biblical basis, on many things I agree with them.


When it comes to the backlash that President Donald Trump is experiencing because of his Muslim ban, I totally agree with the celebrities that spoke out against Trump.


Furthermore, if celebrities should stay out of politics, why is there a reality television celebrity currently residing in the White House?


I would gladly take Ali or Ashton Kutcher in the White House over the current president.


American history is filled with celebrities who had more leadership qualities and wisdom than former presidents.


What would have happened if Marvin Gaye never released the album “What’s Going On?”


What would have happened if Stevie Wonder did not release the single “Happy Birthday” in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.?


What would have happened if Edwin Starr had never asked what “War” was good for?


One only has to look back to another Wonder song for a message from a celebrity that is still relevant today.  That song is “Love’s in Need of Love Today.”


Ali, a Muslim son of an ordained Baptist minister, summed it up best at the SAG Awards.


“(My mother) didn’t do backflips when I called her to tell her I converted [to Islam] 17 years ago,” Ali said.  “But I tell you now, we put things aside, and I’m able to see her.  She’s able to see me.  We love each other.  The love has grown, and that stuff is minutiae.  It’s not that important.”


Those are definitely words to live by.


With all deference to the presidential office, it would be great if the U.S. president was as wise as some of our entertainers.

This article was published on Friday 03 February, 2017.
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