In wake of the continuous deaths within the black community from police brutality, social media has been saturated with hashtags, opinions and rants. One in particular, “Why don’t more celebrities speak out on social injustices and police brutality”. Today, Twitter is in an uproar over prior statements made by rapper A$AP Rocky. In an interview published by Billboard Magazine back in May 2015, A$AP Rocky stated, “If I’m not going to Ferguson or any of these places — protesting or contributing — I should shut the f—- up. So that’s exactly what I’m going to do. It ain’t my place to speak on it.” Later that year in September 2015, A$AP did an interview with TimeOut where he further stated:
” They’re not forcing me to do shit. I’m just gonna stay black and die. Why, because I’m black? So every time something happens because I’m black I gotta stand up? What the fuck am I, Al Sharpton now? I’m A$AP Rocky. I did not sign up to be no political activist. I wanna talk about my motherfuckin’ lean, my best friend dying, the girls that come in and out of my life, the jiggy fashion that I wear, my new inspirations in drugs! I don’t wanna talk about no fucking Ferguson and shit because I don’t live over there! I live in fucking Soho and Beverly Hills. I can’t relate. I’m in the studio; I’m in these fashion studios; I’m in these bitches’ drawers. I’m not doing anything outside of that. That’s my life”.
A$AP Rocky and several other celebrities to include Kevin Hart, Beyonce, Rihanna, Adam Levine and Alicia Keys to name a few recently spoke out in a very emotional video for the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Due to previous statements from last year, A$AP Rocky received a lot of back lash for comments.
Do you think celebrities sometimes being vocal about societal issues, racism and politics does more harm than good? Here are 5 Reasons Why Many Celebrities Choose Not to Speak:
- No Obligation to be an Activist
I think many people forget that celebrities aren’t obligated to speak on issues that require activism. When they sign their big entertainment contracts and movie deals, there is no clause in there that requires them to speak about specific causes or movements throughout the course of their career. Though we are by far no where near celebrity status, it is everyone’s right to discuss issues that they feel comfortable with and desire to speak on. That’s like someone getting hired as a school teacher, and being obligated to speak and have a stance on school shootings. Would you then question why every teacher doesn’t have a stance on school shootings? Would you then expect every teacher to have an opinion on this topic? THERE’S NO OBLIGATION.simple.
2. Their Stance Will Never Be Good Enough For Everyone
As most of you know, Jesse Williams made a powerful speech that went viral at the BET Awards where he addressed racism in America. Though his speech was powerful and brave, many people still took to social media to point out that he was “light skinned with blue eyes” and he doesn’t know what racism really feels like in the black community . In addition, there was a petition created to have Jesse Williams fired from the television series Grey’s Anatomy.
To go further, during her ‘Hot Topics’ segment earlier this month, Wendy Williams weighed in on actor Jesse Williams’s political speech at the BET awards that I mentioned above by saying, “I would be really offended if there was a school that was known as a historically white college. We have historically black colleges. What if there was the National Organization for White People, only? There’s the NAACP.” During the show, the crowd was completely quiet and evidently Wendy Williams truly believed somewhere deep in her soul that her weigh in on the topic, especially as a black woman, would be widely accepted by the masses.
Back in June, Jennifer Lopez tweeted that #AllLiveMatter when honoring the victims from the Orlando shooting. Jennifer Lopez was attacked after critics felt that she was giving more attention to the #AllLivesMatter movement and disregarding the #BlackLivesMatter movement altogether.
When some celebrities choose to exercise their freedom to show support for certain causes and movements, critics see nothing but alienation. They see, “why did my favorite celebrity support one cause and not one that represents me”. As for Wendy Williams, making statements without thinking them out completely calls for late apologies and a permanent side eye. Being open in interviews and on social media takes the attention off of the work of celebrities and draws more attention to their character and views. You find out that a celebrity that you once may have binge watched on Netflix doesn’t really care about the black community; or your favorite singer doesn’t think gay people should have all the same rights. You began to hate the fact that you actually admired and spent your money on them. The reality of it, when a celebrity makes the decision to be honest regarding their feelings on racism and societal issues they may be signing a permission slip to end their career and be raped via social media by critics. Some would rather be quiet for a check verses voicing their beliefs.
3. Unnecessary Back Lash
I’ve seen many people on our Twitter timeline bash celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Michael Jordan for not speaking out against police brutality and racism. Does anyone seriously want the Kardashians to sit down and talk about police brutality just because they love black men and have a popular television show. Let’s all be honest with ourselves, if anyone from the Kardashian family said a single word about the black culture and injustices ,social media would probably explode.
Second, Michael Jordan has been known in the media for years for not doing “enough” for the black community and has never spoke on the negative occurrences that have occurred from people buying his shoes. The very moment that Michael Jordan were to open his mouth, he would be destroyed. I’m sure he’s thinking why would I publically do that to my image, when I could just say nothing at all and still make millions with my brand. Some celebrities feel that they haven’t been vocal in the past, why should they speak up now.
4. Working Behind the Scenes
No one knows every celebrity that is making a difference within their community in regards to police brutality and racism. Just because someone isn’t publically organizing peaceful protests like The Game and Snoop Dogg or advocating in the #BlackLivesMatter movement, it doesn’t mean there aren’t celebrities trying to make a difference. Yes, celebrities having millions of followers and a heavy influence could bring awareness, however, we shouldn’t need them to lead. We should’ve already been in “formation” before Beyonce said anything and unfortunately someone like her or any other celebrity can’t help us do that. They can bring awareness if they choose to, but a lot of the avocation for changes begins right outside our doors in our communities.
5. They Don’t F*cking Want To
This is probably the hardest point for many people to comprehend. Just because a person is a “celebrity” it doesn’t mean that they HAVE to speak out about society issues, race relations or any other cause. Maybe they would rather talk about themselves, their relationship, sex or take selfies all day for Instagram. It is quite possible that some celebrities don’t care about what is going on in the world and aren’t directly affected by the same issues. This fact is okay. We don’t need validation from celebrities to make serious societal issues seem more important. So what if another black celebrity doesn’t want to promote the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Instead of focusing on what a very small percentage of the population is doing for society, there should be more attention given within our own communities.