An artist’s place is… in the political arena


   “Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners, and if we kick them all out,” said Meryl Streep in her Golden Globes acceptance speech, “you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.”

   The Academy award-winning actress is not the only one who has openly criticized the current president’s attitude and actions. Whether in social media, live television or even protests, celebrities have generally taken a clear, liberal stand on politics. In October, a month before the presidential election, Robert de Niro released a video saying that Donald Trump is a “punk, a dog, a pig [that] doesn’t know what he is talking about.” Last May, more than 450 authors signed a petition against the candidacy of Trump because they “believe that knowledge, experience, flexibility and historical awareness are indispensable in a leader.” Stephen King, who wrote more than 50 novels and is known as the master of horrors, told The Washington Post that he was“terrified that [Trump]’ll become president.”

   An interview with actor Mark Wahlberg by the website Task & Purpose revived an old question: whether celebrities – actors, singers and artists – should involve themselves in politics. Wahlberg’s message to his peers was very clear; “a lot of celebrities do [involve themselves in politics], and shouldn’t.” His argument was that Hollywood stars live in a bubble, “out of touch with the common person, the everyday guy out there providing for their family.” That’s where Mr. Wahlberg and I disagree.

   Pablo Picasso’s Guernica is seen today as one of the most powerful anti-war paintings of history, a cubic representation of the bombing of the village Guernica, Spain by the Nazi and Fascist parties. Americans novels such as To Kill a Mockingbird, Beloved and The Color Purple contain powerful messages about racial injustice, slavery, segregation and discrimination. Bruce Springsteen’s song  Born in the U.S.A was one of the anthems of Anti-Vietnam War movement. Artists’ involvements in politics is no novelty. In today’s technologically-driven era, social media accounts have become the most popular platform of expression of ideas and beliefs. They are quick, efficient ways of reaching others and speaking out. Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ellie Goulding and Chris Rock are only a few celebrities  who constantly use Twitter to criticize the new president’s actions.

   Artists and Hollywoodiens, despite their social class status, have the same rights as any other citizens, including the one given by the First Amendment. Most importantly, they have the duty and voice to be our spokesperson. I highly doubt that the current president has read any of my articles on his persona, and if he ever laid eyes on it, he would most likely shrug, laugh and make an threat on my immigration status. But every time Alec Baldwin goes to the stage, every time a late-night show ridicules him, the head of the state is aware. And while his response tends to be limited to  140 characters, the celebrity’s voice reaches other nations, and where the power truly rests – the people.