North Texas Daily

More celebrities should use their platform and privilege for change

More celebrities should use their platform and privilege for change

More celebrities should use their platform and privilege for change
September 18
12:00 2018

Unspeakable tragedies take place what seems like all the time, but when “hugs not guns” turns into “DACA dreaming” in the matter of a week, it becomes apparent that some celebrities are just going through the motions.

Society turns its head toward a blue check — the Twitter verification symbol — every time controversy or hardships strike. It’s no surprise that people have become accustomed to looking at what celebrities say, think or do. Which only leaves one question: Does that blue symbol at the end of their handle also come with a price tag that reads “responsibility?”

Kim Kardashian decided to take that responsibility and make a real impact. Being the fifth most-followed person on Instagram with a whopping 117 million followers, it’s no secret people care about what she does. After hearing about Alice Marie Johnson’s case, she couldn’t only make a comment and move on. Her newfound passion for criminal justice reform forced her to step out of her $60 million home and get her stilettos moving to Washington D.C.

After succeeding in getting President Trump to grant clemency to Johnson for her life sentence due to a nonviolent drug offense, Kardashian decided she wasn’t going to stop there.

Almost three months later, Kardashian is once again petitioning for a prisoner’s freedom from a life sentence for drug charges. Even the judge for this case admitted he reluctantly gave Chris Young a life sentence because he was left with no choice under the federal “Three Strikes” statute.

Most celebrities either offer their condolences, dedicate a post or craft a tweet about surfacing issues in the nation, but few actually attempt to step up to the plate and demand change.

Although many may not agree with everything Kardashian does, there is no denying that she is using her platform to challenge the status quo when it comes to wrongful convictions by stirring up the norm on Capitol Hill. Showing support for solutions by posting online is the average celebrity response to most situations — it isn’t often they are seen facing the problem head-on at its source. Yet Kardashian isn’t the first big shot celebrity to let their voice be heard by those in power.

Ashton Kutcher was also seen in D.C. advocating for change. In 2017, Kutcher testified before Congress about the nonprofit organization he co-founded, Thorn, that develops technology designed to fight child sex trafficking. Much like Kardashian, Kutcher illuminated success of his own accord with almost 6000 kids identified and 103 rescued.

Even simply starting a conversation amongst fellow influencers could act as an initiation to kick-start activism. For instance, verified Instagram accounts began reposting a post directed towards Ivanka Trump asking her to support the Clean Dream Act. Celebrities are fully aware of the impact of their words, they know they have the power to reach thousands of people in the matter of mere seconds and they know multitudes of people are patiently awaiting their opinion.

The proof is in the pudding: These celebrities are fully knowledgeable that Ivanka is following their social media accounts so they repeatedly posted the same image to get her attention, meaning they’re applying their substantial platform to the advancement of a worthy cause.

It’s about time fame is used for more than just a Hollywood ploy to make millions. In this day and era, privilege comes with an obligation. Privilege is being utilized as a weapon when those who are fortunate enough to wield it realize that it should be used for something way beyond themselves. It’s bigger than just a social media post or retweet.

Featured Illustration: Elizabeth Rhoden

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Angelina Oliva

Angelina Oliva

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