Celebrities are forced now to be more than entertainers, and work with causes, or express themselves as thought-leaders.
Emma Watson for instance is duly following feminism rituals, DiCaprio is head-on fighting the climate crisis, and even Jolie has kids from third world countries!
Ayesha Malik, a 28-year-old Pakistani-American recently fuelled a debate recently with former Miss World and popular Indian actress, Priyanka Chopra on her “humanitarian” identity. Malik was handed the mic during a beauty festival in LA, wherein Priyanka was waxing eloquently about her varied humanitarian activities. Malik referred to Priyanka’s past tweet which lauded Indian armed forces for launching airstrikes in Pakistan, as “hypocrisy.” Malik pointed out that it was unbecoming of her being a UNICEF ambassador for peace, to advocate nuclear warfare on Pakistan. To which, Chopra retorted, that she was just being “patriotic.”
The spat made news and became viral easily. People might not care if it was some low-grade celebrity answering the question, but she was Priyanka Chopra!
It is not to say that celebrity activism has sprung up late now. Jane Fonda had vocally campaigned against the Vietnam war, while the Beatles never performed in front of demographically-divided audiences. Activism is now mainstream though leading to a horde of unqualified celebrities voicing their opinions on vaccines, dietary regimen, about sports, about success, and about goodness. The fine line between political parties, environmental or human rights activists is almost invisible.
The point is not to say that celebrities should not be taken seriously neither the point is that they should do their job only. Chopra for instance could have a good idea about international relations. But the question is if their opinions are nuanced enough. The rise of celebrity activism has also led to lower trust among government channels and media too.
Since we live in a world where a racist reality TV star won a huge election, it is evident that the wrong voices get amplified more than ever! Celebrity activism certainly deserves an ethical check here!