Thursday, February 21

Second Take: Celebrities’ anti-Trump protests reflect many Americans’ concerns


Sixteen-year-old Jackie Evancho from “America’s Got Talent” was one of the celebrity performances at President Trump’s inauguration. (Creative Commons photo by Joan Hall via Wikimedia Commons)

Sixteen-year-old Jackie Evancho from “America’s Got Talent” was one of the celebrity performances at President Trump’s inauguration. (Creative Commons photo by Joan Hall via Wikimedia Commons)


The next time your friend drags you to a concert you never wanted to attend, just be grateful you didn’t have to sit through Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration.

Friday’s inauguration ceremony and ball, titled “Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration,” featured what was possibly the saddest musical setlist ever curated, including the runner-up of “America’s Got Talent” 2010, a piano cover group and a 14-year-old YouTuber.

Notable celebrities – both singers and others – were absent from the day’s proceedings and festivities. Though Trump has largely written off his famous dissenters, the reactions of many Americans seem to echo the sentiments of celebrities’ amplified voices. Rather than slam each new pop star who speaks out against him via Twitter, the president should consider actually tending to the issues protested by celebrities, who spread the voices of millions of upset Americans.

The lack of star power at Trump’s inauguration should not have come as a shock, since many celebrities have taken to social media and televised platforms to speak out against the new president.

[Second Take: Celebrities’ support alone is not enough for candidates]

Members of the entertainment industry, ranging from models like Chrissy Teigen to comedians like Chelsea Handler, vocalized their discontent with the transfer of presidential power on Inauguration Day over social media. Some took a humorous route, like Handler who compared the IQ of Trump’s cabinet to that of cabinets at IKEA.

Others took a sterner approach, like Trump impersonator Alec Baldwin, who tweeted a call to put jokes and comedy aside in order to recognize the gravity of the situation.

Singers, actors, athletes and other public figures of all races, genders and sexualities have banded together to protest Trump via videos urging Americans to unite against hate.

 

Academy Award-winning actress Meryl Streep bashed the then-president-elect at the Golden Globes, chastising him for mocking a disabled reporter.

Celebrities are the world’s most prominent trendsetters – and right now nothing seems trendier in the entertainment industry than boycotting Trump. But celebrities’ disapproval of Trump is more than a trend. It’s a movement that should be taken seriously because it spotlights the opinions of millions who marched on Washington, who don’t have the same access to viral platforms.

Hordes of female celebrities participated in Saturday’s women’s marches against Trump around the country, including Kerry Washington, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jane Fonda in Los Angeles. Many actresses, such as Connie Britton, even took a break from the Sundance Film Festival to march against Trump and for women’s rights.

The combination of ordinary people in extraordinary numbers and celebrities’ ability to document and spread their messages to millions of followers is a force to be reckoned with – and it’s time Trump responded accordingly by actually taking the protests into consideration.

Instead he aims cowardly and dismissive tweets at the famous mouthpieces of distressed Americans. But Trump should make a more concerted effort to heal the divides he has deepened and created in order to bring America together, as he promised in his inaugural speech – not waste time whining about his famous opponents.

Not-so-coincidentally, Barack Obama’s inaugurations were considerably better-attended not only by celebrities, but by ordinary citizens as well.

While I must admit The Piano Guys were a fan favorite of my high school aerobics classes, they’re certainly no Beyoncé or Aretha Franklin, both of whom performed at Obama’s presidential inaugurations.

John Legend, Halle Berry, Jennifer Aniston, Tom Hanks, Rihanna, Shakira and George Lucas were just a few more famous faces in the crowd at Obama’s first inauguration. Trump, on the other hand, managed to book children’s band Pelican 212 and The Rockettes – despite their protests.

The stars are undoubtedly anti-Trump. But why should he care? After all, his supporters have often praised the president for his refusal to pander to celebrities.

The argument is not that celebrity support is indicative of a politician’s success – Hillary Clinton’s presidential loss clearly refutes such a claim. The issue is, celebrities’ negative opinions represent the ones of more than 50 percent of Americans who recently earned Trump the lowest pre-White House approval rating ever recorded.

As Trump continues to preach that he will be a president for all Americans, he should realize celebrities are just Americans with better access to national attention.

Celebrities are not average Americans, nor are they more important than average Americans. But addressing issues that celebrities publicize would also mean addressing the concerns of many people he serves.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on Reddit

Carras is an A&E senior staff writer. She was previously the assistant editor for the Theater Film and Television beat of A&E.


Comments are supposed to create a forum for thoughtful, respectful community discussion. Please be nice. View our full comments policy here.