So it happened. The 2016 Presidential election is finally over with. Many of us are relieved to see the rollercoaster come to an end, while others are distraught. There’s an uneasy feeling in America, and it’s been publicized not only by average citizens, but by many celebrities as well.
Politics, like art, is controversial. There’s usually not a concrete answer behind anything. This is why many musicians choose to express their social and political views through their music. They are already in the spotlight, so if they can use their art to stress what they think is important to their fans then it makes perfect sense.
Take Eddie Vedder for example. It’s not a question whose side he was on this time around, having worn Donald Trump masks on stage and shouting “Fuck Donald Trump!” Pearl Jam canceled a show earlier this year in North Carolina due to a law against the LGBT community. They made a public statement following the event in order to bring light to the subject and advocate for change. Chris Cornell has made several comments on Twitter about racism, one specifically referring to the celebration of Columbus Day being by “crazy racists.”
On Twitter, many people react positively to their favorite musicians using their voices to promote social change. Others, on the contrary, say things like, “Chris, hide your political opinion. Fans don’t care. Give us music and opinions about bands & songs.”
Whether I agree or disagree with what the musicians say is a whole other story, but why should a musician “hide” their political opinion? This is one of the biggest problems with America. We put celebrities on a pedestal and try to oppress and ridicule them at the same time. What if someone told you to hide your opinion because they didn’t like it?
At the end of the day, behind all of the talent – they are human beings. And if they are American citizens, they have every right to be vocal about the issues prevalent in this country. We make celebrities as big as they are, and then when they try to use their popularity to their advantage, we try to silence them. What is the logic here?
Now, on the other hand – I think that celebrities should try to be conscious and respectful of their fans’ opinions as well. For example, despite Vedder’s intense hatred for Trump, I can only hope that he would not ever be rude or indifferent to any of his pro-Trump fans if he were to meet them. Musicians and fans are all equally entitled to their opinions, but the musician-fan relationship should never be tainted by politics. That connection should be solely about the music that brought them together in the first place.
So with that, I am sorry if it upset you that your favorite musical artist – or any celebrity – said something to counter your beliefs about social and political issues, and especially about this election. But just remember that they have the same rights as us, and mainly choose to be vocal because they know so many are listening to them already. It’s okay to disagree with someone you worship and admire, just as it is okay to disagree with your friends and family. At the end of the day, we all have different backgrounds and come from different places…so we will all have different perspectives. Just remember the music, and, like Cornell has said before, “to be yourself is all that you can do.”