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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

'A voice for the voiceless'
Kiley O’Brien ’25, Assistant Features Editor • July 18, 2024
Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

“Whoop Diddy Scoop” in the White House

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Celebrities like Kanye need to use their platforms wisely

In case you have forgotten, President Donald Trump was best known for being a reality television star. And currently, it’s beginning to look like a potential presidential candidate is a rap star popularized in the early 2000s.

Would it be interesting to have the most powerful seat in politics be held by a guy who dropped the lyrics “Mayonnaise colored Benz, I push Miracle Whips” and rhymed about gold diggers? Sure—if you are thinking of what would make the most bizarre meme of the century.

But “Kanye 2020” is seeming less and less like a trendy buzzword since his meeting with President Trump on Oct. 11. Though the casual conversation between the president and West may have sounded like a bunch of nonsense rather than progress toward prison reform, Kanye clearly left an impression on the president.

“He’s a great guy. Smart cookie,” exclaimed President Trump during their conversation. “I love this guy right here,” he continued. At this point, it’s looking like Trump loves Kanye more than Kanye loves Kanye, which is quite the development.

However, the wealthy elite having influence over political leaders is nothing new. The capitalist economic ideology has diffused over time into our democratic governmental institutions to create the modern political system we see today. In this modern cross-over between politics and the economy, wealth tends to equate to political power.

That explains why we are seeing Kim Kardashian, Taylor Swift, Kanye West, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jim Brown voicing their political opinions to either the president himself or on their social media platforms.

Some may argue that celebrities voicing their political opinions is a positive thing. And to an extent, I agree.

Celebrities with millions of followers spreading political opinions on social media can really give momentum to progressive movements like #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo and movements against gun violence. It can even lead to more participation in the democratic process, like encouraging people to vote in the midterm elections this November.

However, though it may be cliché, not everything on the internet is true or credible. Just because one person has an opinion and a platform that allows millions of people to see said opinion, does not mean that it is necessarily the best or most valid argument out there. Moreover, fame should not act as a legitimizer for political opinions.

For example, Kanye West has millions of fans globally and has been on the social radar since about 2002. However, West recently tweeted on Sept. 30 that he wanted the United States to “abolish the 13th amendment” accompanying a photo of him sporting his “Make America Great Again” hat.

I’m not quite sure what he meant by this comment, but wanting to do away with the amendment to the Constitution that abolished slavery is a pretty solid indicator of West’s lack of knowledge around politics and basic American history as a whole.

Yet, millions of West’s followers were subjected to his tweet and now, West has significant influence over President Trump himself.

Of course, celebrities are citizens too and they have every right to voice their opinions. Free speech applies to everyone. But I don’t think that using their platforms and popularity for politics is the best course of action.

Celebrities need to get their facts straight before voicing an opinion, whether they lean left or right on the political spectrum. They have the platform to incite positive change in our system and need to wield that power in the most prudent way possible.

Celebrities should not be widening the chasm between political parties by spouting unsupported opinions. So, next time you see a tweet where Yeezy proclaims his hate for the 13th amendment, maybe read it over one or two more times before you side with what he’s saying.

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