Another new year means another season of film and television awards, and this year brought with it the 74th annual Golden Globes which occurred on Sunday 8th January. As per usual, many of the jokes were themed, and this year they were mostly directed towards infamous Twitter-troll and President-Elect, Donald J. Trump, after his domination of the headlines since winning the US election.
Celebrities lined up to take a shot at the man himself with Jimmy Fallon comparing Trump to the vile King Joffrey from Game of Thrones during his opening monologue, and Hugh Laurie joking that this would be the last ever Golden Globes given that it’s associated with the words “Hollywood”, “Foreign” and “Press”. Meryl Streep took the biggest dig at Trump after receiving her Lifetime Achievement Award, which was thoroughly deserved. Despite not mentioning Trump’s name throughout her acceptance speech, it still managed to provoke in a furious Twitter backlash from Trump where he called her “overrated” and adamantly insisted that he didn’t mock a disabled reporter. It’s no secret that throughout history, the arts have always had their say on the events happening throughout the world, and whilst most people would argue that those opinions are always welcome and worth hearing (unless you’re Donald Trump), do those opinions really have a place during an evening of celebration?
“I think that when someone with real influence is given an opportunity to voice their opinion about someone or something that is pertinent to everyone, then they are entitled to do so.”
Personally, I think they do. When someone with real influence is given an opportunity on a world stage, with 20 million people watching, to voice their opinion about someone or something that is pertinent to everyone, not just those within the arts, then they are entitled to do so. The arts have always had a say on world issues, stretching as far back as Greek theatre, which used to take a satirical look at war by withholding sex. In more recent times, the arts have had their say on the Oscar whitewashing and other diversification issues. Granted, that issue was indisputably theirs to discuss, and they were not short of material with the snubbing of Straight Outta Compton at last year’s Oscars making many headlines. At the same Oscars, Leonardo DiCaprio finally won a much-deserved award for Male Actor in a Leading Role for The Revenant, and closed his acceptance speech by addressing the importance of recognising how much of an issue global warming to everyone on the planet. There’s no denying that global warming is a dangerous threat to this planet, and to see DiCaprio talk about it with such a wide array of influential people in the room and no doubt watching elsewhere, really brought it to light.
However, although Streep’s speech was enriched with what we should be talking about, there was another big talking point that seems to have been overlooked because of all this talk of politics. Tracee Ellis Ross was the first black woman in 35 years to win Best Actress in a TV Comedy or Musical for her role in the sitcom Black-ish. Her speech was empowering and beautiful, but would not be the first award acceptance that people will remember when they talk of 2017’s Golden Globes.
“It is even more essential that the public are encouraged to take their own stand on political matters and that they are given a chance to think independently.”
Nevertheless, in a time where a lot of people are confused and worried about what the future might hold with Trump as President of the United States, an increasing amount of celebrities are promoting standing together and working through the issues that have arisen since his victory. Yet, it would also seem that artists are protesting and many are refusing to perform at the inauguration of the 45th President – going against their very own ideals of standing together in a time of turmoil. I can understand that people may not like him, or think he will do a good job as POTUS, and you are most certainly entitled to that opinion and refuse to perform at his inauguration. However, if you’re going to promote togetherness, then actions speak louder than words. Barack Obama was a shining light the day after the election results, when he invited Donald Trump to the White House to discuss a peaceful transfer of power, and how best to work together in order to achieve that.
Although, celebrities are sometimes the only way young people will get an insight or information into the country’s politics, they provide a mediated platform that is easily accessible to the younger generation. It is important that people are made aware of what is happening politically, even if it is through a laptop screen. However, it is even more essential that the public are encouraged to take their own stand on political matters and that they are given a chance to think independently without bias or external influence. Celebrities should utilise their position to tell fans facts and truth, and avoid enforcing their own personal opinions, despite the President-Elect doing just that.
This content is one individual's opinion and does not represent the opinion of The Galleon. If you disagree with this article or have any further comment to make please email email@example.com.