Recipients advocating for issues that matter
Every day we see the issues within society grow, and luckily, there have been individuals trying to speak up for society as a whole. Discriminating against someone due to their race, sexual orientation, and gender presentation has been a very prominent social issue within various forms of media and businesses, which is why celebrities are stepping in. Some celebrities refuse to let others be put down by society’s expectations, and they continue to give people more of a voice in the world. Within the past five years, multiple celebrities like Ellen Page, Kerry Washington, and Anne Hathaway made public announcements that brought support to gay marriage and the LGBTQ community. According to The Hollywood Reporter, one move Hathaway and her husband made in 2012 was they sold their wedding photos and donated some of the profits to marriage equality advocacy group. Within social media as well, celebrities have put an emphasis on Black Lives Matter and Gender Equality. The most recent and well-known speeches were by popular Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams at the 2016 BET Awards and famous broadway playwright and star of Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda at the 2016 Tony Awards. They spoke up for the efforts of Black Lives Matter and the LGBTQ community respectively, at an extremely public event as a way to represent the change these celebrities intend to bring.
Williams gave a unique and outstanding acceptance speech at the BET Awards. Williams made sure to give thanks to the black women of society for all the work they’ve done, as a way to show respect towards them and Black Lives Matter. He also related to the Tamir Rice case and how if it was a white child playing in the park, the police wouldn’t have felt the need to bring out guns. Williams acknowledged the actions of the police in Rice’s death and how it shows how racism is becoming more of an issue.
“Freedom is always coming in the hereafter… the hereafter is a hustle. We want it now.” This line from Williams’ speech shows how much people deserve to live freely and how black people are constantly being diminished and ignored for their work and for what they have to offer. Since Williams’ unexpected speech achieved multiple standing ovations at the BET Awards, it’s safe to say that the aftermath of it consisted of a great deal of positive feedback as well. On Twitter especially, celebrities have spoken up, like Zendaya who tweeted “I have no words…eloquent, moving, spot on & perfectly put.” Orange is the New Black star Uzo Aduba quoted Williams in his speech and tweeted, “The burden of the brutalized, is not to comfort the bystander”- Jesse Williams, and Williams’ co-star Debbie Allen quoted him on Twitter as well.
Miranda presented a speech supporting the phrase, “Love Is Love” at the Tony Awards. This sonnet was a major tribute to his wife for making him the person that his is today. He reflected upon how much he loves her and that the love they have for each other is encouraging and keeps him going. “Love is love, love cannot be killed or swept aside.” This line from his speech explains that it doesn’t matter what gender you love and that people truly deserve to be in love because it’s something so rare and special that it should be held onto. According to Vanity Fair, the speech was a reaction to the Orlando shooting and was created to show support to those who were lost and victims for just being in love. Another thing Manuel said in his speech is “now fill the world with music, love, and pride.” He’s explaining that everyone has the right to express their love for another person, and they shouldn’t have to be stopped from doing that just because of what society thinks about it being “wrong” or “inappropriate” when it’s really just being in love. After expressing his true impressions of the concept of love, Miranda obtained very popular reactions to his speech, just like Williams did. ET Online writes about how the speech brought the audiences to tears since it was so meaningful. USA Today also calls his speech a sonnet for the way it can move people just from watching it. Williams and Miranda brought the social issues out in the open, as a way to prove that a change was needed to come.
More celebrities are refusing to sit still while the world continues to go downhill. Their course of action and mindset shows what they want to bring to the world. They’re encouraging other people to have a voice like they are, since so many people look up to them. Celebrities want to be role models and set a good example for those people who admire, which is exactly what they’ve done by speaking up for minorities. Despite the lack of support different races, gender, and the LGBTQ community obtain, multiple celebrities want these people to know that they have someone on their side. From Williams, to Miranda, and to so much more, they’re taking a leap in speaking so society as a whole can later achieve more by doing.
Amber Raiken is a first-year writing major who will say more than “Thanks Mom” during her acceptance speech. You can contact them at email@example.com.