Entertainment | May 9th, 2020
Celebrities are Human, Let’s Treat Them as Such
By: Daniel J. Newton
In this op-ed, Florida A&M University junior Daniel J. Newton delves into the absence of humanity afforded to celebrities.
If you have ever thought about being a celebrity or entertainer, then you might want to think again. Ask yourself: could I handle the constant criticism and unrealistic expectations?
Oftentimes fans forget that entertainers and influencers are human too. These figures already feel pressure to release quality work, but then society intensifies the pressure by treating them as if they are without emotion. Some feel that celebrities signed up for the treatment they receive, but they are people just like us.
Many celebrities already deal with the pressure that they put on themselves to stay on their game. They are constantly trying to produce content that will catch the public’s attention because in today’s society the work is only good if it is trending. This is shown with many entertainers such as rapper and actor, Eminem. In 2017, Eminem released “Walk on Water”, featuring Beyonce — a single that details the demand he has felt in the industry.
Veteran rapper, Eminem. Photo courtesy billboard.com
In this emotionally raw song, Eminem can be heard rapping lyrics like, “Always in search of the verse that I haven’t spit yet. Will this step just be another misstep to tarnish whatever the legacy, love, or respect I’ve garnered?”
Celebrities, like Eminem, are always chasing relevance. They are always trying to find something new to captivate the public. Whether it be a new verse for a rapper or a new joke for a comedian, they are always chasing something new. Yet, they have to be careful not to make a mistake in this search for relevance because it can cost them their career and their legacy.
Eminem goes on to discuss the internal pressure he faces to impress his fans. Celebrities, especially entertainers, give their all to impress the public, yet it seems that they continue to receive more criticism that only adds to the pressure. This can be seen with musicians like Kanye West who often work to create new music and a new sound just to have the public say they miss the “old them.” West poked fun at this behavior when he released the song “I Love Kanye” in 2016.
This comedic song mimicked the opinions of the public with lyrics like, “I miss the old Kanye” and “I hate the new Kanye.”
Furthermore, the public criticizes celebrities on social media about everything from their appearance to their personal life. Blogs like The Shade Room and The Neighborhood Talk have become places where fans constantly critique celebrities in a negative way. Rapper Nicki Minaj spoke about this criticism when she gave her acceptance speech for the Game Changer Award at the 2019 Billboard Women in Music event.
Nicki Minaj on stage giving her Game Changer award acceptance speech. Photo courtesy vulture.com
Minaj said, “We can’t have a bad day. We don’t always feel sexy. We don’t always feel cute, but we have to and that’s abnormal. It’s abnormal to be on all the time.”
She went on to explain that celebrities are just regular people with large platforms. She used her speech as an opportunity to urge people to offer more sympathy and less judgment when it comes to entertainers.
As she explained that no one is perfect, the sounds of cheers could be heard from other entertainers in the room.
Celebrities should not have to beg and plead to be treated like regular people, society should just treat them as such.
Outside of expecting celebrities to look perfect and keep up a certain image, society is also very unforgiving when celebrities make mistakes or are accused of something. This is shown with “cancel culture.”
Many celebrities, such as James Charles, have been victims of “cancel culture” in the past. Charles, a YouTuber, lost almost two million subscribers in 2019 after he was accused of using his money to manipulate someone else’s sexuality. He was also the subject of a lot of hate on social media.
YouTuber, James Charles. Photo courtesy youtube.com
Charles has since spoken about that experience in a video interview with PAPER and said, “The cancel culture is getting stronger and stronger, people are having fun with this and that is probably the most horrifying thing to actually say.”
He also went on to express that he hopes it doesn’t take a public figure harming themselves to get people to stop this behavior. Many celebrities, such as Juice WRLD and Mac Miller, often turn to drugs as a way to cope with the intense entertainment industry.
None of this is okay. Celebrities should only have to deal with the pressure that they put on themselves.
Society needs to change their viewpoint on what roles celebrities play in their lives. People need to be less critical and be more forgiving of their mistakes because they are human just like the rest of us.
Of course in some instances, celebrities deserve a level of unforgiveness for their wrongdoing. With the Me Too Movement, many figures like Harvey Weinstein have been exposed for sexual assault. Rape and sexual assault are completely acceptable reasons to stop supporting a celebrity’s work.
But many celebrities simply say something that is offensive or get caught up in drama. In that case, their apology should be enough for the public to move on and allow them to deal with that mistake in private like a regular person.
How would you feel if your appearance and your personal life were the subjects of criticism by millions of people?
How would you feel if your career took a hit because you misspoke or got caught up in some drama? We can critique and hold celebrities accountable without “canceling” them for all eternity.
Minaj and Charles both expressed their feelings about the way society treats entertainers and surely other entertainers can agree. They should not have to be subject to the treatment they often receive because they are famous or have money; No one should be subject to that kind of treatment.
So please, have some sympathy for celebrities and put yourself in their shoes before you decide to take part in the never-ending criticism and “cancel culture.”