Mercer Cluster

A Response to “Star Struck”

Jabril Edmondson, Staff Writer

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In this past issue, an opinion piece, “Star Struck,” was released discussing the normalization of celebrities through continued support. 

“If we continue to support them, it normalizes abuse and makes it seem like anyone can do it. You cannot separate a person’s career from who they are as a person,” said the writer, Vanessa Alva.

Celebrities Chris Brown and Johnny Depp were criticized for their run-ins with domestic abuse. It was said that their wrongdoings were being overlooked by the continued support from their fans and that this support was the reason for their actions.  

Support is not condoning; it is recognizing that this is not a full picture of their lifestyle. These actions are harmful, but they don’t depict their lives as a whole. I do not automatically think “I can’t support this artist because they made a mistake.”

Support doesn’t always mean that someone is choosing to ignore wrong actions, but it can also mean that I recognize they have that much more to offer. Artists, actors and celebrities in general do more than just entertain their fan bases, but they inspire people to pursue their dreams as well as provide outlets for stress.

An artist, an actor and a sports star are all great in their respective disciplines, but we’d all love to see their character be congruent with their talent. At no point have I ever condoned or made light of the actions of an artist like Chris Brown, though I have been empathetic.

The situation is this: when I see greatness in an area of an individual, I want to see them fulfill their full potential. A legendary status could have been attained, but his decisions have led to a life of vilification of his character.

I look at it as a respect for growth. Their mistakes are always publicized. Each step they take towards a more positive lifestyle are overlooked

The difference is that my support is not what normalizes their behavior — it’s the continued lack of support towards a better lifestyle. In some respects, fans can incentivize a better lifestyle. The rhetoric that discontinuing support makes for a better lifestyle is flawed.

At that point of fame and support, support for a person isn’t where the change comes from, it stems from within. It’s the longing for the individual to do better for themselves.

Instead of looking to these celebrities to be role models or model citizens, I look at them as people. Any person that has committed a crime, I look at celebrities with the same likeness. I, as an individual, do not condone the actions of any celebrity, nor would me choosing not to listen to their music or watch their movies lead to them becoming a better person.

Record labels and agents all look to protect, provide and advise their clients. Taking that away from these celebrities would potentially put them in a situation where help is even harder to attain. Maintaining support for these celebrities is what may assist them to acquire the help they need.

Like any person who has been riddled with mistakes, giving up on them provides no more help to them than them just finding themselves in more and more trouble.  

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