When I was a little girl I wanted to be an actress. However, I quickly realized that I didn’t have the looks to be a thespian, and no matter how well I used sense memory or understood super objectives, it would never happen. After I gave up, Roseanne Barr came along.
Overweight, honest, and crude, Rosanne was a stand-up comedian who spoke her mind and did so in the vernacular of white trash. I was thrilled when she got her own sitcom.
The characters on her show made mistakes and fought just like real people. The storylines covered such controversial topics as racism, homosexuality, child abuse, health care, and addiction. It won multiple Emmys.
Years after the show ended, I was shocked to learn that Rosanne supported Donald Trump. However, it did not stop me from watching her show when it was revived in 2018. The revival dealt with racism, transphobia, xenophobia and prejudices. Rosanne was eventually fired from her own show for making a racial slur.
Even though I don’t agree with her actions, I still believe she’s an artist whose work deserves to be seen. She made an enormous contribution to American culture and the advancement of women in the arts. In my opinion, great talent supersedes bad politics most of the time.
A person’s artwork can live forever (long after they are gone). Their artwork influences society more than they ever could as an individual.
Many celebrities have disappointed their fans over the years with political views that didn’t match their stage or screen personas.
Kanye West, Chicago’s most famous son, was a hero to his millions of fans for his music and over-the-top lifestyle. Fans were disappointed to learn that he supported Trump, and then changed his mind and then changed his mind again.
When Kanye stated that “slavery was a choice” because it was around for 400 years. DJs BIGG and Shay Shay at Detroit’s 105.1 vowed to stop playing his music entirely. Many called for boycotts of the West/Kardashian brand due to his political views.
In the song, “New Slaves” he suggests that materialism is enslaving today’s young black people.
Ironically, the majority of Kanye’s fortune comes from his sneaker company, Yeezy. He is a billionaire, who owns millions of dollars in real-estate. He is an Instagram Influencer who encourages an indulgent lifestyle.
In July of 2020, he renounced his support of Trump and made his own bid for president. Many people within the Black community disapproved of his move. The main reason being, Kanye could have split the black vote (potentially taking votes away from then Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden). For some, this was unforgivable given how highly contested the presidential race was at the time.
Without a doubt, Kanye is considerably more famous for his personal life than his music now. He’s a great performer and as much of a genius at self-promotion as Trump is himself.
Although I don’t believe a person with talent should ever have their work boycotted, I have to admit, Kanye pushes my buttons. However, my managing editor, Michon Ellis, points to Kanye’s overall body of work. It is regarded as innovative as well as transforming artwork. Critically acclaimed albums The College Dropout, Late Registration and Graduation are strong proof points of his talent. Love him or hate him, Kanye’s music should live on for generations to come.
Actor Jon Voight has appeared in many classic films. He played the naive gigolo Joe Buck in “Midnight Cowboy.” He won an Oscar for his portrayal of a wounded soldier in the anti-war flick, “Coming Home.” He is the best thing on “Ray Donovan” playing the loser father of the titular character to perfection.
Many of his films have a liberal political bent, he played the amoral Milo Minderbinder, in the absurdist antiwar film, “Catch-22.” he was in the film Chernobyl: The Final Warning, a cautionary tale about the dangers of nuclear power.
As a young person, he protested the war in Vietnam.
He began to show signs of what can only be called paranoia in 2008, writing an article for the Washington Times in which he accused peace activists of causing the Communist Uprising in Vietnam and Cambodia. He accused President Obama of being influenced by very radical militant white and black activists.
He was an avid supporter of Donald Trump comparing him to Lincoln and believing that he was robbed of the election.
Jon was and is a chameleon-like actor. Anyone who watches one of his films will feel as though they are watching a real person rather than a performance.
Voight’s work will be around long after the 82-year-old actor is gone. He will probably not influence opinions regarding politics. However, canceling him will only draw attention to his insane views. Having said that, he never should have been asked to write an opinion piece for any publication ever as he is not an authority on politics.
Do Boycotts of Artist Work?
Before you head out to your backyard for a DVD bonfire, you may want to think about whether or not boycotting an artist really works.
Lilly Goren, a Professor of Political Science at Carroll University says, “Generally, this kind of boycott doesn’t impact the celebrity financially since often these celebrities are quite wealthy. What form the boycott comes in also varies—not attending the Dixie Chicks concerts or not buying their music might have had an adverse impact on them, since their level of fame was not as great as someone like Beyonce or Bruce Springsteen.”
When asked if he would represent a person who had been chided for their political views, Josh Mitchell, owner of Wickid Pissa Publicity said, “Democrat? Republican? I just like parties. With that said, I would ensure my due diligence was covered in terms of taking on a new client who aligns with my sensibilities and sensitivities. Not from a Puritan standpoint, I don’t need everyone to have my exact views, but conscious-wise I don’t want to associate myself with anyone who spews a hateful or divisive message.”
Questions to Ask Yourself About Supporting a Celebrity
If you are wondering if you should continue to support an artist, there are a few questions you should ask yourself.
1. Does the artist’s work speak louder than they do?
Look at what the artist is expressing with their work. Is it something that can make you think about important questions in life for years to come, or does it make so many references to current events that it will simply fade away?
2. Does the film, book, song or painting reference other works of art?
Have you ever read,” Notes from the Overfed,” by Woody Allen? It is a satirical take on Dostoyevsky’s, “Notes from the Underground.” Mr. Allen’s short stories and films often make fun of great literature and may encourage readers to take a look at the classics.
“The Simpsons” often references great films in its episodes. Past shows have paid homage to, “The Red Balloon”, “The Godfather,” and “Gone with the Wind.” If someone’s work inspires you to experience other books, films, or poems, it may not matter if they are not politically correct.
3. Does the celebrity have amazing technical skills?
Some people are given a gift so great that it is a joy to watch them work. Even if you do not like, “Song of the South” or Louis Armstrong’s persona as a jovial and complacent black man, you will never hear anyone play a horn the way he does, not if you listened to every jazz record ever made.
Football fans love to watch Tom Brady play the game so much that they may ignore the fact that he would not support nor denounce former President Donald Trump.
I realize there are always going to be some people who will support an artist just because they like the person or their politics. Those persons lacking eardrums or a soul may want to roar along with Katy Perry because they agree with her views.
People who advocate for LGBTQ may have a hard time admitting that their icon Madonna did not have the voice to play Evita or the acting abilities for basically any of her roles.
If fans want to boycott a celebrity for their politics, they should put down their cell phones and stop following them on social media. Do not read or watch personal interviews with them. Paying for and paying attention to an artist’s work and only their work will send a stronger message than canceling them completely.