By: Thomas Horvath
Everyone knows what a celebrity is, a celebrity is someone famous. The term comes from the word celebrate, which means that celebrities are celebrated by society or the public. But is this still true? Celebrities are famous, but do their opinions really matter to anyone anymore? Should they be held to a higher standard than other people?
Actors started as jesters, which were looked down upon by society. They were seen as talentless, as all they could do was entertain. The first form of celebrities was movie stars, celebrities used to become famous by being in movies, a singer, or an athlete, to name a few. Now with social media, anyone can become famous at the drop of a hat. Thus, being a celebrity isn’t as big of a deal as it used to be. Of course, they still play a prominent role in our society.
A celebrity that has changed the culture for better or for worse is Kanye West. Possibly the most controversial celebrity currently, what he has been saying has been destroying everything he had built up in his career: his business deals, his relationships, and his reputation. With how big of an audience he has, saying these blatantly anti-semitic rhetoric could be dangerous and is most certainly reckless of him to do. On October 24, 2022, a banner was held over a freeway in Los Angeles, stating “Kanye is right”, with the men holding the sign doing the Nazi salute. Even if Kanye does not intend on rallying hate towards Jewish people, he is opening the gates for people who will use him as an excuse to be anti-semitic. This is an example of how a celebrity can negatively influence culture.
Still, there are celebrities who try to use their platform for good as well. While not the typical celebrity, MrBeast has used his following which he gained from doing over-the-top and extravagant challenges for good. In almost every Youtube video he makes, he is donating to someone less fortunate. Some examples include starting a restaurant that gave away food for free, donating 200,000 dollars to Make-A-Wish Foundation with Dwayne Johnson, and starting charities that plant trees and clean trash from the ocean.
Both of these celebrities have used their platform to influence their fans. But why do they play a role in our society? One reason could be that because they’re so popular, their fans will take influence from them and want to do what they do. Another could be that since we see celebrities so often everywhere, we assume they know better than we do. When we see them living their best lives on Instagram or the news, we follow it, wishing it was our life. However, celebrity influence has slowly but surely been fading away. After actors, many loved, were exposed as not-so-great people, such as Will Smith and Adam Levine, many stopped paying attention to them.
While everybody can be famous now, there will always be a hierarchy, with some people being more famous than others. As celebrity culture changes, that does not mean there will not be any more celebrities.