Saturday, July 13, 2024

Young voters influenced by celebrities

New York City officers were called to the SoHo area at 2 a.m. June 6, to disperse a crowd of hundreds of eccentrics. Standing atop parked cars, Kanye West and company advised individuals to follow him to the next venue across town at Webster Hall.

West’s impromptu concert was planned and announced that day and with no more than a tweet. he had flooded the streets with eager millennials.

The church of West is not dissimilar to the pillar of influence most celebrities have these days. Social media platforms, such as Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and Myspace, now raise the voices of celebrities louder than ever. As we near closer to this election, the opinions of celebrities on politics have begun to surface.

The celebrity support for Hillary Clinton has been abundant since her presidential nomination. Arguably, one of the most vocal supporter has been liberal author and actress Lena Dunham, the creator and director of HBO’s “Girls.” Dunham has spoken at rallies, interviews and filled her Twitter with support for the first woman nominee.

Katy Perry has also been unafraid to voice her support of Clinton. Perry has spoken openly about her voting strategy in interviews, atttended Clinton dinners and performed at an Iowan rally wearing the campaign logo.

Aside from Twitter, some celebrities have voiced their support for the Democratic nominee on Youtube. On Sept. 8, the Save the Day campaign joined Youtube with the intent of attracting young voters. The video included Scarlett Johansson, James Franco and Robert Downey Jr and no mention of any politicians by name. Instead, the group advocates immigration policies, common sense gun laws and protection from fear and ignorance.

This video follows the tradition of celebrity support videos that grew in prevalence during Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns.

A Time Magazine report mentions Clinton’s support extends behind the camera. Directors Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrahams have given donations upwards of $500,000 and $1 million, respectively. Apple CEO Tim Cook and the creator of ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” Shonda Rhimes both backed Clinton this year as well. Clinton’s fundraising tactics paid off and she has raised upwards of $143 million, according to a report from the Hill, a political website.

The majority of Hollywood is leaning toward Clinton, but the right-leaning supporters always gain national attention with their backing. Actor and director Clint Eastwood spoke at the Republican National Convention in 2012 made headlines for his support.

Celebrities with the power to bring attention to issues comes with criticism. When Beyoncé voiced support for the Black Lives Matter movement in her latest visual album and Super Bowl performance, she was met with criticism that she was anti-police. Kim Kardashian received a heap of backlash for her comments regarding the upcoming election and the possibility she’d be voting for Donald Trump. Jimmy Fallon caught flack for his interview of Donald Trump this month. Fallon was scrutinized immediately by news outlets and fellow talk-show hosts.

Fallon’s harshest condemnation came from host of “Full Frontal” Samantha Bee.

“If he thinks a race-baiting demagogue is OK, that gives permission to millions of Americans to also think that,” Bee said.

When considering a political candidate, the reasons to vote may come from anywhere. But the takeaway from these celebrity endorsements is the importance to exercise the right to vote.

Email Taylor Richardson at

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