During Saturdays' Screen Actors Guild Awards, Mahershala Ali and the 'Stranger Things' cast joined the trope of Hollywood actors who have spoken out against Donald Trump's authoritarian leadership. Despite being stereotypically preoccupied with gold-plated awards, fashion shows and film premiers, dozens of influential public figures have recently exhibited their political zeal, triggered by the 'inhumane' and 'un-American' actions of the United States 45th President.
Despite Trumps appointment being largely due to the prevalence of celebrity, Hollywood has played a large role in the backlash against his inauguration. Hollywood's highly publicised protest against the Trump administration has gained prominence alongside mass protests monopolizing cities across the world. This liberal, 'Counter-Culture,' has captured the attention of the press, as the previously neutral faces of show business are employing their notoriety to protest breeches in women's rights, LQBTQ rights, and the prejudicial 'Muslim Ban'. These 'Celebrities' are voicing their dissention through speeches at rally's, social media statements and high-profile award ceremonies, culminating in a celebrity counter-culture that is almost as un-presented as Trump's election itself.
On day two of the Trump Presidency, Scarlett Johansson and America Ferrera joined some 500,000 participants at the 'Women's March' on Washington. Johansson took to the podium, bravely relaying some 'deeply personal' antidotes regarding the benefits of Planned Parenthood, publicly pledging her 'relentless devotion to support women's health care initiatives.' Johansson was accompanied by actress and second generation Honduran immigrant, America Ferrera, who's eulogizing speech rejected the 'demonization of our Muslim brothers and sisters', demanded 'an end to the systemic murder and incarceration of our black brothers and sisters', and reassured her fellow Americans that they 'will not go from a nation of immigrants to a nation of ignorance.' The attendees of these marches also harboured some familiar faces. Miley Cyrus, Blake lively and Jake Glynellahll were among the hordes of people peacefully protesting for the fundamental rights of women.
However, the backlash against Trump's inauguration has not been limited to the pulpits of rally's and galas, but has extended to the circulation of boycotts and petitions through celebrities' social media accounts, in support of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance strike at JFK airport. The protest was instigated in an attempt to demonstrate solidarity with those effected by the Muslim Ban, however was rejected by Travel app, 'Uber'. This attempt to undercut the NYTWA was met by a plenitude of big names rallying against the allegedly pro-Trump company. Celebrities including Jesse Williams and Lena Dunham encouraged followers to #deleteuber in a stand against the Muslim Ban.
An additional demonstration of political protest came in the form of publicized celebrity donations towards the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU took Trump to court on the allegation that his 'Muslim Ban' violated the 'Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the U.S. Constitution.' Across the world, celebrities worked to advance the lawsuit through donations, support and publicity. Multiple singers including Sia and Jack Antinoff vowed to match fans donations to the ACLU, contributing to the charities accumulation of over $24 Million in donations throughout the last weekend of January.
This showcase of humanitarianism may signify an important shift in the role that 'celebrity' plays in our current cultural climate. In a society encapsulated by fame and Hollywood, it is comforting to note that the culture that paved the way for a reality TV star president, may be the precise culture to bring him down. However, this notion, albeit promising, would rely on a continuous commitment to the fight for inclusivity. As Viola Davis explained during the SAG Awards, we must insure that this fight becomes a cultural norm, and is not disregarded as a fleeting trend.