Death to Celebrity Culture

This year has taken a turn of events none of us expected. With a pandemic hanging over us every 

day as death tolls rise and millions more file for unemployment, the start of the decade is a 

shadow of what everyone hoped for. Every country is battling an invisible enemy and in the 

U.S., a disease that has plagued the country for centuries has erupted in riots across all 50 states. 

When the video of George Floyd being slowly murdered on camera spread like wildfire 

throughout social media-- and with it, a sense of outrage-- people took to the streets. As I 

watched young people tweet out petition links and gather resources to distribute across social 

media, it became clear that there’s a clear disconnect within celebrities and celebrity culture and 

the rest of the world. 

 

In these past few months, the ever-growing distance between us and them has become glaringly 

obvious. We watched as millions of people followed stay-at-home orders, with the worries of 

becoming unemployed, losing their businesses and not being able to afford hospital bills. We 

also saw as celebrities stayed in their multi-million dollar mansions and watched us from the nice 

neighborhoods of Hidden Hills and Calabasas. 

 

The tone-deaf video Gal Gadot and her celebrity friends shared on their IG accounts was another 

slap in the face, as they pretended to first, sing and second, empower us with the same old tired 

song. This video missed its mark for several reasons. First, some of these celebrities cannot sing. 

Second, celebrities have a lot of resources and influence at their disposal. Utilizing their 

platforms and privilege to help out those in need would have made a better impression. The 

assumption that a sing-along was the thing that we as a society needed from them, is what made 

the video both tone deaf and an example of how out of touch celebrities can truly be. 

 

As tragedy continues to spark anger and frustration every day and unemployment continues to 

shoot to historic highs, social media seems to feel like a playground to celebrities. With Kylie 

Jenner posting TikToks in her $36-million-dollar mansion and Justin Bieber exclaiming how 

blessed he is, with Kendall Jenner rapidly agreeing in the background, many of us feel frustrated, 

not amused. Why did we ever care about these people? Everyday on social media has felt like 

watching two worlds violently collide. One IG story shows a link to help donate money to 

essential workers or a list of numbers to call to open up another case of police brutality that 

allowed a murderer to walk free. The next is a celebrity telling us to stay positive with the sunny 

hills of Los Angeles in the background. 

 

Part of the obsession we’ve had with the rich and famous may come down to the fact that some 

represent the “American Dream” which is a scam but has been sold to millions as a reality. Some 

of these celebrities have grown up in normal neighborhoods and followed their dreams to 

become who they are today, so naturally, they are seen as the hallmark of hard work and glory. 

To see them turn their backs and tweet out meaningless words while their bank accounts grow 

more and more every day is ignorant at best and cruel at worst. Some will say they have no 

obligation to say anything or help or donate, but maybe they’re so used to just looking out for 

themselves that they can’t imagine someone else helping us. 

 

As we’re facing protests and a president that jumped to call for the military on its own people, 

being vocal has never been more important. Six years ago, Ferguson was engulfed in flames and 

celebrities turned a blind eye while the media vilified protesters. Today, nothing has changed 

except everyone is paying attention to who isn’t talking and who isn’t donating. In a fight where 

more than 10,000 protesters have been arrested, bail funds are in need of donations and positive 

vibes from another A-lister are not going to do anything. While it’s understandable that people 

don’t have to make everything public and we’ll never know just how much our favorite artists 

donated to the cause, people that admire them and watch them and listen to them every day need 

to see their vocal support. An IG story from a Jenner that faked her tax returns but is still richer 

than most of us will ever be is not helpful. 

 

The now-infamous IG story from Virgil Abloh shocked twitter for how laughable it was. The 

first Black designer of Louis Vuitton who recently had an exhibition at the High Museum in 

Midtown Atlanta posted a screenshot of his donation of $50 to a Miami bail fund. I’ll let you 

have a second to process that. 

 

The poor gesture would’ve been better off on his Close Friends story than with the millions of 

young people that follow him. The $50 bill now has a new name though, a “Virgil.” Aside from 

the twitter jokes, all of this begs the question: Where are famous people when their communities 

need them? The disillusionment with celebrity culture is only going to keep growing as we 

realize that we are the only ones that can look out for each other. In the aftermath of all of this, 

the people we praise and shower with admiration need to be the people that have been fighting 

for our lives and not the people that watch from the sidelines in silence. The health-care workers, 

the protesters on the frontlines, the organizers, the people that care. 

 

If you can’t donate or attend the protests, here are some ways you can help: 

 

Petitions: 

Justice For George Floyd 

Justice For Ahmaud Arbery 

Ban the Use of Inhumane Rubber Bullets 

Justice for Julius Jones 

Justice for Breonna Taylor

Get educated: 

What to Do Instead of Calling the Police 

Anti-Racism Resource List 

Playlist of videos that donate to BLM: 

Playlist 1 

Playlist 2