Recently, there has been a media storm surrounding the trial of teen sex trafficking victim Cyntoia Brown after the hashtag #FreeCyntoiaBrown went viral on social media. At the age of 16, Brown was sentenced to 51 years in prison for the first-degree murder her abuser, which was in an act of self-defence. Although it seems as though, this is not recent news. In fact, having been sentenced in 2004, the “teen” has already served over ten years of her 51-year sentencing and is now 29 years old. A full documentary was filmed and released by Dan Birman in 2011; Me Facing Life: Cyntoia Brown’s Story.
So why are we only talking about this now? Because influence is everything.
On November 21st, Rihanna shared a text post on her Instagram, outraged at the story, she captioned the post: “Something is horribly wrong when the system enables these rapists and the victim is thrown away for life.”
This piqued the interest of other celebrities like Kim K and Cara Delevigne who also took to social media to put the story on blast. The reality TV star Kim Kardashian has reportedly put her lawyers to work by hiring them for this case.
In light of these stories, the news outlets have been splashing their digital and print pages with how the celebrities are involved, garnering attention and revenue. However, more often than not it is easy to forget that this is not the only story of criminal injustice and that unfortunately there are seemingly endless cases like Brown’s which are mishandled. Yet, these will likely never be corrected because the voices that stand behind all those others are not booming like those of A-list celebrities.
The effort which not only these but many other celebrities have put into causes which they are passionate about is admirable. Yet, it is unfortunate that the attention attracted to the stories and causes which they stand behind often fall into the shadows, as the media looks beyond the cause, focusing heavily on the influencer instead. It is important to constantly reevaluate what we are really supposed to be paying attention to and not fall prey to the publicity behind the cause.
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