Celebrities are an interesting bunch.
Some are ridiculously good looking. Others can jump insanely high or run incredibly fast. There are even a few who are famous simply because of their families.
No matter what they’re known for, they all have one thing in common:
They’re human, just like us.
It’s way too easy to forget this when we see them on our TVs or smartphones. When they’re sailing through the air, preparing for a monstrous dunk, we tend to forget they still have fears, flaws, and plenty of other quirks that aren’t immediately obvious.
As a society, we place these people on pedestals, praising them for mastering some unobtainable skill and reaching an unimaginable level of success.
Unfortunately, this is a double-edged sword.
Because we label them as an “athlete” or “actress,” we force them into that lane, and only that lane. We forget that, as fellow humans, they have other thoughts and beliefs they may want to share.
As celebrities, they have something many of us don’t:
Thanks to social media, these same thoughts and beliefs can reach thousands, even millions of people who look up to them as role models.
Why wouldn’t they use their platform to spread their message?
Because they’re paid millions to simply “shut up and dribble?”
Because they’re nothing but a “pretty face?”
I don’t buy it.
Sure, there are plenty of celebrities that are forged from the abysmal depths of reality TV, famous only for their ability to create drama with other twenty-somethings.
However, for every reality star there is someone who is multi-talented and multi-faceted. These people use their fame and fortune to create and sponsor projects that benefit the greater good.
Don’t believe me?
Take LeBron James, the NBA’s most dominant player currently playing.
Yes, he’s a 6’8” power forward who constantly carries his team on his back. He’s also the founder of the LeBron James Family foundation, an organization that spends at least $1 million each year on educational programs that engage elementary school students.
And what about Jessica Alba?
It’s no secret she’s been internationally recognized by pretty much every magazine out there as one of the most attractive people on Earth, but how many people know she is the co-founder of The Honest Company, a collection of household goods, diapers, and body care products that is valued at $1.7 billion?
And who could forget Colin Kaepernick?
Whether you follow the NFL or not, you have undoubtedly heard stories of his protest during the 2016 preseason. He has been widely criticized for kneeling during the national anthem in order to protest systemic oppression against people of color, police brutality, and the criminal justice system. Many feel, including our very own president, that Mr. Kaepernick and other athletes should stick to what they know and leave politics out of sports.
These are just a few celebrities that are using their platforms in order to fight for what they believe in. There are countless others who use their talents, both inside and outside of their industry, to share what drives them in order to help others.
If you ask me, I wish more celebrities felt empowered to share what they care about.
Think about it this way: If you were a celebrity, would you be OK with “staying in your own lane?”
Something tells me that you, like most of us, would want to be known for more than just your charming good looks or your ability to deliver lines on command.
Maybe it’s the optimist in me, but I really believe that we all have things we care about, ideas we want to share, and people we want to help.
This doesn’t change just because someone is famous.
In fact, I would argue that, much like Spider-Man, with great power comes great responsibility. The larger your audience becomes, the more potential there is for you to affect change. It doesn’t matter if this change is related to your industry or not.
Keep this in mind next time you turn on your TV or open a magazine (remember those?) and you might be surprised with what you learn from others.
Just make sure it’s not reality TV.
Do you think celebrities are more than just a “pretty face?” Should they just “shut up and dribble?”
This post reflects the views and experiences of the author, and is intended to start a conversation. Please share your thoughts in the comments below!