One of the greatest things a person given the gift (and curse!) of being famous can do with their celebrity is use that public platform to influence positive change. Unfortunately, that also plays out on the opposite end of the spectrum as well with a handful of celebs that instead decide on using fame as a way to spew out negativity and beliefs that only further divide us as a nation.
Kanye West, now simply just Ye, has in recent times been put into the latter group based on his right-leaning political beliefs, past comments on the institution of slavery, obsessive-compulsive behavior in relation to co-parenting with soon-to-be-ex-wife Kim Kardashian and his general support of Donald Trump. However, his latest move may have just turned off even the most diehard of fans after he debuted a shocking “White Lives Matter” T-shirt during the recent YEEZY Season 9 runway presentation for Paris Fashion Week.
The “race-bait” marketing is very similar to Ye’s now-infamous “Make America Great Again” cap that he wore incessantly a few years ago to show his aforementioned loyalty to former President Trump. As with his previous fashion faux pas, many have been criticizing the Jesus Is King musician for using a quote adapted primarily by white supremacists to oppose the Black Lives Matter movement in order to get attention around some clothes and shoes.
Take a look at a few standout reactions to Yeezy’s ignorance and insensitivity below, including comments by Van Jones and Jaden Smith:
We’d be hypocrites to demand a free Black man in America be censored, but there’s got to be some understanding on Ye’s behalf in realizing how damaging the underlying message behind “White Lives Matter” can be for our culture. Hopefully Kanye can learn from examples of other Black celebrities in his position who’ve made change for the good in the political arena.
Keep scrolling to see 7 great examples of Black entertainers who used their fame to make a positive impact on the world of politics:
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7 Black Entertainers That Made A Positive Impact On Politics was originally published on blackamericaweb.com
1. Jackie RobinsonSource:Getty
As if breaking color carriers while an active player wasn’t enough, late MLB legend Jackie Robinson dedicated his retirement days to activism alongside the NAACP and to launching the Black-owned-and-operated Freedom National Bank.
2. Nina Simone
Music can be a powerful tool for relaying messages, and Miss Simone did just that with her civil rights anthem “To Be Young, Gifted and Black.” In a sense, the iconic song spoke for many Black Americans during the early ’70s that felt ignored and brushed aside by the government. Many today can also relate.
Diddy’s epic “Vote Or Die” campaign, in addition to his contributions on the MTV-backed “Rock The Vote” initiative, influenced a generation of young people to not only understand the importance of voting but also make politics feel a bit cool.
4. Kerry Washington
While Kerry is no stranger to The White House after seven seasons of starring as a fictional political fixer on Scandal, it was her real-life work as an activist during Obama’s successful presidential campaigns that truly made her a stalwart on the subject.
5. Chance The RapperSource:Getty
Although Chicago mayoral candidate Amara Enyia’s campaign proved to be unsuccessful, the support she received from Chance The Rapper was a great look in advocating for Black women for leadership roles that’s sure to be replicated in the foreseeable future.
6. Oprah Winfrey
What can’t Oprah do?! As the queen of media, it comes as no surprise that she’s regularly used her global platform to advocate for the right people to be in office. She succeeded with Obama, and hopefully Stacy Abrams’ 2022 gubernatorial election run in Georgia will be next.
7. Danny GloverSource:Getty
Danny Glover is a seasoned actor that is respected for his illustrious acting career, but some may not be aware of his decades of humanitarian work for economic justice and access to health care and education in the United States and Africa. No wonder why he was awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award during the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences’ 12th Annual Governors Awards earlier this year.