Celebrities and Politics: An Inappropriate Mix | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Celebrities and Politics: An Inappropriate Mix

Comment Writer Gabrielle Taylor-Dowson insists that the political landscape should not involve celebrities like Oprah

What started as a hashtag on Twitter, the self-explanatory #Oprah2020, has now become the relatively serious question of: What if Oprah ran for presidency?

American celebrities seem to have a penchant for politics. Kanye West did the same thing in 2016 when he said he wanted to run in the 2020 election. Other Hollywood big-shots, as we know, already hold political office - Arnold Schwarzenegger is the Governor of California and Clint Eastwood is the Mayor of Carmel, a city within The Terminator’s state. And, of course, saving the best until last: the celebrity business tycoon Donald Trump’s surprise 2017 presidential election win. A celebrity is the President of the United States of America. Now, another is talking about trying for the same.

Oprah and Donald Trump couldn’t be more different candidates.

Oprah is a great orator, and has done more than most celebrities to actually effect change

She’s a woman who has defied odds to ‘provide hope, investment and a roadmap for women.’ She attended a historically black university (Tennessee State) and became a billionaire because she had ownership of her own show... her own career.

Her philanthropic work is vast. She bought a television network and created jobs. She’s the kind of figure who would greatly appeal to a lot of Americans, politicians and voters alike.

Trump is… well, we all know Trump. We have read the news, the articles and Twitter timelines alike. I’m trying to keep this article from becoming another Trump rant.What this article is about is that, regardless of what an admirable and generous woman Oprah is, she should not run for President. No celebrity should.

I’m not trying to diminish the power of Oprah’s Golden Globes speech after becoming the first black woman to win the Cecil. B. Demille award, which was what started this talk in the first place. She is a great orator, and has done more than most celebrities to actually effect change. In the 90s, for instance, she helped lobby for the National Child Protection Act, which created a database of known abusers and became known as the ‘Oprah Bill.’

It is inspiring, but inspiration shouldn’t win someone the presidency.

Politics shouldn’t be about personality, it should be about who can do the job, and who can do it well

Many people found Trump and what he stands for inspiring, so they voted for him. The skills need for such a high position within political office are technical and complicated, requiring knowledge that any celebrity, no matter how passionate, is not qualified for.

Politics shouldn’t be about personality, it should be about who can do the job, and who can do it well. Regardless of who you think that is, they should at least have some kind of political experience.

Beyond Oprah and Trump, there are the rest of the celebrities, the Hollywood elite who actively tell the public who they should vote for and why, and if they don’t agree, then how massively ignorant they are.

Free speech is something everyone is entitled to, but what celebrities need to understand is that they cannot be the spokespeople for the public because they are so out of touch with the public.

Yes, a celebrity may have started from little; but now they are wealthy, live and socialise with other wealthy people, so removed from the lives of everyday people.

What celebrities are concerned and care about does not necessarily correlate with what the average person is focused on when they vote.

It is for this reason, combined with a lack of actual job experience, that celebrities should be less involved in politics.


21st January 2018 at 9:00 am