Sunday night, I had the opportunity to watch the 75th Golden Globe Awards, and as usual, there was a lot of glitz and glamour to behold. In recent years, in addition to the drool worthy fashions and mildly gossipy banter, there’s been an uptick in political statements being made on the red carpet; an experience that is often accompanied by impassioned acceptance speeches during the telecast. It’s endearing. Undoubtedly, artists have been using their celebrity to bring awareness to causes for years. With the rise of the influence of social media, however, these gestures have garnered even more amplification.
The Golden Globes, the first major award show of the season, provided the perfect backdrop for another showing of solidarity. 99% of the attendees donned all black to show their support for Time’s Up, a call for change from women in entertainment for women everywhere, addressing “systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace.” In recent months, many women, including some of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood, have come forward to share their stories of horrifying interactions with powerful men. These are men that tend to wield their influence in ways that could be seen as inappropriate at best, but incorrigible and unlawful at worst. With the many new revelations and a chorus of women chiming in with #MeToo, quite a large number of these powerful men lost their jobs, and their perceived invincibility which had been so graciously supplied by the industries they helped to shape.
Therein lies the problem. For years, many of the same people who wore black to the show and talked a good game about equality with red carpet hosts (who by all accounts were ill prepared to hold conversations about the issues at a depth level that was warranted.) These same people shielded offenders from the consequences of their actions. They were willfully ignorant, or blatantly hiding their knowledge of these incidents, which in theory, would make them complicit. When Hollywood backs a cause, the one thing that always seems to come up short is the level of conviction. Like, fam… Do you even care?
I remember when I was in elementary and everyone was watching wrestling. Everyday, people were talking about The Rock and Triple H, and if you didn’t want to be lame, you would be talking about The Rock and Triple H too. Even if you didn’t know all the details of the matches, or for that matter, even cared, you would position yourself to look like you were a part of the conversation, because it would be to your benefit. It was trendy. It’s the same way in many industries, but, especially Hollywood, which is driven so heavily by images.
This is in no way intended to trivialize or diminish the work of the artist-activists. Especially not those who have the passion to support and place substantive action behind specific causes. This is also not a call for all people with platforms to use them to speak about causes. Rather, the point is, if you’re not going to move forward toward a resolution to a problem with some conviction, don’t fake like you care just to save face. It’s disingenuous. Have the guts to aback up your apathy by standing on your own. If not, you weaken the cause, and the least you could do is step back while the work gets done.