We’re in an era where celebrity culture and political and social commentaries have become messily and inextricably (also inexplicably) intertwined. Is everyone’s opinion worth pull-quoting? Does every actress and Instagram model need to have a stump speech on feminism? Of course not. However, no matter how many famous women make us furious with their “humanist” cop-out bullshit, without celebrities being forced to, or choosing to discuss these issues in such a public way, the rest of the world might not be reflecting on their own opinions to the same degree. Not that people wouldn’t have opinions, of course, but when Beyonce and Taylor Swift and Emma Watson and Aziz Ansari and Meryl Streep and basically every other celebrity is talking about feminism, it draws entirely new levels of attention to the issues. And that’s awesome.
But again, not every celebrity wants to, needs to, or even should have their opinions forced out and dissected. That’s probably part of why we get so many of these kid gloves, uninflammatory responses to political questions, like the above “humanist” vs. feminist line, or a lot of talk about “PC culture” from people who can’t seem to accept that “political correctness” is just a bullshit way of saying “not being a privileged asshole.”
I get why celebrities, who are suddenly forced to have and share opinions, tip-toe around the issues and often refuse to make declarative statements. But it’s all that much more refreshing— exciting, even— to hear from these celebrities who DO have strong, progressive opinions and aren’t afraid to just say the words they mean and mean the words they say.
In talking to the BBC, Daniel Radcliffe was asked if he think Hollywood has a racism problem. This would normally be a time for the celebrity being interviewed to use words that sound like an opinion, but won’t get them in trouble with their publicists or on Twitter. Radcliffe, though, doesn’t mince his words. When asked if he thinks Hollywood is racist, or has been racist, he had to even sort of half-laugh at the obviousness.
I mean, yes. It’s pretty undeniable. That’s the thing. We like to think of ourselves as being a very, very progressive industry, but we have been lagging behind in all kinds of areas that have been well documented.
Radcliffe himself said recently that he has some “really fucking racist” friends who he doesn’t want to ditch, despite being, you know, really fucking racist. I said then that it’s really only possible (or at least a whole lot easier) to separate racism from “being a good person” if you’re not likely to be on the receiving end of that racism. Does this awesomely blunt acknowledgement of Hollywood’s racism discount that other statement? No. But again, just because you’re famous doesn’t mean you instantly and entirely have everything figured out. Political spokesperson isn’t an automatic sub-job of actors. But there aren’t many celebrities who— when having this sort of platform foisted onto them— are willing to talk this honestly. He’s having the conversations we all have (or try to avoid), but he has to do it with the BBC, instead of friends and family. And that’s pretty. admirable.
Via The Mary Sue.