Celebrities take on COVID-19

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

It seems like COVID-19 is the only thing people can talk about these days. It’s taken over everything in our lives to the point that reading anything in the news that isn’t related to COVID-19 is strange and alien. It feels as though there’s nothing else going on in the world – and that’s simply because there isn’t. Television shows have halted production, sports aren’t happening anymore and everyone has barricaded themselves in their homes. With morale so low, people are looking to influencers and celebrities for entertainment and guidance. This is both a blessing and a curse.

On one hand, you have very supportive celebrities. YouTube personalities like The Try Guys and SMOSH are posting videos from quarantine that offer ideas of things to do while stuck at home. The band AJR is offering free virtual concerts from their home, and multiple influencers have upped production of their content. There are examples of celebrities who have shown support and solidarity while also reminding people that they need to stay home. It isn’t anything huge, but their actions, however small, have helped by spreading the word about how to stay safe as well as offering entertainment.

There are also celebrities that are spending large amounts of money, whether that be to donate to a good cause or to support their own. Leonardo DiCaprio is on a mission to raise $15 million to donate to America’s Food Fund, Lady Gaga raised $35 million for the World Health Organization and Elton John pumped an extra $1 million into his AIDS foundation in order to continue providing treatment and testing for individuals living with HIV and AIDS. These celebrities are promoting foundations that are in dire need of money to continue functioning and providing help in these troubling times.

There are also some celebrities who have contracted COVID-19 speaking out about their experiences while also offering advice. Some of these celebrities include P!NK, Sara Bareilles, Idris Elba and Tom Hanks. They show us that anyone can get the virus while urging everyone to practice social distancing.

However, not everything celebrities have done has been helpful. The biggest thing that comes to mind is the “Imagine” video, which features celebrities singing the song “Imagine” by John Lennon. Some of the celebrities in this video include Jimmy Fallon, Natalie Portman and Will Ferrell. The song features lyrics like “Imagine no possessions” and “no need for greed or hunger.” 

The original video of these celebrities entitled “25 celebrities sing ‘Imagine’ in isolation, creating a moving montage” published on YouTube by CBS News has racked up 5,700 likes – compared to 47,000 dislikes. Some of the comments are: “So much cringe packed into one video,” “…trust me, half of us don’t have to imagine [having no possessions]” and “‘Imagine’ being that outta touch with society.” 

While many understand the intent of these celebrities was to unite everyone under such dire circumstances, they certainly picked the wrong song to do it. After all, these are people with more money than they know what to do with. They can live comfortably without a job for a long amount of time. However, their audience of average Americans have lost their jobs due to the crisis and are struggling to make ends meet. Celebrities singing about having “no possessions” while still being financially stable is incredibly insensitive in a time when some people literally don’t have any possessions. 

There are also plenty of celebrities who have continued to find themselves in controversy despite the pandemic – James Charles and Trisha Paytas, to name a few – but perhaps that’s just a way of regaining normalcy. After all, those two celebrities in particular are not ones to shy away from drama, even during a global pandemic.

All things considered, the pandemic has brought out the personalities and actions of numerous celebrities, allowing fans to see their true colors. Some have been helpful, but some have clearly not. 

Jenna Hultgren

Jenna Hultgren is the page editor for Perspectives on The Hilltop Monitor. She is a sophomore majoring in English.

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