Charting The Power Of Celebrity Activism
How social media drives a vast space of famous people and their causes, from Black Lives Matter to saving sharks
Celebrities taking up social justice arms used to elicit cries of treason. Jane Fonda was dubbed “Hanoi Jane” and labeled a traitor after speaking out against U.S. tactics during the Vietnam War. In 2003, country music trio the Dixie Chicks were effectively blackballed from the entertainment industry after criticizing former President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in the wake of 9/11.
Now, however, activism and fame seem to go hand-in-hand, a package deal of star power and standing for something larger than oneself. The rise of social media has played a large role in propelling social consciousness, with celebrities posting their own impassioned PSAs or broadcasting protests from smartphones alongside Instagrams from red carpet premieres. Call it an epidemic of consciousness with a side of brand recognition, but the end result is the same: awareness. Here, we’ve charted the robust celebrity activist universe. Follow the threads to figure out who cares about what in 2016.
Art by Luke Shuman