By Alejandra Gomez and Jasmeet Kaur
Should artists play a role in politics? Of course they should. Artists need to play a role in politics because of the power and platform they have in our society today.
In a few interviews we conducted, students agreed with the argument above. In one interview, Tahoma senior Vivienne Dimalanta shared why she thinks artists should be involved in politics. She said, “Artists have a really big platform that they can utilize to get a certain message out, so they can reach a lot more people if they just post it online.”
This is true. Artists like Drake, Rihanna, Beyoncé and so many more have millions of followers on social media sites like Twitter and Instagram, so what they post never goes unnoticed. These artists can use their power and relationship with their fans to give attention to and support big important movements like the March For Our Lives movement.
#MarchforOurLives is the social media branch of the movement for stricter gun control started by determined students following a number of school shootings. A prominent member of this movement is Emma González (@emma4change), a survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla. that left 17 adults and children dead and others injured.
This movement has been given a lot of attention by artists as well. Many celebrities in the music business, such as Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, DJ Khaled, Justin Bieber and many more, have shown their support for this movement in their own ways.
Demi Lovato performed at the national march for this movement, held on March 24 in Washington, D.C.
25-year-old Miley Cyrus attended the movement and publicized some tweets from that day. She used her song “The Climb” to motivate others.
Other artists supported the movement by tweeting about the march to acknowledge the students’ hard work and to publicize it as well.
All these artists, and many more, supported this movement in more ways than one, and that’s really important because the artists were able to reach a lot of people solely by posting about this march on their social media due to their huge platforms. Artists have a lot more reach than others, so their involvement in politics can really help our world if they use it in a positive way.
Artists can get involved in politics in other ways too, not just social media. Tahoma freshman Bianka Ortega said, “The music is something that everyone can hear, and you could spread messages through music. As you can see throughout history, music is being used to tell people things and to tell them stories; so if musical artists write about gun control, people will notice there’s something wrong, and wanna make a movement.”
Many believe that artists should take advantage of the position they are in to speak on issues like this. Some artists do. They use their music to talk about issues in politics or their thoughts on the world issues.
J. Cole is an artist who speaks on behalf of the Black community about governmental issues in society today. One song that stands out in particular is “High For Hours.” This is a song about racism in society and a visit J. Cole made to president Obama, including a vivid portrayal of the conversation between him and President Obama in the lyrics.
He says, “American hypocrisy, oh let me count the ways. They came here seeking freedom and they end up owning slaves.” This line speaks for itself about the issue of slavery in our society, an issue is still present in some ways today. He goes on to talk about his conversation with the president, saying:
“I had a convo with the president, I paid to go and see him, thinking bout the things I said I’d say when I would see him. Feeling nervous, sitting in a room full of white folks, thinking about the black man plight, think I might choke, nope. Raised my hand and asked the man a question. ‘Does he see the struggles of his brothers in oppression? And if so, if you got all the power in the clout as the president, what’s keeping you from helping n****s out?’ Well I didn’t say n****, but you catch my drift. He look me in my eyes and spoke and he was rather swift. He broke the issues down and showed me he was well aware. I got the vibe he was sincere and that the brother cared, but dawg you in the chair, what’s the hold up? He said there’s things that I wanna fix, but you know this sh*t n****, politics. Don’t stop fighting and don’t stop believing. You can make the world better for your kids before you leave it.”
This is a good example of an artist using his voice to make songs about issues in society today. While Cole’s songs focus mostly on the struggles of Black people, other artists can also use their voice to convey other important messages through their songs as well. Another song by J. Cole that portrays messages about issues in the world is “Be Free,” and Cole also dedicated a whole album, “4 Your Eyez Only,” to sharing his views on society today, including governmental issues, along with other world problems.
Artists all around the world can do many things to help the society we live in due to their platform and influence. They can post about issues or transmit their messages through their music to reach a lot more people. We believe that every citizen has a responsibility to the country and should work to make it better in whatever way they can contribute; which means that artists just have the same responsibility, but with a bigger advantage because of their fame. Artists should definitely use their power to make this world a better place.
Featured Image (at the top of the page): Students from Summit Tahoma participating in the March For Our Lives movement on March 14.