Americans are obsessed with celebrities ― their children, sex lives, marriages, divorces, addictions, and political beliefs.
The fascination and hunger for celebrity politics has changed significantly over the last two election cycles. Hollywood is taking a bigger role and getting more access than ever to inner political circles, celebrities are not only attending fundraisers, they’re acting as surrogates, policy advisors, and journalists.
It’s an odd merger where everyone is using each other in the hopes of gaining with the broader public. Celebrities have gained credibility as being something other than brainless entertainers. Politicians get to seem cool and try to appeal to certain demographics.
Yet as singers and actors are gaining a larger role in political life, is it making Americans any more engaged or intelligent?
Take Mary J. Blige’s exclusive sit-down interview she did with Hillary Clinton. The R&B icon got a chance to ask the next potential leader of the free world anything she wanted ― an opportunity any journalist would sell their non-existent soul for ― and she took the time to sing to the Democratic nominee.
Clinton’s eyes glazed over as Blige sang Bruce Springsteen’s American Skin about police brutality. TV host Wendy Williams described the whole interview perfectly as “hella awkward.”
It was more than that, though, it was a wasted chance for a serious journalist to ask Clinton a question Americans really cared about, instead of an opportunistic celebrity to have a moment.
Blige received some harsh feedback and responded eloquently on Twitter.
The R&B singer isn’t the only celebrity to gain undeserved access; in the mist of failing poll numbers and rumors about her health, Clinton gave another exclusive to Zach Galifianakis on his show Between Two Ferns.
While the interview was funny, it was a shiny object to distract Americans after Clinton spent a summer dodging speculations about her health and lying under oath about her e-mails.
Adding to the pain of it all is that not even Blige, Galifianakis, or Katy Perry have managed to help Clinton win over millennials.
Republicans are no better, I still get night terrors at the fact that Chachi (Scott Baio) had a primetime speaking role at the RNC.
Outside Oprah’s endorsement of Obama in 2008, celebrity endorsements never really mattered in the past, but now they’ve become accessories to the crime of a distracted public settling for politicians that most of the country hates.
Let journalists ask the questions, experts make the policy, and celebrities sing a song.