Opinion: The Influence of Celebrities

Milan Manriquez, Cub News Writer

Influential celebrities: famous actors, musicians, artists, even influencers, who have made a name for themselves and developed a massive following of fans across the globe. These are the people we know just by their name and yet they rule the modern world in terms of popularity, have an incredible amount of influence on the herds of people that follow them, and everyone seems to love them. But in some instances,  they use their influence to spread negative messages. With all this power, famous celebrities pose a danger with their influence on society. 

Nowadays, everybody wants to be an influencer – a word that’s literal definition is ‘a person or thing that influences another’. Except it seems like recently the term ‘influencer’ is thrown around without much value. From teenage TikTokers, to viral video game streamers, to wannabe Instagram models, it doesn’t seem like these internet personalities have much significance past their moments of short-lived limelight, despite what their titles imply. Instead, it seems that the aforementioned celebrities such as Hollywood movie stars or well-known music icons seem to more accurately fit the true definition of an ‘influencer’. 

The most popular types of these celebrities have even become so famous that they have amassed what some refer to as ‘cult followings’ – groups of fans that are so entranced with and highly dedicated to such a severe point that it surpasses simple fandom. Now I’m not saying there’s an issue with being a fan, or even a superfan, of a famous celebrity, but the concept of being a fan has the potential to be dangerous. A majority of the time people get so caught up in the fandom of whatever particular celebrity they follow, leading them to agree with any opinion, comment, or belief that celebrity might have. Not only is this dangerous because it causes people to stop thinking for themselves, but it could also lead those fans to enable and spread the negativity of any celebrity with influence.

A prime example of this would be the recent comments made by music and fashion icon Kanye West. The rapper has been making news outlines for the past couple of weeks due to his comments online regarding Jewish people. Ye, also known to most as Kayne, took to Twitter recently and, like many of his previous unhinged internet rants, made some crazy comments, tweeting: “I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 ON JEWISH PEOPLE ”, and plenty of other outlandish comments of that nature. Twitter has since then deleted Ye’s thread of tweets, but not before it reached plenty of his followers and was shared across social media. As a result of these comments, there has been a massive recent uprise in public antisemitic propaganda in the U.S. Last Saturday, antisemitic demonstrators were seen giving Nazi salutes as they stood behind a large overpass banner that read, “Kanye is right about the Jews”.

Kanye’s wild comments provide the perfect example as to how dangerous being a fan or following a celebrity can be. This situation portrays how influential celebrities can become – because although many people may just follow artists for their art, that same following could lead to a sense of super-fandom where, these fans while blindly following these celebrities can have an actual dangerous impact on people in this world.