Celebrities As Opinion Leaders
In the era we live in, a majority of people believe in an individualistic approach and because of this, ideas, which were once a prime focus, gradually disappear from the horizon. For example, I can now easily claim to be a god man, but also enjoy my fair share of sexual scandals. When we look at this in a socio-economic perspective, we understand that the meaning of the term has gradually changed with time. Opinion leaders and celebrities, who are activists, are seen as an important part of the overall growth of a society. The only reason we put them up on that stage in the first place is due to their potential to dominate certain trends and outcomes in society, but not the fact that they have so much potential to promote our ideas.
Quoted by the legend who is Barack Obama: -
“One voice can change a room, and if one voice can change a room, then it can change a city, and if it can change a city, it can change a state, and if it changes a state, it can change a nation, and if it can change a nation, it can change the world. Your voice can change the world.”
Clap for yourself, if you had goosebumps. In our small discussion, the room we are looking at is a PVR cinema and the voice does not have to be an actor who has grown respect for nothing other than his rippling triceps.
In many instances, celebrities take a conscious approach towards raising awareness and providing aid and support during times of crisis. There are two primary reasons that celebrities take up the role of opinion leaders and strive for contemporary activism, these are: -
A shift away from election campaigns to immediate humanitarian action or trying to shed light on a possible shift from domestic issues to international ones.
Most A-list celebrities would probably choose to promote awareness regarding conflict and healthcare in a refugee camp than a bake sale. For close to a century celebrities have tried making an entrance into the political arena as well, a fair number have been able to leave a lasting impression and this is due to them fighting for a particular cause or endorsing certain candidates. Some have even gone on to establishing themselves as a strong presence in a circuit full of celebrities trying their hand at something most people feel they should steer clear of.
A man once known as Paul Hewson now does the rounds as the lead singer of one of the most popular bands to ever take the stage, U2. No other celebrity has really come close to what Bono achieved during his long stint as a celebrity activist. Bono established himself as the fulcrum of an astonishing network of political leaders, philanthropists, experts in the field of development and other celebrities who are using their fame and social status to eradicate poverty in the developing world, particularly Africa. He once famously said: -
“As a rock star, I have two instincts, I want to have fun, and I want to change the world. I have a chance to do both.”
Carrying a varied opinion of religion on his shoulder, Bono once sang about the day “when all the hues will seep into one,” and he does a great job leading by example, apart from other vocal frontmen who would often go astray on their journey to spread positive vibrations. The media and public would often reflect upon Bono’s meetings with various influential leaders with astonishment, with his undeniable knowledge and spirit, he often conversed with them as if he had been acquainted with them for years prior to their meetings, probably at his intense concerts and live performances. He could also sling M.B.A.- talk about change and obligation in poor nations as fluidly as the dialect of Christian commitment to the penniless.
Bono has exhibited determination, industriousness and exceptional political dexterity in building agreements not just with Bill Clinton and Bill Gates but also with the makers of the popular show Entourage who invited him as a guest appearance on their show. There are spiritual individuals Bono exchanges words with over scriptures and not surprisingly convinces them to attend a rock concert once in a while.
Such insightful political views clarify why Bono has not just possessed the capacity to raise awareness about his issues which are inclined towards deprivation and wellbeing needs in Africa — additionally, he has changed the way that famous people collaborate with lawmakers and issues. More than any single figure, he’s in charge of the tilt of big name activism toward neediness in the trend-generating scene, the expanded accentuation on direct activity as a supplement to government campaigning, and thoughtfulness regarding building establishments, (for example, the one instance wherein he was involved in a discussion with the Pope about third world debt and the meeting ended with the Pope sporting Bono’s trademark wrap-around sunglasses.)
Besides everything positive Bono has done for the planet, he still made enough time to build on himself. Loved by millions, with or without you.
The problem, which arises, is disregarding the power of one’s voice to make a bold statement, whilst chasing our respective commercial addictions. Hence, the only way we can bring about the changes we need is by leading by example in whichever way tailored to suit each and every one of us. The idea of one individual being able to set an example for a large group has been prevalent throughout time, from the athletes like Tiger Woods who went on a mission 9 times to accomplish pretty much the same thing, to Lance Armstrong who was stripped of his dignity and Tour De France titles after establishing himself as a worldwide cycling phenomenon. The need of the hour is to shift focus from things we already know, to the things that we need to know better, things we can learn better as a majority. (For example, we see problems arise around us at every point, but the need to address them often takes the backseat.)
“To be one, to be united is a great thing. But to respect the right to be different is maybe even greater.” — Bono