Celebrity efforts of encouragement earn unjust criticism

Let’s give celebrities the benefit of the doubt during quarantine.

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Addison Freiheit, Staff Writer

After reading headlines like “This ‘Imagine’ Cover Is No Heaven” and “The terrible video of celebrities singing ‘Imagine,’ explained,” I was expecting Gal Gadot’s celebrity compilation of ‘Imagine’ to be truly horrific. Instead, I was met with an innocent attempt to bring a little more positivity to the internet. This video is not the only effort celebrities are making to encourage fans that is being described as insensitive, tone-deaf and naive. During a time when we are demanding to give ourselves grace, it is alarming that we are unwilling to extend it to the celebrities we follow so closely.

Related: “Celebrity arrogance is overwhelming amid COVID-19.”

THEIR PROFESSION DOES NOT STEAL FROM THEIR INTENTIONS 

Much of the criticism appears to come from a place of envy and feeling misunderstood. When Madonna posted a video of her in a rose-filled bathtub, discussing how the coronavirus is “the great equalizer,” it is easy to see where the backlash comes from. Most of us are not spending quarantine basking in the glories of a life as one of the rich and famous.

It is silly, however, to pick apart every well-intended tweet and Instagram story. A recent New York Times article bashed celebrities for posting encouragement from within their expensive homes. While their quarantine experiences are different than ours, I do not believe we have to blame them for being wealthy. 

Although their wealth may distance them from the fear of unemployment and bankruptcy, they—like all of us—have been uprooted from their sense of normalcy. They are still susceptible to feeling isolated, and they are still susceptible to the coronavirus. There is no need to aggressively read into every celebrity post as though it is an intentional rub against our lack of privilege. 

THEY ARE DOING WHAT THEY CAN—JUST LIKE US 

As we are all presently sacrificing our previous way of life, it is reasonable to believe that celebrities are doing the best that they can given the circumstances. While we are experimenting with candle-making or sleeping in until noon, these actors and actresses are also trying to find ways to spend their days. Christina Aguilera colors with her kids, Jimmy Fallon created an “At Home Edition” of “The Tonight Show” and Miley Cyrus is creating her own Instagram show, “Bright Minded.”

“Bright Minded,” which has featured stars such as Elton John and Selena Gomez, was created as an attempt to offset the fear that news can bring. 

“I started this show to bring light into dark times,” Cyrus explained. 

Cyrus is not the only celebrity using their gifts to make us laugh and smile. John Krasinski’s YouTube series, “Some Good News,” recently celebrated the medical professionals who are putting in long hours and shared a sweet video of a husband singing to his wife through the window of a nursing home. Some are describing these celebrity efforts as insensitive and naïve, but here we all are, seeking them out for joy and entertainment during this stress-inducing season.

WORLD AWARENESS BRINGS SELFLESS DONATIONS

Many celebrities are also taking the time to promote relief foundations— an act even more inspiring than the positive messages they share. In addition to tagging American Red Cross in his Instagram captions, Justin Timberlake is encouraging his followers to donate to the Crew Nation fund that provides money for those who normally set up and tear down large events like concerts. 

Shawn Mendes’ Shawn Foundation is currently giving all donations to coronavirus relief efforts. These celebrities know that the greatest support that they can give to the world is money that will fight the pandemic.

Although it is easy to slam celebrities for the lives they live, the last thing social media needs right now is more negativity, including our unnecessary criticism. We need to understand that while we are all experiencing the same pandemic, we are experiencing it in remarkably different ways. The compassion we have for the world must extend to the celebrities who may not understand first-hand the hardships brought by a lack of status. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt because everyone is worthy of grace.

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