A few weeks ago, I attended a Harry Styles concert in Irving, Texas, and I was happily reminded of the positive influence celebrities and public figures can have on the public. One of the statements Styles repeated throughout his show was “Treat people with kindness.” This statement was also printed all over his merchandise. It was so refreshing to see someone with so much influence trying to spread a positive message. Towards the end of the show Styles addressed his female fans with a generous message.

“I could not feel more honored to stand and perform in front of a group of strong women every night,” Styles said.

His words inspired me to look at the other positive forces coming from celebrities that I feel are not highlighted enough. Society persecutes these people daily and I want to show my appreciation for the work they are doing to make a difference, raise awareness of prominent issues and spread positivity.

Last month, model and actress Amber Rose hosted her third annual Amber Rose SlutWalk in Los Angeles, California.  SlutWalk in general is a movement that was created to raise awareness toward human rights, gender equality and sexual violence. Amber Rose’s march is a stem of this movement.

Rose is someone who has been often called derogatory names for the way she dresses and her background. Rose took that negativity and channeled it into this walk to spark a change for herself and for women who experience the same thing. It is incredible to see her taking a stand like this.

After countless allegations of sexual assault were made against movie director Harvey Weinstein, several celebrities spoke out about their experiences with sexual harassment using the hashtag #MeToo. The movement grew after actress Alyssa Milano tweeted victims to use the hashtag who have been sexually harassed or assaulted to show how big the problem really is. Lady Gaga, Debra Messing, Gabrielle Union, Hilarie Burton, Rosario Dawson and many more took part in the movement and shared their experiences to help raise awareness. I had friends on my personal social media feeds taking part in the movement and sharing their stories. I am grateful for the celebs using their voice to share their stories because it has inspired many others to do the same, while contributing to raising awareness of these issues.

There has been an upheaval of devastating events happening across the world this semester with hurricanes, mass shootings and earthquakes. Several celebrities decided to step up and help.

When the effects of Hurricane Harvey poured down on Houston, Houston Texans football player J.J. Watts set up a fundraiser that raised over $37 million from over 200,000 donors.

Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony and Alex Rodriguez hosted One Voice: Somos Live! A Concert for Disaster Relief, which was benefit event to help Puerto Rico after it was badly damaged from Hurricane Irma. The event featured several performers including Stevie Wonder, Maroon 5 and Demi Lovato. Kim Kardashian, Ellen DeGeneres, Selena Gomez, Bruna Mars and many more helped answer phone calls during the telethon. The event raised around $35 million and went to several organizations including Feeding America, Habitat for Humanity and UNICEF.

TIDAL, a music streaming service held its third annual benefit concert, TIDAL x Brooklyn Oct. 18 in Brooklyn, New York that raised money and helped collect donated goods for victims of Hurricane Harvey, Irma and Maria as well as the earthquake in Mexico. The concert featured performances from Jay-Z, Fifth Harmony, DJ Khaled and more.

I also want to voice my appreciation for the stars who have shared their stories of battling illnesses.  

I have a rare autoimmune disease called Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis and it is obvious to me that autoimmune diseases in general are not ever really put in the spotlight. When Selena Gomez received a kidney transplant due to complications with her lupus, an autoimmune disease, it offered a moment that triggered many people to research her illness and broaden awareness. Her experiences with Lupus were very similar to mine and I was so happy she didn’t hide it from the public but decided to share with her 128 million Instagram followers what she was going through.

It is amazing the effect and pull celebrities have on their fans and the public. In certain situations, these figures play a significant role in getting messages spread and changes made no matter how one feels about them. They have a large voice and when they use it in a positive light, it needs to be celebrated and acknowledged. As a society, let’s take a break from chastising these people for what they are wearing or who they are dating. We need to encourage the celebrities trying to use their voice for the greater good and standing up for others.

Harry Styles performed at the Toyota Music Factory in Irving on Oct. 10. Styles promoted “treating people with kindness” through his show.
Photo by Hannah Lathen

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Hannah Lathen

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