By: Colby Finucane
Celebrity culture in the United States has become a huge facet of our capitalist society, as movie stars, reality tv stars, musicians, and actors rise to fame in the limelight selling the illusion of relatability and attainability to us. With the rise of online social platforms like Instagram and Twitter, it has only become easier for these individuals to share glimpses of their day-to-day life that is otherwise unknown. Before the pandemic, it was normal to see them flaunting their wealth, but something shifted in 2020.
After COVID-19 started spreading rapidly and the world came to a halt, even celebrities were forced to quarantine at home like the rest of us. It was then that public attitude shifted. Everyday people were busy being consumed with the grim reality of losing loved ones, a rising national death rate, political unrest, racial injustice, police brutality, and more. It started to feel a little out of touch to go online and see a celebrity rant about the inconvenience that is the pandemic.
From complaining about having to take care of their kids 24/7 to outright ignoring lockdown regulations and traveling, the celebrities did it all. My breaking point was Gal Gadot’s “Imagine” video, but I won’t get into that.
The lasting result of this pandemic on pop culture is a search for authentic online voices that are self-aware and actually relatable. Whether it’s a celebrity or online influencer, people want to follow someone who represents their values and uses their platform for more than just performative allyship and activism.
Writer Tomi Obaro states in her article on the subject that, “at their best, celebrities can actually use their massive platforms to champion the messaging from public health officials, amplify charities doing good work, and spur personal action. But at their worst, they highlight the deeply entrenched inequalities in our country.”
As states are reaching the point where those 16 and older are now eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine and we’re entering into the new normal, it will be interesting to see how the celebrity will change in the public eye. I think this change in public behavior will have a lasting impact on the culture of oversharing among celebrities online. My prediction is that celebrities will be more selective with what they share and social platforms will slowly become more for brand engagement and advertising through influencers and public figures, rather than the flaunting of personal wealth.
What do you think the future of celebrity looks like? Where is line the between influencer and celebrity?