On Sunday, Cardi B tweeted that she was thinking about going back to school so she could one day run for Congress. Cardi has been vocal about her own politics for some time. She regularly posts videos with her opinions on the news. Just last week she called out President Trump for his threats to attack Iranian cultural sites. She regularly laments about how tax dollars are spent, and she even sat down to ask Senator Bernie Sanders about his policies as a Democratic candidate for president.
Cardi B isn’t the only celebrity expanding their political reach, and she’s certainly not the first to use their platform to discuss Senator Sanders. Ariana Grande delivered a Sanders endorsement in November. The candidate, who is leading some polls in Iowa, also received an endorsement from the model and designer Emily Ratajkowski. In an ad released on Sanders’ social channels, Ratajkowski championed the Vermont senator as the candidate who is most genuine, consistent, and powerful.
“I’m a millennial, a true millennial,” Ratajkowski said. “Bernie has always been very clear about how he advocates for women’s health care, which is hugely important for me. There’s so much at stake here, and getting out to vote, your one vote makes a change. We will regret it forever if we don’t take this opportunity to join this movement.”
Beyond throwing support behind a particular presidential candidate, or announcing personal plans for their own political goals, the past year has shown that there are many different ways that a celebrity can use their platform. Bad Bunny put his European tour on pause over the summer in order to join in the protests in Puerto Rico, calling for the resignation of then-Governor Ricardo Rosselló. Colin Kaepernick still isn’t playing football in the NFL. Taylor Swift reportedly caused a surge in voter registration of 65,000 people after encouraging people to register to vote in Tennessee in an Instagram post.
And while encouraging people to vote is a safer and less partisan political act than giving an endorsement to a specific candidate, a clear take away from the last few years is that whatever line that may have existed between politics and entertainment has slowly been shattered.
Jane Fonda, who has been a celebrity activist since the 1970s, was somewhat of an outlier for much of her time protesting against the government. Now, she is joined for weekly protests for action on climate change by other actors, including Ted Danson, Sam Waterson, and Manny Jacinto. It can be costly to be publicly aligned with a political ideology, especially one that is against the hoarding of wealth and resources. It is why so many famous figures have stuck to vague rhetoric where they center abstract concepts of love, unity, and “raising awareness,” instead of identifying key political issues they care about and are taking action on.
But as we get closer to the next election, while simultaneously witnessing tragedies like the Australian wildfires, the Puerto Rican earthquakes, and conflicts like the one occurring between the United States and Iran, all of it constantly streamed onto Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Tik Tok, it will be harder for everyone — including and especially famous people — to sit quietly on the sidelines.