Making good use of ‘celebrity power’ | Inquirer Entertainment

Making good use of ‘celebrity power’

/ 12:09 AM March 15, 2014

JOLIE AND TAYLOR. Engaged and inspired use of their global popularity to do good in a wide range of concerns.

When performers become stars, their popularity brings them a lot of perks and benefits, which they and their families gratefully acknowledge and make full use of. However, there’s an important product and consequence of stardom that is often misused or taken for granted, and the lack of appreciation of its potential to do good is such a waste:

We call this “celebrity power,” or the gift given to popular people to use their popularity to shine a light on issues or advocacies that the general populace should be more aware of and support.


Most of the time, celebrities use their popularity just to earn extra millions for themselves by endorsing commercial products and services. In this country, even more millions are made by stars who boost political candidates during electoral campaigns, sometimes resulting in some relatively unknowns benefiting from the “reflected popularity,” and becoming congressmen or even senators.


However, there’s much more to celebrity power than just financial or political gain. In other countries, stars use their popularity to shine a dazzling light on the causes they champion, which would otherwise be overlooked or taken for granted by the clueless or uncaring public.

AIDS research

In the past, Elizabeth Taylor raised many millions of dollars for AIDS research after the dreaded disease impinged on her life by claiming her friend, Rock Hudson. Taylor could have chosen to mourn in private, but she made her grief and concern public, and inspired many people to make donations that fueled research that resulted in treatment modalities that have since saved many lives.

These days, the engaged and inspired use of celebrity power to do good in a wide range of concerns is best exemplified by the truly beautiful star couple, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.

Not only have they adopted children from all over the world, but they have also championed a veritable United Nations of other pressing causes and advocacies, including disaster relief, education, housing and anticancer initiatives.

Being film artists, they have also used their separate or joint clout to “green-light” or boost significant movie projects that would otherwise never be approved for production.


Jolie has become an indie filmmaker in her own right, while Pitt has supported the making of worthy but “un-commercial” projects, like the Academy Awards’ recent Best Picture winner, “12 Years A Slave.”

To make his involvement in the project even more personal, Pitt agreed to add to the film’s star value by playing a small but key role in it.

He portrays one of the few white characters in the film who are against slavery, and his forceful articulation of the arguments against enslavement and for the right to freedom of all human beings is a shining moment of hope and justice in the film’s seemingly endless chronicle of doom and gloom.

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On the local show biz scene, some stars boost advocacies of their own, but mostly on a sporadic basis. We need many more committed luminaries who appreciate the power they have to inform and inspire others to support the many causes that are crying out for attention and action. Never mind throwing “charity” birthday parties that could be misinterpreted as promotional “selfies,” real celebrity power is much more potent than that!

TAGS: Advocacies, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Charity, Elizabeth Taylor

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