Award Shows: A Stage for Entertainment Only, or a Platform for Empowerment?

Selena Gomez won the award for Favorite Female Artist — Pop/Rock at the American Music Awards on Sunday, November 19th in Los Angeles, California.

She used her first public appearance since she took a break from her career to focus on her mental health as a way to deliver an emotional message to critics and fans alike.

“In 2014 this stage was actually the first time that I was authentically, 100 percent honest with all of you. I think it’s safe to say that all of you know my life whether I like it or not. I had to stop because I had everything and I was absolutely broken inside. I kept it all together enough to where I would never let you down but I kept it too much together to where I let myself down. I don’t want to see your bodies on Instagram. I want to see what’s in here [holds chest]. I’m not trying to get validation nor do I need it anymore. All I can say from the bottom of my heart is I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to be able to share what I love every single day with people that I love. I have to say thank you so much to my fans because you guys are so damn loyal and I don’t know what I did to deserve you. If you are broken you do not have to stay broken. If that’s anything whether you respect me or not that’s one thing you should know about me. I care about people. Thank you so much for this. This is for you.”

Many celebrities have been using award show acceptance speeches and social media as a platform to express their thoughts and to make others feel not alone. With the uproar of mental health awareness in recent times, Selena is stirring the pot for more discussion for an important cause.

HF Senior Janie Kowalchuck expressed, “Any person who is brave enough to get up on stage in front of millions of people and expose their deepest thoughts has my sincerest respect. While some people say awards shows should be solely about entertainment, I think it’s important that things like mental health are talked about, and award shows are a very convenient platform.”

While this is a widely debated topic, in terms of whether or not a stage (or even a football field) is the proper place for speaking out in advocation, there are many who believe that it is an inappropriate setting.

Christina Amari, a junior at HF, believes that “celebrities should not use award ceremonies as a platform to advocate people whether it’s politics or other social issues. People attend the event the event to see the event and the celebrities, they are not going to be preached necessarily. To me, it seems as if celebrities will announce their opinions at awards ceremonies because people are forced to listen since they are already sitting in the audience.”

Accordingly so, CNN exclaims, “Plenty opted to kneel during ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’ with the Baltimore Ravens' Terrell Suggs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Mike Evans among the stars following the lead of former pro quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who pioneered the anthem protests last year over what he was said was social and racial injustice.”

Even after President Trump slammed players opting to protest during the national anthem, many NFL players are still fighting for their advocation. Despite the opponents of this cause, there is an ample amount of Americans who are applauding their efforts for standing up for what they believe in.

Speaking publically to your daughter about what it truly means to be a woman, like Pink at the 2017 VMAS, and empowering the world by reminding us the importance of storytelling, as seen in Lupita Nyong’o’s emotional Oscar’s acceptance speech for 12 Years a Slave, are just a few crucially thought-provoking times that celebrities used the world as their stage, to tell the story of bettering our world not just for now, but for the generations to come.

Julia DeVita