Saturday, February 24, 2024

Do celebs owe us anything?

Do what you love, love what you do. Such a tired saying—find things you love and do them to make you happy, for your affirmation. Now they say don’t make a job out of a hobby, you’ll work twice as hard because now it has to be quantified into your bank account.

Neo-colonialism: the use of economic, political, cultural, or other pressures to control or influence other (third world/developing) countries, especially former (colonies) dependencies. What I thought was following my passion is actually a capitalistic race, Until Palestine. She is still teaching me how deeply it runs, how I know not of love and perhaps my idea of it is colonised too. Now let’s put this in a broader framework.

The entertainment industry shows us the retail value of love. Shahrukh Khan exists because we believe in love be it Rahul who loves his girlfriend(s) or Vikram Rathore who loves his country. The entity is love and it can overcome any and all adversities, worth dying and defying for. It’s no longer art but a formula that sells. We love the people for the characters they played and got played so badly in return. Movie stars, directors, singers, writers, influencers, comedians who edged you on with their “work” invoking emotions, created webs of safe spaces by resorting to your most vulnerable self and made tons of money. 

Sorry to break it you: they used you. 

Your money, love, devotion and trust is what made them and yes, they have abandoned you with their silence in the most digitalised genocide. If all this love can only be reciprocated in lip services of gratitude, is it really worth it?  

Let’s apply this to another universe: you would not date a person you’ve been talking to everyday, going out with every week, hyping on social media, raving about to your friends—and then they are unavailable on the one day you lose your house, get fired from your job, get an eviction notice only to resurface and talk about what’s happening in THEIR life. That’s exactly what happened here, so ask yourself: Is that all your love is worth? 

The vegans and vegetarians, the animal lovers, musicians, the fucking liberals, the influencers with their rags to riches stories, the ones talking about women’s sexual health, their advocacy for mental health and our rights, the queer allies, the human rights activists, environmentalists, comedians and everybody claiming to be artists who love what they do are lying. If their love looks away from the cruelest human suffering witnessed by our generation with no representation in their “art” then it’s no longer art. 

Because what is art if it doesn’t reflect the times we are living through? Just a money making machine, commercials on legs. Just a formula with permutations and combinations, milking your emotions and minting money while you give your three hours in a cinema and trend their pictures on social media. 

When did we become such ardent fans of unrequited love? 

How have we forgotten that love is reciprocation? You engaged with their work, bought posters of them and dedicated your time and resources to them. In return, you got lip services of gratitude and a sham of loving you for all the love you’ve given them— the one time they could mean what they say, stand with you, witness in solidarity as you helplessly watch people being murdered. We see there’s no real character behind the characters they play, which we call “supreme talent”. Their morality begins at ‘action’ and ends at ‘cut’. A performance. 

The weirdest being UN ambassadors who travel to conflict areas, perform empathy for photo ops and feed their saviour complex—their eerie silence screams as UN itself calls for a ceasefire. Would have been funny if it wasn’t so tragic. 

Never forget this silence. Do not give in when these snakes invoke inclusivity again using activism for their personal gains and make you a means to their ends. Do not be manipulated by their lip service. 

Amassing a following by talking about women’s rights and sexual health, garnering our trust, and disappearing when women are being violated in the worst ways shows they are only in it for the money. 

They are not girl’s girls. They never were, they lied. 

How convenient is it to forget that the privilege to practice what you love (lol) is rooted in resistance, which I now understand is the greatest form of love. There were people who fought while knowing it won’t bear fruit in their lifetime, yet gave it their all so the future, us, don’t live through what they did. 

“Art isn’t supposed to look good, it’s supposed to make you feel things.” And if you’re not being prompted to reflect and witness the human suffering glaring out of your phone, then it’s a distraction, which makes it even more sinister. Like the relationship where you’re at the rock bottom but they are talking about the their chipped nail paint. 

If they can conveniently look away from your outrage at the genocide, the killing of little children, babies merely days old, then perhaps it’s time to rethink the people we are building up. Because they’re just parasites of your resources.  

You are their makers, the retraction of your admiration might perhaps call them in to honesty, because that means no engagement with their work which will cost them money which in turn MIGHT force them to speak the truth we are living through. 

These are extremely telling times with no grey area. It’s black and it’s white; times when lies are shedding the camouflage of beauty; times that perhaps mark the beginning of the end of celebrity culture. Perhaps we will no longer fall for performances. Instead we will see their selectivism, greed, racism and Islamophobia.  

Most of all, this is our learning curve to love consciously with boundaries and accountability—like a love should be. It’s perhaps the LEAST that consumers deserve.

I can no longer invest my appreciation where love is a sham, emotions are for minting money, humanity is PR and any form of inclusivity a performance. This is the time to find your tribe fam, where life is honest and you will finally see why you can never separate the art from the artist. And see Kevin Spacey is a rapist not an artist, Salman Khan is a sexual predator not an artist, Akshay Kumar loves the country only on screen—name your pick. All allegedly, of course.

Prapti B Elizabeth is a digital creator.

Prapti B Elizabeth
Prapti B Elizabeth
Prapti B Elizabeth is an individual leaning into the realisation that this life isn’t enough to do some memorable damage.
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