Politics in entertainment events


Chelsea Wong

On Feb. 12 at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards, a hip-hop group called ‘Tribe Called Quest’ performed a moving piece. During a night celebrating popular music stars and current art, the group conveyed a powerful political statement through their show. The group, who was joined by Best New Artist Nominee Anderson Paak and renowned rapper Busta Rhymes, performed several songs from their album “We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service.”


People of diverse ages, races and religions stood in the background stage. By the second verse, they people suddenly started pushing large block stage props, signifying the walls Trump wants to build for border security.  

The rest of the show featured various acceptance speeches with artists subtly inserting in their political views and distaste of the current government. Busta Rhymes performed with the group, starting his solo with criticism of President Donald Trump.

“I just want to thank President Agent Orange for perpetuating all of the evil that you’ve been perpetuating throughout the United States,” Rhymes said before his performance. “I want to thank President Agent Orange for your unsuccessful attempt at the Muslim ban.”

In another award show, Jimmy Kimmel, the host of the 89th Academy Awards, used his main monologue as satire toward the current state of the government and the president.

“I want to say thank you to President Trump. I mean remember last year when it seemed like the Oscars were racist?”, said Kimmel. It has been an amazing year for movies. Black people saved NASA and white people saved jazz. That’s what you call progress.” Kimmel said.

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDkXHWMNNmc[/embedyt]

Political visuals have bled through multiple shots of media. In recent weeks, a controversial advertisement aired on national television during Feb. 5 during the 51st Super Bowl. The building material supply company, 84 Lumber, created a 90 second television advertisement split into different parts and dispersed throughout the televised football game.

The ad tells the story of a Mexican mother and her daughter trying to leave Mexico, only to be stopped by a daunting wall. It was later disrupted while airing, as it was deemed ‘too controversial’ by FOX broadcasters. The rest of the ad was posted online, concluding with the duo finding a wooden door in the wall with a slogan “The will to succeed is always welcome here”.

The longstanding revelation of affairs exposes the relationship with the entertainment industry and social politics. High production airs like the Grammy’s or the Superbowl carry political statements despite their leisure goal of only entertaining the mass audience.  

Sophomore Risha Baxi disagrees. She believes something like football or a music award show shouldn’t convey political issues since they are for broadcasting entertainment purposes.

“I think it’s cool that these artists and celebrities are using their platform to use their voice to support other people,” Baxi said. “But in the entertainment industry, for example, the Super Bowl people are going there to watch football, they are not going there to watch people talk about their political opinions.”

She believed her opinion was unpopular and that most people would disagree with her, but understands the different perspectives.

“At the end of the day, everybody has an opinion and you need to respect their opinion,” Baxi said. “But I do feel that you should read up, get the facts before forming your opinion.”

Freshman Shonali Vaidya had a loose opinion. She has noticed political indications in recent entertainment events, but believes that sending a message is mediocre.

“I think it’s okay to do that, but they shouldn’t make it their main goal to vent about politics,” Vaidya said.