Celebrities have always influenced our culture. At first, it was things that we’d see in their movies or on TV, like their hairstyle (The Rachel, anyone?). Today, with celebrities posting about their lives on social media, we get more detail – from political views, diet and lifestyle, and even sexual identity – we all feel celebrities are our friends. But as Uncle Ben once said (that’s a Spiderman reference, for those who don’t know), “With great power comes great responsibility.” This is know all too well to Lil Nas X.
Social Media: Amplifier
A celebrity’s voice is heard and can wield power with what is said (or not said). Add the reach of social media and the internet and it’s like they’re yelling into a megaphone. This is a double-edged sword. If you are a positive force that’s good, but some celebrities spread misinformation that, in a worse case, can even create a public health crises. Others use their voice to increase profits, expand their fan base and even create online feuds on the basis that even negative publicity is good publicity.
Using His Powers for Good
Then, there are celebrities like Lil Nas X who came out via his song “C7osure.” In an interview with CBS, he acknowledged that it’s easier to come out as gay when one is famous. But, he also knows that it’s not so easy for those with no voice. For those it is a struggle to fit in at school or in their community.
Peeling Back the Layers
It’s strange to think that social media started out naively as a way to bring people closer. Yet somehow, someway, it pulled us all further apart. Perhaps we got to see, in full HD, the inner workings of our friends and coworkers’ lives. And it was not pretty.
The Ugly Side of Social Media
Anything can be divisive on social media, especially in the comments section. People have unfriended family and acquaintances for simply supporting the “wrong” political candidate. Of course, this usually happens after a heated debate… in the comments section. Despite having many other things in common, social media allows us to focus on the differences and then magnifies them…in the comments section.
Thanks, Lil Nas X
So, imagine yourself as a young, gay, black boy surrounded by friends who listen to rap/hip-hop and emulate rappers and hip-hop artists. How isolating would that feel? It must be comforting to know that there’s a successful rapper named Lil Nas X out there who is also gay. How much would that empower you to see him coming out and facing the critics and angry, homophobic fans?
A positive outcomes of celebrities using social media is their ability to show kids that no one is alone. With bullying and suicide rates rising, teens need to and want to find a place to belong. Lil Nas X has said that he understands how important it is for public figures to come out and use their influence to help others. If you ask me, I’d say X and Uncle Ben would get along just fine.