We love celebrities for their performances in our favorite movies, albums, and TV shows. But sometimes, their strongest performances are in the world of politics.
Wondering which celebrities made waves when they got political? Here are a few recent headline-grabbing examples!
As Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Chris Evans achieved worldwide fame for portraying the symbol of a nation. Now, the actor is showing his patriotism off-camera by starting his very own political website.
Evans thinks that political discourse in America has gotten too divisive. And people can’t vote their conscience when they see so much fake news.
That’s why in April 2019, he announced his idea to launch a new political website called A Starting Point. He conceives the site as a place with reliable information from both sides of the aisle.
So far, he’s put his money where his mouth is. Evans actually visited Washington, D.C. to interview various representatives and lawmakers for his new site. The site itself should be launching sometime in 2020.
Like Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo is famous for saving the world onscreen. We all know him as The Hulk. And he has found his own way to be a superhero to the people who need him.
In October 2016, Ruffalo traveled to North Dakota to protest the expansion of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, which would affect the nearby Standing Rock Sioux tribe. Footage of Ruffalo protesting with the tribe appeared on CNN.
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) October 26, 2016
The pipeline was completed in 2017 and the tribe’s struggles against it are ongoing. But Ruffalo has not given up campaigning for a cleaner, greener world. His efforts include co-founding The Solutions Project, which helps advocate for sustainable energy and a cleaner planet.
Taylor Swift has millions of fans all across the world. They support her talent and performances, and recently she took a decisive stand for her LGBTQ+ fans.
On May 31, 2019, Swift penned a letter to Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander, urging him to support the Equality Act. This is a piece of legislation that would make it illegal to fire someone based on either their gender identity or their sexual orientation.
In her letter, which she published on Instagram, she also implored the country to “truly treat all of our citizens equally.”
View this post on Instagram
🌈HAPPY PRIDE MONTH!!!🌈 While we have so much to celebrate, we also have a great distance to go before everyone in this country is truly treated equally. In excellent recent news, the House has passed the Equality Act, which would protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in their places of work, homes, schools, and other public accommodations. The next step is that the bill will go before the Senate. I’ve decided to kick off Pride Month by writing a letter to one of my senators to explain how strongly I feel that the Equality Act should be passed. I urge you to write to your senators too. I’ll be looking for your letters by searching the hashtag #lettertomysenator. While there’s no information yet as to when the Equality Act will go before the Senate for a vote, we do know this: Politicians need votes to stay in office. Votes come from the people. Pressure from massive amounts of people is a major way to push politicians towards positive change. That’s why I’ve created a petition at change.org to urge the Senate to support the Equality Act. Our country’s lack of protection for its own citizens ensures that LGBTQ people must live in fear that their lives could be turned upside down by an employer or landlord who is homophobic or transphobic. The fact that, legally, some people are completely at the mercy of the hatred and bigotry of others is disgusting and unacceptable. Let’s show our pride by demanding that, on a national level, our laws truly treat all of our citizens equally. 🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈 Click the link in my bio to sign the petition for Senate support of the Equality Act.
Swift has been criticized in the past for remaining politically silent, but now she has been taking public stances on issues she cares about. The Equality Act passed the House of Representatives, but it has yet to come to a vote in the Senate.
You don’t usually expect “Kim Kardashian” and “politics” to appear in the same sentence. However, Kim got involved in the biggest way possible. She actually rescued someone from prison!
A woman named Alice Marie Johnson was convicted of a nonviolent drug conspiracy crime back in 1997. And she was sentenced very harshly: life without parole!
Kim Kardashian appealed to President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner to help pardon Johnson, eventually meeting with Trump himself at the Oval Office in May 2018 to plead her case. Kim was apparently moved by the fact that Johnson only committed the crime to support her three children. She was a struggling single mother at the time.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2018
Apparently, Kim Kardashian is very persuasive. Within a month of their meeting, President Trump pardoned Alice Johnson. After her release from prison, Johnson got a book deal and sold the film and TV rights.
Her book After Life: My Journey From Incarceration to Freedom came out in May 2019. It even included a forward from Kim Kardashian!
Since helping Johnson, Kardashian has continued to fight for prison reform and is currently studying to become a lawyer.
Kim Kardashian isn’t the only member of her family to get political. Her husband Kanye West has also gotten political, often at the worst possible times. Fans might remember when he went off-script during a Hurricane Katrina relief concert in 2005 and blurted out “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” on live TV.
While Kanye might not have liked George W. Bush, he has become notorious for his surprising support for Donald Trump. And his love of Trump came to a head during his appearance as a musical guest on Saturday Night Live in September 2018.
Kanye gave closed the show with the expected musical performance, but after the live broadcast ended, he had a big surprise for the studio audience. Wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, he launched into a political statement supporting Trump, claiming he had been bullied backstage for his MAGA hat, and urging “dialogue not diatribe.”
Trump loved the speech, but Kanye’s fans were very divided. However, SNL showrunner Lorne Michaels took it all in stride. Michaels said, “He’s an artist, you know?”
Everyone has heard of the #MeToo movement that has been making headlines for the past few years. The movement encourages survivors of sexual harassment and assault to share their stories online. And so far, the movement has brought down major Hollywood players such as Harvey Weinstein and implicated others such as Pixar’s John Lasseter.
The Me Too movement started back in 2006, but it became a social phenomenon when actress Alyssa Milano decided to take a stand, following the New York Times reporting sexual misconduct allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein on October 5, 2017. Ten days later, Milano tweeted a request to her followers. She asked them to reply “me too” if they had been victims of sexual harassment or assault.
If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet. pic.twitter.com/k2oeCiUf9n
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 15, 2017
The response was overwhelming, as people all over the world felt empowered to end their silence. Within 24 hours, over half a million people wrote #MeToo on Twitter. And Milano became the face of one of history’s most powerful movements!
Once upon a time, Colin Kaepernick was only known for his skill at football. He was a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers and seemed to have his whole career ahead of him. That was, until the National Anthem of a preseason game in 2016.
Shirking tradition to stand during the national anthem, he decided to sit down in protest. Later, he explained that he was protesting the unjust oppression of black people. He saw this as an everyday occurrence within America. Eventually, his sitting down morphed into his iconic gesture of taking a knee during every game’s national anthem.
This drew national criticism from many people, including President Trump. They saw Kaepernick as disrespecting the troops, and after his 49ers contract expired, no other teams signed him.
The ultimate irony of the whole thing? Kaepernick only switched to taking a knee because a veteran convinced him it would be more respectful to the troops!