The Pop Culture Platform: The Power of Pop Culture During An Unprecedented Time

By Akshara Karthik (’22)

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Courtesy of The Daily Beast

I think it’s safe to say that the majority of us never expected to spend the rest of the school year in self-quarantine, a few weeks ago. In a short amount of time, the world began to slowly shut down, with the enforcement of border closings and strict quarantine rules in countries across the globe. However, though COVID-19 has forced us to practice social-distancing, it has also inspired a worldwide feeling of unity and strength. 


In the entertainment industry, many musicians have either postponed or canceled their tours, while awards shows and festivals, like Coachella and Stagecoach, have also been put on hold. Movie and television set productions have also shut down while Americans are stuck in quarantine.


With the nation’s situation and economy worsening each day, celebrities are offering as much as they can, whether it be for fans or fundraising. Some musicians are sharing their talents, providing livestream concerts to keep fans entertained. Others are donating their time or their resources, to provide aid for people and hospitals in the United States and around the world. 


Many artists, including Camila Cabello, Shawn Mendes, H.E.R, and Noah Cyrus, have teamed up with Global Citizen and The World Health Organization (WHO), to raise funds for COVID-19 relief and to encourage people to stay at home. On the other hand, some celebrities have been using their resources to donate. Through her Clara Lionel Foundation, Rihanna donated her personal protective gear to the state of New York, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. In addition, the organization will also donate a million dollars toward frontline relief efforts in both New York City and Los Angeles. Jay Z and Beyoncé decided to match Rihanna’s million-dollar donation, totaling up to a joint two million dollars in donations. According to the BET (Black Entertainment Television) website, “The aid will help support undocumented workers, health workers, the incarcerated, the children of first responders, and the elderly and homeless populations,” (BET). There have also been star-studded  live TV events that have raised millions of dollars for COVID-19 relief efforts. On April 16th, Disney aired a special called, ‘The Disney Family Sing-along’, to provide some much needed lightheartedness for families. The program reported the highest viewership across television that night, with over 10.3 million people tuning in to watch the likes of Julianne Hough and Auli’i Cravalho perform their take of classic Disney tunes. On April 18th, Global Citizen partnered with some of America’s largest TV channels, corporations, and Youtube, to broadcast the ‘One World: Together At Home’ program all-over the world. Hundreds of musicians and actors performed their favorite songs, and shined a light on the immense work those on the frontlines are doing. All in all, this program raised a “total of $127.9 million, providing $55.1 million to the  COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and $72.8 million to local and regional responders,” according to Global Citizen. 


Branching out of the music world, celebrities in other industries have also made impressive contributions towards Coronavirus relief. New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson announced a few weeks ago that he would help cover the salaries of Smoothie King employees. Williamson explained on an Instagram post, “My mother has always set an example for me about being respectful for others and being grateful for what we have, and so today I am pledging to cover the salaries for all of those Smoothie King Center workers for the next 30 days.” Similar to Williamson, Cleveland Cavaliers player Kevin Love committed one hundred thousand dollars, through his foundation, to benefit the workers at Cleveland’s Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. Actors including Amy Adams, Josh Gad, Jennifer Garner, Constance Wu, Natalie Portman, Lupita Nyong’o, Reese Witherspoon, and Gal Gadot have been lending their voices to different child-literacy centered initiatives like, “Operation Storytime” and “Save With Stories”, in an effort to lift the spirits of children and parents alike. 


Though it may seem like this crisis is never-ending, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. The celebrities that are donating their time, money, or resources have significantly impacted the lives of people around the world, and have stood as constant reminders that we will get through this. During trying times like this, it is important to remember that WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER! 

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