Editorial: Awards shows get political

Editorial: Awards shows get political

We are in the middle of another passionate awards season. The Oscars are slowly creeping up and many people are begging the question: Do politics need to be brought into the conversation?

With the hosts of these award programs going on long, humorous rants about our current political status, some viewers question the need for such discussions. Winners are also touting their political opinions in long-winded speeches.

Politics in Washington, D.C. are more divisive than ever, but do awards programming bridge the gap between people or create a larger divide? There is no definite answer, so analysis must delve deeper.

The context of these political narratives is designed to shed light while expressing frustrations. The real issue is that the divide is much more than Republicans and Democrats; it’s about what is right and wrong.

The Grammys were on a few weeks ago, and there were many strong voices speaking out against misogyny in all industries following the #MeToo movement. These are conversations that are necessary, but some of the things said are polarizing to select audiences. Some people may wince or turn the channel.

We cannot be this aggressive with our beliefs. If someone is saying something that you disagree with, hear them out in order to understand the circumstances that brought them to that conclusion. Tuning out or turning your head means that the issue is being ignored.

Artists should always use their platform to make positive impacts around the world. Peter Lake, a professor at Yale University, wrote about how Shakespeare used the stage to “engage with the events of his day, particularly regarding the uncertain royal succession, theological and doctrinal debates, and virtue and virtù in politics.” Shakespeare used political issues at the time to resonate with the audience.

This is no different than what is happening today. Actors, singers, and other personalities are using their voice to create change. Not everyone is given that kind of platform, which means avoiding these types of difficult conversations is counterproductive.

On many occasions, actors speak out against the lack roles for women or people of color  in Hollywood. The latest Grammys focused on women empowerment, yet only one woman won an award that night.

These are the conversations we need to continually have or else these issues will be swept under the rug. It is okay to disagree, but remaining silent helps no one. Award shows should highlight the problems that we see in everyday life including lack of diversity, misogyny, racism—the list goes on.

Even though some people may feel uncomfortable when actors or performers go off script, it is extremely important to hear them out. We cannot let political tensions separate us or keep us from being cordial. It is natural to have differences of opinions, but ignoring these issues benefits no one.