“Get up, stand up, stand up for the rights. Get up, stand up, don’t give up the fight.”
Amidst a larger scale of repercussions which is inescapable, there are public figures from the creative world who have shown strong spines to get up and stand up against the maladministration and tyranny from around the globe.
Advocating one’s ideology has never been easy, especially for the people who are celebrated globally for their art as they have the power to influence the minds of thousands. But with great power, comes great responsibility, and some genuinely identify their responsibility and stand up and make it count.
In 2017, when Meryl Streep with 407 Oscar nominations in her acting career received Cecil B. DeMille, in her acceptance speech, she called out Trump for mocking a disabled reporter from The New York Times.
“… this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kinda gives permission for other people to do the same thing.
Disrespect invites disrespect; violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.”
Unquestionably, she has received backlash from several conservatives and Trump himself.
In 2018’s 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards, the talk show host Oprah Winfrey accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Achievement Award and gave a nearly nine-minute speech about the #timesup and #metoo movements and also reminded the power of speaking the absolute truth.
“I want to say that I value the press more than ever before as we try to navigate these complicated times, which brings me to this …”
Amongst several others, Ellen Degeneres, comedian and television host also raised her voice against Trump’s term “… you’re not just a guy on Twitter anymore; you are the President for all of us. It is your job to unite people, and you don’t do it by attacking people …”
De facto, Chelsea Handler, comedian and talk show host announced that she’s leaving her talk show on Netflix to pursue political activism. Trump’s presidency drives her decision to move to activism. She is already active for abortion rights women’s political action committee.
The best selling author, Stephen King unequivocally analysed the current state of America “Legislators; you need to impeach Blabbermouth Don or force him to resign before he kills us all. He is no longer competent to serve as Chief Executive if he ever was.”
On Tuesday, January 7, something caught people’s attention and the word spread like fire. Deepika Padukone, one of the leading actor of the Hindi film industry, showed up at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) to express solidarity with the students who were protesting against the mob lynching inside the campus.
Her presence in the protest has further divided the nation into two groups which were already there. One is #Istandwithdeepika, and the other is #boycottchhapaak on Twitter.
Though in the public meeting by JNU Teacher’s Association and JNUSU, the actor did not speak anything or addressed the gathering, her gesture has been interpreted by the Bhartiya Janata Party to call for a boycott of her film.
From the film industry, other voices which we are continually hearing is of Swara Bhaskar’s. She and her Raanjhnaa co-star Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub are the most active voices in the protest against Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB).
“We have woken up late, but now we have woken up. You [students] have woken up the entire country. We are here to thank you,” said Swara Bhaskar.
Other public figures who have spoken against the new act are Raj Kumar Rao, Vishal Bhardwaj, Sonakshi Sinha and Huma Quereshi, to name a few.
It is clear that CAA and nationwide NRC ignites a fundamental shift in the ethos of secularism in India’s Constitution. And when powerful voices like these get raised to register dissent, it indeed makes a difference.