Everyone has something to say, don’t they? We are currently living in a political and emotional climate that generates strong opinions and fierce emotions. Unfortunately, many depend on memes, short tweets and three-sentence status updates to relay messages and feelings. This is something that seems to have become the norm for everyone from the average student to the most powerful leaders in the world. Amidst this informational clutter, you need a strong voice that can rise above, a strong voice with a message that people want to listen to. But, who is it that we want to listen to? We listen to those with powerful voices, important messages and those that have a sense of familiarity attached to them, such as a celebrity.
Many celebrities have taken it upon themselves to break free of the quick tweet or publicists statement, and instead express their thoughts and opinions in long form essays. This trend has done more than just further enlighten us on what our favorite celebrities are thinking, it has also brought a welcomed awareness of the power of the essay. Writing an essay gives you a chance to build your platform, to express yourself in creative, powerful language and, when done correctly, make a significant impact on the world around you.
In the right hands, an essay can communicate a message so powerful, that the effects of reading it linger. A great essay gives you a more intimate image of who the author is on a personal level. A great essay is thought provoking and makes you think. Love them or hate them, all of this becomes amplified when the essays are penned by celebrities. Here are four examples of how celebrities have the power to affect the world around and promote change through the art of essay writing.
This essay, published at Saint Heron, is an example of combining elements of daily life with something much larger than any one of us can handle on our own. This is an essay about her experience at a concert, with her husband and young son by her side, an unassuming, normal activity. Except in this situation, others tried to diminish her. As quoted at hypebae.com, she makes this statement regarding her essay:
“You’re full of passion and shock, so you share this story on Twitter, hands shaking, because you actually want these women to face accountability in some kind of way. You know that you cannot speak to them with out it escalating because they have no respect for you or your son, and this will only end badly for you and feel it’s not worth getting the police involved. So, you are hoping they will hear you this way … You constantly see the media having a hard time contextualizing black women and men as victims every day, even when it means losing their own lives.”
After being called out for being too “selfie absorbed”, actor James Franco took the opportunity to use his celebrity status and voice to not only defend his personal opinion on the selfie, but also to illustrate why the selfie has become so integral and important in society today. Published in the New York Times, with this essay, he appeals to the audience on a personal level, inviting you to look at his personal life, while at the same time admitting that he wants to see into yours. He compels the audience with his essay by being straightforward, honest and writing about a subject that we can all relate to.
As a student, you undoubtedly feel stress, sometimes quite intense. You always have something going on, an exam to study for, an essay to write, a GPA to achieve, all while balancing your personal life. How many times have you reached out, sharing the fact that you were feeling overwhelmed or stressed, only to have that feeling diminished because you were not taken seriously, or that your feelings were deemed insignificant? Lady Gaga wrote for her Born This Way Foundation, in which she uses the medium of an essay to share her personal narrative and challenge the general way of thinking regarding mental illness, particularly with her experience with PTSD.
Sometimes, writing an essay provides you with an opportunity for self-discovery. Once you put your thoughts into physical words, you can look at yourself from an outside perspective. One method of doing this is by writing an essay on a subject that is close to you, but that in a way you are removed from, such as this essay by former President Obama on feminism. As a husband and father to two daughters, he writes about what it means for him to be a feminist, what it feels like to support the women in his life while at the same time, not being able to feel firsthand the challenges that they endure.
As a writer, and as someone who enjoys reading celebrity musings, it is important for all of us to recognize the power of our words. Take notice here about the positive messages, that are included in these essays. Each one aims to not only entertain, but to enlighten, inform and enhance the life of the reader. These are not essays filled with negativity, but rather essays filled with empowerment. Your own voice may not be as easily recognized as the celebrities that penned these essays, but that does not mean that your voice is any less important.