Story by Esperanza Garcia, Columnist
Photo Courtesy of Daniel De La Rosa
Social distancing is an interesting act. One minute you can be scrolling on Instagram looking for funny memes, and the next you could be getting a completely unprompted (and undesired) rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine” by various celebrities. The video might even be captioned with, “We’re in this together, we will get through this together,” even though we are, in fact, not all in this together.
While the celebrities in the video (who have a combined net worth of $526 million) are practicing social distancing like the rest of us, they are doing it comfortably from multi-million dollar residences, while they get royalty checks from their projects. There are millions of Americans worried about being evicted by landlords, the unemployment site crashes, and trying to figure out mortgage deferrals.
While celebrities might want to make content that says “Look! I’m upset too! I hate that I have to stay at home too! I’m just like you!” it isn’t appropriate. They are not just like us. Our realities only have one similarity, and it starts and ends with practicing social distancing. Even then, some people can’t practice social distancing properly because they’re labeled as essential workers, so they need to be out of the house and continue interacting with others. They cannot afford to stop working.
The celebrities in the “Imagine” video aren’t the only ones that have decided to post something questionable. Sia decided to tweet a picture that has the word ‘virus’ crossed out so that it says ‘us’ with a heart next to it. Pharrell tweeted out a link for people to donate to hospitals, causing people to point out the fact that not only did he buy a college campus as a home, but that, with his net worth, he can cover the donation goal on his own. Madonna, in a tweet that has since been deleted, posted a video of herself taking a milk bath. She stated that COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate, and anyone can get it.
All in all, this has been a disaster. I do understand it though. Being cooped up in the house is boring and the reason why we’re cooped up in our houses is stress-inducing. Madonna is right, the virus does not care about your background. However, the system that it’s moving in does. Marginalized communities are being impacted by this situation more than non-marginalized communities, and while a sense of unity in these trying times would be nice, we need to realize that the sense of community and emotional support is not going to come from a cover of a song from a problematic man. If they want to help, celebrities should at least take suggestions for their virtual karaoke if they’re not planning to redistribute their wealth. Either one is fine with me, I’m not picky. I am, however, far more lenient towards the latter.