These are strange times, with even stranger things happening.
On what could be the most politically unsettled weekend in the United States, the Hollywood elite came together for the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and boy did they ruffle some feathers. Mainly the puffed up white ones that belong to Mr Trump.
The stars of showbiz have an incredible platform, so well done to them for choosing to use it. There’s no denying that sometimes they seem to have more power to inform and inspire than those in the politics business. They can reach a wider audience, they make movies and music to inspire people to come together. They are the ones with the voice.
And so they spoke at the notable award ceremony. Sure, they could have shied away from engaging in the political row sweeping the country. It was a ceremony celebrating fictitious worlds after all. They have a perfect getaway. Nothing touches Hollywood right?
Wrong. When the order prevents people like Iranian born Asghar Farhadi, director of Oscar nominated film, The Salesman, from attending a ceremony in which they are being celebrated, there becomes an obvious problem. What are we looking at now? A white supremacist film industry?
The point is, films and music have always celebrated diversity. They have also striven to tell stories about diverse individuals, about their histories, about their survivals and their courageous fights. We have always celebrated the gift of being human, and the extraordinary things we can achieve.
To ignore the injustice of this order, is to ignore the needs of humanity. Farhadi, along with his colleague Taraneh Alidoosti, have chosen to boycott the awards, even if granted special entry. Alidoosti had this to say on Twitter:
“Trump’s visa ban for Iranians is racist. Whether this will include a cultural event or not, I won’t attend the #AcademyAwards 2017 in protest”.
Ashton Kutcher opened the awards this weekend with a nod to the horrendous events occurring in the airports. He welcomed “everyone in airports who belong in my America”.
The star of Moonlight, Mahershala Ali, spoke emotionally of identity and diversity while his co-star, Naomie Harris, told the cameras how despicable she thought the order was.
But the most inspiring words of the night came from actor, David Harbour, who played Chief Jim Hopper in the Netflix series, Stranger Things. He was there with the rest of the cast, including Millie Bobby Brown and Winona Ryder. He delivered an emotional and fiery speech which urged unity and support for diversity and the marginalized.
“We will repel bullies, we will shelter outcasts and freaks, those who have no home, we will get past the lies, we will hunt monsters”.
Surrounded by cheers from his co-stars and the audience, he continued to shout:
“And when we’re lost amidst the hypocrisy and the casual violence of certain individuals and institutions, we will — as per chief Jim Hopper — punch some people in the face when they seek to destroy what we have envisioned for ourselves and the marginalized”.
Well said Chief. Well said.
Watch the rousing speech below.