I realize that the celebrity culture that has become part of mainstream media today is far from what Vertov meant by political art. In fact, I bet he would roll over in his grave knowing what media today has come to. However, I wanted to follow up on our conversation about representation in television, specifically with reference to Shonda Rhimes. In today’s interactive culture celebrity has become intertwined with the artistic performance. Especially with the rise of fandoms, actors are now completely intertwined with their fictional characters. And, celebrities–for better or for worse–are often culture makers. Scandal, How To Get Away with Murder, Friday Night Lights, Mad Met etc are all political simply because of the content they address. But, what does it mean when the celebrities associated with them become political in their own personal lives? Does it become part of the art? In Kerry Washington’s acceptance speech at the NAACP image awards she applauds the work of those who came before her and acknowledges art as a form of activism. What does it mean for art that celebrities are now political activists?
Kerry Washington’s speech:
As an added bonus for the group presenting on gender in the media, here is a really great interview with Shonda Rhimes:
http://www.makers.com/shonda-rhimes (I tried to embed it, but it’s not on YouTube)