The COVID-19 Coronavirus tore up 'everyday' life, reinventing the norm and upending life as we knew it. It's, therefore, no surprise, that it's affected celebrity culture in the exact same way. Whether it was Gal Gadot's cringeworthy A-list medley of 'Imagine', Madonna's 'Coronavirus being a great equalizer' comment, or Ellen DeGeneres describing her multi-million-pound mansion complex as a 'prison', the Coronavirus has shown the underlying gulf which separates 'us' from 'them'. When celebrities offered empathetic comments, they fell on deaf ears, seeming insincere and artificial.
Celebrities are deeply impregnated in every facet of our everyday life. So much so, we use celebrities and celebrity culture to make sense of the world. We log onto social media to keep up to date with our favourite actor's life. We listen to the trials and tribulations of our favourite pop star and make loose connections with our own problems. We watch reality shows and identify with the drama on screen. Celebrities help us make sense of our own lives, so why is it different with COVID-19? Why are the disparities between our lives and theirs now so stark? Why do gestures seem tokenistic?
The fact is, Hollywood celebrities exist through their fans. Their fame exists because we watch their movies, listen to their interviews and follow their social media. With COVID-19 halting Hollywood and the lockdown keeping people indoors, celebrities simply aren't able to give fans the entertainment and drama they want. So often fans use celebrity culture as a means of escapism, with no form of escapism possible, the contrast between our lives and theirs appear all the starker. Instead of fans empathising when Sam Smith vlogged his 'quarantine meltdown,' they were quick to allude to the fact that he was vlogging from his multi-million-pound mansion.
Despite celebrity culture being under threat, the COVID-19 Coronavirus has made some Hollywood stars more popular than ever. Tom and Rita Hanks discussed their COVID-19 predicament with characteristic grace and elegance, Russell Howard and John Krasinski both aired short good news segments on Youtube, and Naughty Boy used his platform to offer health advice to the BAME community.
The COVID-19 Coronavirus has undoubtedly refocussed our perspectives on life and what's truly important. When it boils down to it, the drama in your favourite reality show or what your favourite Hollywood actress ate for breakfast is decisively unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Will COVID-19 mark the end of celebrity culture as we know it... we will find out soon enough.
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