But the interesting thing, often unspoken publicly thing, is how such expression by black celebrities can affect their careers. Truth be told, if white celebs get dissed and overlooked by the powers that be in show biz for expressing their views, think how black celebs that carry the burden or the responsibility--depending on who you talk to--can be "blacklisted". Pun intended!
Back in the day, the careers of Paul Robeson, Eartha Kitt, Ruby and Ossie, and many others were affected by their stance on political and social issues. Have things changed greatly since the 60s? We'd like to think so, but black entertainers, especially, learn quick not to alienate your fans and supporters, especially when you've crossed over into mainstream (a.k.a white audiences)--think Motown in its heyday. So they must be strategic and pick their battles, wear Paul Lawrence Dunbar's mask if you will. They must filter their wording, always make it a "human" issue, not a racial one. Still, sometimes staying true to yourself and not offending those that impact your bottom line can be tricky no matter the race. Indeed, "We Wear The Mask!"
Here's a real potential showbiz situation. A Trayvon Martin rally coordinator calls to ask, you, an established black celeb to participate, lend your voice. Your publicists, instructs you to decline because it doesn't fit into the overall direction of your career. In your heart you feel the desire to say or do something to express your thoughts, even if it means you lose some fans. You know the audience at that rally is the same one that helped you get to mainstream. They are quick to scream "sell out" when they have no clue of the struggles you go through balancing race and show business, BUT they're just as quick to embrace you if mainstream turns on you. What do you do?
It's still early in this Trayvon Martin case so it will be interesting to see how many more celebs and public figures will take to their social profiles or whatever platform to "hoodie up" or simply express their feelings on the issue. But even more interesting will be those who will continue to use their star power and influence to affect change for the social good long after this Hoodie Movement or moment is over. In the meantime, here's a few that have already "hoodied up." As mentioned earlier, Holly Robinson Peete and BFF, EnVogue's Terry Ellis
Holly Robinson Peete on WhoSay
Now watch Chaka Khan, Kelly Price, Eric Benet, Kenny Latimore, Boris Kudjoe, Angela Basset, Courtney Vance, Sharon Leal, and more lend their talents to a remake of Chaka's, "Super Life," in tribute to Trayvon. You gotta love it when a community comes together to do something good!
And from the world of Hip Hop, Plies
And from buddy, The Billionaire P.A.