***Before reading this, please note that I am not condoning the use of drugs and alcohol in any way nor am I in favour of those who do.
I find people’s reactions to celebrity drug abuse to be exaggerated and unrealistic. Of course the media would have a field day by sensationalizing it, but why do we act holier-than-thou and spout out criticism when we are in no better a position to judge? That’s why I wanted to write about this, get it all out there so everyone can be little kinder and perhaps learn to be more understanding.
For instance, I was sitting in my university canteen when Bieber’s DUI was on the news and someone I know actually said “Thank God, everything is right with the world now.”. I’m not a fan of Bieber but that cruel remark did not sit well with me. To praise God because someone had taken a dangerous risk with their own life and those of others is unacceptable, no matter who it is and whether or not you hate them. It also demonstrates blatant ignorance.
When the One Direction marijuana smoking video was leaked, there were people who burned their tickets and parents dubbed them as terrible influences on their children. In a realistic perspective, it actually isn’t all too shocking that celebrities in their late teens and early twenties use or have used drugs because at least 40%of people in this particular age bracket have done so themselves. The only difference is that they are famous.
Before judging choices that people in the lime light make, we ought to examine the various factors that play a role in their path towards drug abuse:
- The lifestyle these individuals lead is different from that of ours since they are more exposed to the influences of drugs and alcohol than us. Demi Lovato spoke out on this in an interview, saying that club promoters would give her small amounts of cocaine to keep her coming back.
- Money is not an issue in obtaining these substances so that is another restraint they do not face which would definitely affect others.
- There has always been a long standing influence of drugs and alcohol on writing. Like Hemingway said, “Write drunk, edit sober.” So musicians sometimes ‘use’ for (or claim to use for) creative purposes.
- Stress from being in a hyper-explosive reality can be harrowing and studies have shown that fame in itself becomes an addiction. That is why attention, whether it is good or bad is craved by some who feel their fifteen minutes of fame is running out. This can lead to substance abuse as well.
A friend of mine says that singers shouldn’t swear in their songs because younger kids listen to them and idolize them. I have to say that I disagree. There are different age groups and there needs to be music that caters to all of them. Besides, each explicit song has a clean version as well.
Of course certain singers have a younger demographic but I think most of them want to break out of it and reach out to a demographic closer to their own age. If an artist chooses to use profane language in a song then that is their right since it all falls under artistic and poetic license. Without that freedom, things can go awry. In fact, in the video where One Direction members Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik are seen smoking marijuana, Malik mocks their entire merchandise line claiming its ridiculous going on to describe how their book ought to be simple and black instead of pink and girly.
Miley Cyrus’ 360 degree transformation from a Disney poster girl to the twerking controversy she is today, is a good example of what pressure at a young age can do to certain individuals. There’s been a string of Disney stars who’ve ‘been led astray’ including Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez and this is perhaps attributed to the fact that they are told to act in a certain way to please their younger fans and this can be a difficult thing to do when you are at an age where you’re attempting to figure things out for yourself. It actually staunches developmental growth mentality wise and leads to conflict and frustration. To put it simply, it is hard to be told not to be yourself and even harder to fit into the frame of a younger demographics expectations. The same goes for all pop stars.
After all this, I find myself grateful. Just think about it for a second.
You don’t have to answer to world for the choices or mistakes you make.
Your private life is yours alone.
Your personal details are not trivialized as headlines for the day.
It’s a blessing to have that freedom so do not take that for granted.
At the end of the day, what people do in their personal time is up to them and not our business just as your personal time is no one else’s business either.
I don’t think we ought to judge until and unless we know the whole story. It’s only fair. The best thing we can do is not put celebrities on pedestals but rather in the right place i.e right next to us. We’re all equals and no one is better than the other. We’re all people.
So be nice 🙂