DEAR FAMOUS PEOPLE, BEING CRITIQUED IS NOT BULLYING
By Awa Gueye
August 12, 2019
Dear Famous People Who Are Not Self Aware,
This is a roast.
This past weekend, Beauty Con took place in Los Angeles, with some incredible panelists over a conversation-filled two days. One of these panelists included actress Priyanka Chopra, who was caught off-guard when a fan called her a hypocrite, citing a past tweet in direct conflict with her position as a UN Goodwill Peace Ambassador.
Jai Hind #IndianArmedForces 🇮🇳 🙏🏽
— PRIYANKA (@priyankachopra) February 26, 2019
Even worse than the tweet inciting violence, was Chopra’s ugly response after being confronted. When Beauty Con attendee Ayesha Malik got on the microphone during the Q & A portion of Chopra’s panel, her intention was to hold a very famous woman who spoke dangerous words accountable. Some of Priyana’s defenders, the ones who think they love her but actually support her ignorance instead of encouraging her to grow, labelled Malik “attention-seeking.” I disagree. Malik is brave. She has recognized an inconsistency in Chopra and risked becoming the target of a cruel media storm in search of honesty. Truth mattered more than consequence.
Which brings us to the responsibility Chopra had and failed at. In order to explain how she failed we must first establish the role of the artist.
James Baldwin once said, “I am trying to make clear the nature of the artist’s responsibility to his society. The peculiar nature of this responsibility is that he must never cease warring with it, for its sake and for his own. For the truth, in spite of appearances and all our hopes, is that everything is always changing and the measure of our maturity as nations and as men is how well prepared we are to meet these changes, and further, to use them for our health.”
Whether you like it or not, everything is political. To be an artist is to be a political body. Artists who “make no statements” and “avoid politics” are as political as those who scream their views from the mountaintop. Chopra is a self-proclaimed political artist, advocating for peace (remember her position as a UN Goodwill Peace Ambassador). Yet the filmed interaction between Chopra and Malik proves that the actress has failed in this role. Worse than advocating for war, she is dishonest when asked about it.
Priyanka Chopra tweeted during a time when we were this 👌🏽 close to sending nukes to one another. Instead of advocating for peace she tweeted in support of the Indian army pic.twitter.com/LhbMkOW59v
— Ayesha Malik (@Spishaa) August 11, 2019
Feeling cornered, Chopra’s response was to gaslight and mock the woman who held her accountable. When called out for her support of violence her response was, “are you done venting?” Chopra continued to condescend, assuring Malik that she leads with love while watching a microphone be ripped from her hands. When Malik tries to continue the conversation sans microphone, Chopra attempts to embarrass her by asking her why she is yelling. Her passive attitude and bully-like behavior contradicted her fake proclamation of love. At one point she even said, “I have many, many friends from Pakistan and I am from India. War is not something I’m really fond of, but I am patriotic, so I’m sorry if I hurt sentiments to people who do love me and have loved me,”.
Chopra is not alone in her stank, dangerous behavior. There is a gaslighting issue in Hollywood that is hidden under the guise of words like “bully” or “haters.” There is a giant difference between those who exist on the internet to spread hate, and those who exist to spread the truth. If you are being called out for hurtful behavior, how dare you dismiss it and attempt to throw brainwashed fans at the person you have hurt? Instead, you should hear out those who hold you accountable for your harmful words or actions to see if they have a point. It may feel embarrassing in the moment but ultimately it is an opportunity to become a better person. When a Pakistani person asks you why you would support a nuclear weapon against their country, or an African-American person critiques your cornrows as an example of societal anti-Blackness, they are not being “haters.” They are expressing hurt, and instead of compassion you weaponize a faux kindness to selfishly protect yourself from the slightest critique. This is why some people must be publicly called out, you would not listen without the witnesses.
Thank you for refusing to be silent Ayesha.