writes on August 19, 2017
As of late, Charlottesville, Virginia is synonymous with rebellion. The political uprising has reached every news room in America and is taking social media by storm.
The riot began when white supremacists banned together on Saturday for a “Unite the Right” protest. They were met by advocates of the opposing side. What started out as careless name-calling turned into physical altercations, and then quickly escalated to a car intentionally plowing into a group of counterprotestors. A 32-year-old woman, Heather Heyer, was killed and 34 others were injured, 19 of them being in critical condition. The driver, James Alex Fields Jr. is facing charges as serious as second-degree murder, malicious wounding, and failure to stop in an accident that resulted in death.
— Newsweek UK (@NewsweekUK) August 30, 2017
Virginia has declared a state of emergency and the Department of Justice has launched a civil rights investigation.
In the face of political turmoil, it is vital to have leaders with enough backbone to defend the victims at stake as well as put them at ease in a time of crisis. It is no easy task, but the reassurance is necessary.
Unsurprisingly, there has been a surge of people disappointed with President Trump’s initial statement regarding the situation. Some have said his statement was “weak” and lacked sympathy and depth.
So when Spider-Man: Homecoming star, Zendaya took the stage at the Teen Choice Awards and devoted her speech to consoling those who are feeling the repercussions, it was much-needed.
— Zendaya (@Zendaya) August 13, 2017
Zendaya knows much of her fan base is young and she addressed them directly, requesting them to stay educated and pay attention to the chaos going on around them. In her closing statement she said “Do not let people tell you what you think you should feel. Because you are the leaders, you’re the future leaders of the world, you’re the future presidents, the future senators, and you guys are the ones who are gonna make this world better.” Twitter erupted with gratitude for the young star, acknowledging her for using her platform to relay positivity.
— Destiny Angel (@destinychatman7) August 14, 2017
queen @Zendaya preaching at the TCAs using what is rightfully HER moment to talk about social issues on such a large platform. what an icon
— kyla (@highwayscene) August 14, 2017
Zendaya wasn’t the only celeb of the night to make a heartfelt statement. Lauren Jauregui, of Fifth Harmony, urged everyone listening to continue to spread love and positivity. Yara Shahidi from ABC’s Blackish went on to state that it’s crucial for those in the media to be assertive. Miley Cyrus didn’t make it to the award show but earlier in the day tweeted a photo of Heather Heyer, the woman who was killed in the incident and captioned it, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” These words echoed Heyer’s last Facebook post before taking part in the counter-protest.
Apart from Teen choice awards guests, celebs as distinguished as J.K Rowling, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans and Seth Rogen have spoken out against the tragedy.
Future has also canceled an upcoming tour date in Virginia out of respect for the situation there.
“Out of respect for the tragic events I felt it wasn’t rite to perform at this time… Please understand my heart mean well VA,” he said via Twitter.
Not only is Virginia in a state of emergency but our nation as a whole is in distress. Despite dark times, we need strong-willed celebrities like Zendaya to inspire us to do better and be better.