Destiny Jolade | Staff Writer
With the recent passing of singer/songwriter Whitney Houston, there has seen a massive outpouring of emotion concerning her life and her death. Though the passing of Whitney Houston is, indeed, a tragic event, I cannot help but notice that whenever a celebrity dies there is a nation-wide breakdown over the death of that person. And I find myself asking, “Why?”
Why do people show a tremendous outpouring of emotion when a celebrity dies? It’s no secret that many of the people that mourn the loss of the celebrity didn’t actually know them on a personal level. So what makes that celebrity so special that people who have never met them show a tremendous amount of sadness when they pass on? This question has been lingering in the back of my mind for some time, because when I first thought about it, an emotional reaction to the death of a celebrity that most people don’t know personally, makes no sense. But regardless of whether it makes sense or not, we are confronted with legions of mourners when a celebrity like Michael Jackson or Whitney Houston dies.
Now, I acknowledge that celebrities do have tremendous influence; this is especially true within the music industry. Though a person may not have personally met a celebrity singer, the work that they make often connects with people on a deeper and more personal level. Some people can truly feel like they connect with the celebrity or artist through their work. So, in that regard, I understand why people show such an emotional response when they pass on.
But as I thought about his, I realized that celebrities are not just singers, songwriters or movie stars. Often times a person might be propelled to icon status for something they did for a group of people. An example of this would be Nelson Mandela or Mother Teresa; they both attained their status of celebrity for their humanitarian work and their unwavering dedication to helping people. So as I looked at the definition of celebrity through that lens, I realized that an outpouring of emotion when viewing a celebrity as someone who worked for the greater wellbeing is quite normal.
However, I cannot get past the idea that when the celebrity in question is somebody who did not do much in the way of humanitarian work, or much in the way of personally connecting with people through their work, this type of excessive mourning is nonsensical in nature. I fundamentally believe that the life of a person is something to be treasured, and regardless of what a person may have done in their life, their death is always sad. But what I do not agree with is when a half baked celebrity, who abused their status and power in life, dies, and then all of a sudden there are legions of mourners who rally around that celebrity.
With many millions of people dying each day, some of which could have had a more personable impact on the world than the celebrity that is being mourned for, I find it quite sad that we focus on a celebrities status rather than what they’ve done for the benefit of their fans. It may sound unpleasant, but I think that as a society we need to stop fixating ourselves on the deaths of celebrities. The fact of the matter is that people die every day. We should focus our time and energy on the people who make real impacts on the lives of those around them, and on the world in general.