Opinion: Iyanla Can’t Fix our Country

Why Hollywood Needs to Revisit its Strategy to Encourage Voting

By Jasmine Kent, Brand Communications and Media Strategist and Founder of LoveJas Media

America is in complete chaos and entertainers are picking up where government officials should be taking the lead. Day by day, as we get closer to the election, I’m asking myself where the hell is Clarence Avant, the Black Godfather that influenced everything at the intersection of American politics, entertainment, and civil rights. What worries me is that Hollywood is calling bullshit on the Presidential election and trying to convince us that we should too without clear direction on what’s next. 

Popular entertainment defines culture and social norms of the time. Most famously, Nina Simone said an artist’s job is to be a sign of the times. The messages that come out of Hollywood determines social normalities. After years of social campaigns like #OscarsSoWhite, #MeToo, and #TimesUp, the racial reckoning phase of America is getting old and it feels like the perfect time to demand what’s ours. As Black people, women, and marginalized groups continue to fight for their lives, somehow the voices of those with social clout have made themselves responsible for our politics. 

Hollywood’s typical campaigns to register to vote or most recently “to vote like your life depends on it” are overgeneralized and not informative enough to properly influence action on a local level, which is where our democracy works for the citizens. Due to its global reach, Hollywood can be charged for being politically correct in itself, censoring its message so that neworks, film, and celebrities don’t lose money or influence (read: Power) because of their alignment to a certain party. 

Then asked about the 2016 Presidential election, Diddy called bullshit on politics because it didn’t address the needs of our community, and then bowed out of politics. Now in 2020, Kanye West has managed to collect signatures to appear on the Presidential ballot in several states. Hollywood, the globe’s most influential media source, has repeatedly encouraged spectacle rather than policy allowing rappers to tease careers in government affairs so much so that foreign leaders are mocking America and losing faith in our democracy. 

Putting my Clarence Avant hat on, education on responsible civic engagement is the answer and there needs to be a call for celebrities and influencers to return home to hold local leaders accountable and encourage ballot education. Until then, America will continue to vote with the 1% by prioritizing Presidential elections. We need responsible adults in the room quickly but also need the influence of people with the impact of celebrity status to help whip our country back into shape. But until that day, look up your city’s District Attorney and hold them accountable in prosecuting law enforcement who use excessive force by threatening their reelection and attend town hall meetings to question and understand ballot measures to vote in the best interest of your community.

About Jasmine Kent

Action, Bold, and Curious, Jasmine LaVerne follows the ABC’s of Brand Development to keep her clients top of mind.

When applying to Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Mass Communications, now Robertson School of Media and Culture, her admissions essay touted Jasmine as the next Anna Wintour. Little did she know, her career in Media wouldn’t be as a journalist or editor, but the go to person for Strategy and Service.

With nearly 10 years of experience in Brand Marketing, Communications, Media, and Events, Jasmine develops creative programs to drive engagement with audiences by creating authentic, long lasting relationships online and in real life. As the landscape of media constantly changes and consumer attention fades, her boutique agency, LoveJas Media, delivers creative ways to capture audience’s attention by building relationships with the people and platforms that matter.

She has previously managed entertainment marketing campaigns for clients in the Mobile Technology, Fashion-Tech, and Consumer Packaged Goods industries, and has organized events in partnership with Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC, The Hollywood and Highland Center, Air B&B, and United Negro College Fund.

Passionate about diversity & inclusion initiatives and the cultural design of Hollywood and global media, Jasmine is a member of the National Urban League Young Professional Programs committee and former Entertainment Chair of Los Angeles Urban League Young Professionals where she raised over $100K in sponsorship and in-kind donations to produce events including The Melanin Effect, Let’s Talk Tech and Entertainment, and The Future of the Industry Summit & Awards Brunch.

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