Should celebrities involve themselves in party politics?

By Rosalia David

HAVE you ever wondered how politics might have an impact on artists’ fan base, especially when they choose to publically support a certain party which some of their fans might not like?

I think musicians should be aware that there is a raging controversy about the extent to which artists should be involved in supporting political parties without their fans having to raise eyebrows and come with vexing questions.

With the current election season, I have heard a couple of songs recorded by various artists promoting a specific party, which suggests that some musicians engage in self-censorship to reach large audiences through party political shows.

However, how can the fans that support your art stomach the fact that their favourite musical icon belongs to this or that particular party?

I’m not saying that artists are supposed to distance themselves from political debates and national issues, no.  What I’m wondering is whether they should rather keep their vote a secret and their preferred political party to themselves.

Don’t get me wrong, there are those who see themselves as just pure entertainers, with no obligation to sing truth to power. I think Namibia is one of the countries where there is no assumption that musicians should be politically motivated troubadours, which does not reflect the reality of most artists here.

But there are those who feel entitled to spread their wings into politics and show the world where they stand on the political issues of the day. In my opinion, music that is ‘for the people’ should not contain the seeds of mass manipulation and political indifference.

If I don’t like a certain party, for example, and I see that my favourite artist belongs to and is promoting that particular party, I might stop buying their music.

We are all aware of the fact that different political parties prefer getting artists to drive their political agenda to reach as many people as possible, especially the youth, but what about when the election is over?

I believe that the idea of artists being used to sing and produce music for political parties is problematic. Not only is it naïve, but unfair to those who choose musical entertainment as their path in life.

Of course, some want nothing but to supplement their income through association with well-funded political parties, which they sometimes may not have an enduring affinity for, but how does that effect your followership?