You expect awards show to be the time celebrities bask in the spotlight…to gloat about their talent or latest release. But in this season of political turmoil in America, even celebrities are setting aside their own egos and celebrity chatter to zero in on political matters.
Sunday’s 2017 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards brought more accolades for Black cast movies. Outstanding Performances for leading role went to Denzel Washington (“Fences”), Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”) won for male actor in a supporting role and Viola Davis (“Fences”) won female actor. In the category of Outstanding Cast Performance, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae and Taraji P. Henson won for
their movie “Hidden Figures”. In her acceptance speech, Henson said, “This film is about unity. The shoulders of the women that we stand on are three American heroes: Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. Without them, we would not know how to reach the stars.” Henson called the three Black female mathematicians portrayed in the hit movie “heroes” and noted their inspiration is especially needed in America now. Henson said, “This story is about what happens when we put our differences aside, and we come together as a human race. We win. Love wins every time … They are hidden figures no more!”
Henson’s speech was part of what seemed to be a theme at the 23rd SAG Awards. “Moonlight” star Mahershala Ali who converted 17 years ago to become Muslim said in his victory speech, “…We see what happens when we persecute people. They fold into themselves. I hope that we do a better job...”
Others like Julia Louise-Dreyfus called the ban “un-American“, Ashton Kutcher said “In my America, you are welcomed“. Just about every winner took a moment to address the President’s Immigration Ban or what’s been dubbed the Muslim Ban.
The executive order signed Friday has touch off protesting around the nation as millions of refugees, visitors and legal immigrants from seven-majority Muslim nations are being turned away at the country’s borders. The ban doesn’t name nations like Saudi Arabia which reportedly was linked to 9-11. Trump has business interest in that country.
The move has unleashed an unparalleled chaos that warranted a Huffington Post headline of “It Took Donald Trump 8 Days To Bring The U.S. To The Brink Of A Constitutional Crisis”.
The protests are being matched by numerous grassroots circulating petitions calling for Trump’s impeachment. Federal courts are for now staying some of the deportation cases under the ban based on unconstitutionality. There is also global backlash abroad. Many long standing U-S allies like Canada, Scotland, Sweden and Britain are denouncing the ban. London’s mayor calls the ban “shameful and cruel“. Trump is scheduled for a visit to Britain, but thousands of citizens don’t want him there and have circulated a petition in protest that’s already reached nearly a million signatures. And of course there’s the brittle relationship with Mexico which led to the Mexican president calling off his visit here.
All this chaos after less than two weeks in office. What do you think…is this just a new president getting off to a rough start? Or is this just the beginning of Trump’s reign of terror?