Celebrities are becoming louder than ever in an effort to promote change. From Kerry Washington and Katy Perry to John Legend and Michael B. Jordan, here are some of the most active actors, musicians and TV personalities, many of whom have been longtime activists, and all refusing to stay silent.
The NBA all-star has spoken loudly and proudly in support of Black Lives Matter. James has been outspoken on social media about the deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and more, and in late August, he took to Twitter to express the importance of justice after Jacob Blake was shot in the back by police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin, which spurred more protests. "F**K THIS MAN!!!! WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT," the basketball pro tweeted at the time. Earlier in the week, along with many of his Los Angeles Lakers teammates, James wore a BLM shirt while honoring the late Kobe Bryant on Aug. 24, 2020. James is also helping spearhead a multimillion-dollar effort to recruit poll workers ahead of the election in November through More Than a Vote. While James is one of the best basketball players in NBA history, it's his support and actions when it comes to causes that are important to him -- namely education, racism and police brutality -- that may very well be his greatest legacy.
The One Tree Hill alum has dedicated much of her life to pursuing social justice. The actress and activist regularly speaks up on social media, pushing for police reforms, fair elections and equal rights. A harsh critic of President Donald Trump, Bush encourages her followers to vote on a nearly daily basis, and she also hosts her own podcast, Work in Progress, where she interviews luminaries and fellow activists like Gloria Steinem, Glennon Doyle, Cecile Richards and Dr. Melina Abdullah.
Both the EGOT winner and his wife are not shy about denouncing President Trump, including calling him "racist" ahead of the 2016 presidential election. In addition to donating thousands of dollars each year -- including $5,000 to the DNC in 2017 and $72K to the ACLU on Donald Trump's birthday in 2018 -- Legend is extremely vocal about his political views on Twitter. On night two of the Democratic National Convention in August 2020, he backed Joe Biden for the presidential nominee and sang "Never Break" off his latest album, Bigger Love. "The song is about love, hope and resilience, and I think we could all use some of that right now 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾," the father of two tweeted after his DNC performance.
The Little Fires Everywhere star shot to fame as a political “fixer" on Scandal, and in real life, Washington doesn't shy away from using her voice to bring change. She has promoted numerous social justice and political causes, such as voter registration, gun control and LGBTQ rights, and she has also proudly worked with the Black Lives Matter, #MeToo and Time's Up movements. Her career has also reflected her hope for change. The mom of two has chosen roles that address social justice issues, such as the Broadway play American Son, which brought attention to police brutality and the killings of Tamir Rice, Eric Garner and Philando Castile and was adapted into a Netflix series. She also takes the opportunity to share her views with wide audiences. At the start of the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards, Washington was featured in the "I am an actor" segment and used the opportunity to discuss political activism. "A lot of people are saying right now that actors should keep our mouths shut when it comes to politics," she said. "But the truth is, no matter what, actors are activists because we embody the humanity and worth of all people. This union helps me to do that. I am Kerry Washington, and I am an actor."
Michael B. Jordan
The Black Panther star is so committed to improving diversity in Hollywood that he added a diversity clause to all of his projects. His breakout role was in Fruitvale Station, a film chronicling the life and death of a 22-year-old father who was killed by police on New Year’s Day in 2009, and his activism has been evident ever since. In June 2020, Jordan joined protestors in a massive BLM march in Los Angeles, where he challenged Hollywood to improve diversity.
This isn't just a 2020 thing -- Fonda has always been one of the most politically active celebs. Well known for protesting the Vietnam War, the activist has continued to use her platform to push for social change. She launched "Fire Drill Fridays," her civil disobedience campaign that demands urgent action to battle climate change, in the fall of 2019 -- which included three arrests in Washington., D.C., in October -- that continued into 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the U.S. The last one took place in Wilmington, California, a port town suburb of Los Angeles, on March 6.
She's only 18, but Eilish is wise beyond her years. She lent her voice to the Democratic National Convention, debuting the first live performance of her single "My Future" on night three of the DNC, where she also spoke candidly against President Donald Trump. "You don't need me to tell you things are a mess. Donald Trump is destroying our country and everything we care about," Eilish said ahead of her performance. "We need leaders who will solve problems like climate change and COVID, not deny them. Leaders who will fight against systemic racism and inequality. That starts by voting for someone who understands how much is at stake, someone who's building a team that shares our values. It starts with voting against Donald Trump and for Joe Biden. Silence is not an option, and we cannot sit this one out." Eilish, who is old enough to vote for the first time in 2020, has previously made her political views clear and spoken out about what she believes in. In a passionate Instagram post in May 2020, she fiercely supported the Black Lives Matter movement and condemned those saying "All lives matter." Heading into the election, the Los Angeles native has teamed up with the nonprofit HeadCount to help educate her millions of fans on how to register to vote and participate in the election.
Last year, the Grown-ish star said she'd "put my career on the line to talk politics," but that's something Shahidi has always made clear. One of Gen Z's most prominent, woke voices, the actress regularly pushes for inclusivity, conscious conversation and political awareness. "Here we stand on the precipice of progress and possibility," she mused on Instagram, citing her recent op-ed for PORTER Magazine. "My generation proudly takes ownership of our identities and revels in our intersections. So why, at 20, do I feel as though we are looking for a home?” She also took part in Black Lives Matter protests in Los Angeles and works with a number of organizations to promote change. In 2018, she explained to The Hollywood Reporter that going through the 2016 election, "where myself and many of my peers were unable to vote," is really what led her to become such an outspoken crusader and help launch Eighteen x 18, which encouraged her peers to register to vote. "The thing people don't fully understand about my generation is just how multifaceted we are. Oftentimes, people like to oversimplify what [we] believe in or do, whether that's, 'Oh, you're on your phones all the time,' or, 'Oh, you're very self-centered,' but what I've seen from my peers is that we're socially engaged and curious about the world," she explained.
Throughout the summer of 2020, Lovato regularly posted about the Black Lives Matter movement and paid tribute to Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old black woman who was fatally shot by police in her Louisville, Kentucky, home in March. On what would have been Taylor's 27th birthday in June and on Lovato's own birthday in August, the "Anyone" singer continued to advocate for justice and shared calls to action with her fans. She also spoke up about fighting for trans rights during the virtual 2020 GLAAD Awards and she teamed up with Propeller to auction off a collection of items from her closet for fans who pledge to vote. "I'm both heartbroken and inspired by recent events in our country. I won't be silent or stand still. Join me in taking action for racial justice, COVID-19 relief and getting ready to vote. Because we need change more than ever before," Lovato said in a video posted to her Instagram. "The only way to win is to take action. Sign petitions, donate, educate yourself, learn to educate those around you. The more actions you take, the more chances you have to win, so please start now."
The pop star was known for staying mum about politics -- and then Donald Trump got elected as president. Starting in 2018, she spoke up about voting for Democrats in the Tennessee election that year and encouraged others to vote and speak out against “fear-based extremism.” She also released the political anthem "Only the Young," from her documentary, Miss Americana, in January, and recently slammed Trump's handling of the USPS ahead of the 2020 election.
The "Smile" singer proudly and loudly supported Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election, mocked President Trump and then-British Prime Minister Theresa May in her 2017 BRIT Awards performance and got political while singing "Chained to the Rhythm" at the 2017 GRAMMYs, among other political proclamations. In June 2020, she co-headlined Rock the Vote's Democracy Summer 2020 event; the movement encourages people to get to the polls in November. The pop star also loves an excuse to dress up in sparkly patriotic gear, and how can we blame her?
The Will & Grace star began a new chapter in 2020, launching the podcast The Dissenters, a weekly show where Messing and her co-host, I Am a Voter founder Mandana Dayani, interview people they've dubbed "dissenters," a term borrowed from Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s infamous "I dissent" line. "I am more fulfilled by this than I ever imagined I would be," Messing told ET in August 2020. “I feel so grateful and I do feel good about putting out something positive and uplifting and empowering during a time where everyone is really suffering and struggling." Messing's interests in politics kicked into a different gear amid the 2016 election. Since then, she's become one of President Donald Trump's most vocal critics online. She's even been mean-tweeted by the commander in chief!
The Insecure actor has gone to battle in the war against racism and police brutality. Following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Sampson was beaten with a baton by police and shot with rubber bullets during a Black Lives Matter march last month, but that hasn't deterred him from being a vocal proponent of defunding police budgets. Sampson, who is also the founder of the non-partisan grass roots social justice group BLD PWR, penned an open letter calling out Hollywood for lacking a “true commitment” to inclusion and for contributing to the “criminalization of Black people, the misrepresentation of the legal system, and the glorification of police corruption and violence.”
She may be a British royal now, but Markle is forever an American girl. She is also one who has always been politically active. In 2020, she and husband Prince Harry moved from England to California, and the former Suits star has been making her voice heard now that she's back in the States. In July, she spoke to Marie Claire on the importance of voting, and reiterated her stance one month later, teaming up with Michelle Obama's When We All Vote to participate in the United State of Women's virtual "Couch Party." "When I think about voting and why this is so exceptionally important for all of us, I would frame it as: We vote to honor those who came before us and to protect those who will come after us," she expressed. "Because that is what community is all about and that's specifically what this election is all about." The Duchess of Sussex also encouraged young women to "keep pushing" for change at the 2020 Girl Up Leadership Summit.
The pregnant model has never shied away from sharing her opinions and feelings, and that includes in the world of politics. Teigen has regularly decried Trump's policies, and as of late, she's happily shared her support for Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris. "Fell in love with both Kamala and Doug this day. cannot wait to vote for Momala," she captioned this throwback pic in August 2020.