Their Lives, Our Lessons: What Celebrity Visibility Taught Us In 2018

Celebrity Visibility 2018
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Well, we made it. Seems hard to believe that the Winter Olympics, Black Panther, the Royal Wedding, The Carters World Tour part 2, and Aretha’s epic homecoming all happened in 2018, but here we are. With the holiday season in full swing, let’s take a moment and give flowers to our favorite celebrities who didn’t wait until the end of the year to gift us with some major keys.

Take, for example, Cosby Show alum and otherwise regular ass guy Geoffrey Owens, who through no fault of his own was catapulted back into the zeitgeist for literally doing his job. He gracefully reminded us that there is nothing to be ashamed about in earning an honest living.

And then there are folks like, Michelle Obama, who with her New York Times best-selling book became the latest celebrity to discuss her fertility issues and her experience with the IVF process. She joins a growing number of women this year who have become more vocal about their fertility and new mommy related struggles.

Like, Gabrielle Union who recently discussed the pressure surrounding her miscarriages and her decision to have a baby via surrogacy. Or Serena Williams, who shed light on “the low moments” of new mommyhood. Or Beyonce, who shared her post-C-section recovery story and how she learned body acceptance after giving birth to her twins (FUPA and all). These women helped to take a conversation typically shrouded in shame and normalize it for the people.

Or take, for example, the late fashion Instagrammer Kyrzayda Rodriguez, who passed away earlier this year from stomach cancer at the age of 40. Like Arthur Ashe did in the 80s with his work as a national campaign chairman for the American Heart Association, Kryzayda gave us a window into her world as she reconciled with her reality — documenting her cancer journey, from the first chemo session to her final farewell, between posts about her favorite fashions.

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And then there are the leaders, like political newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who use their platforms to advocate for change on topics like the affordability of basic insurance.

Each of these individuals took time this year to share a uniquely human experience and make it real to us with their honesty and vulnerability. It seems strange that we’re living in a time where Facebook can connect us to our best friend from kindergarten, yet we rely on complete strangers to make these stories visible to us — but look, if that’s what it takes to get everyone’s attention, then I’m all for it.

We do live in a social media generation after all and we’ve grown accustomed to the taste of good tea over real world ish. I’ll be the first to admit that I probably have three active group chats right now about the latest Shade Room post and thirty-five unread texts from my family. I digress.

Regardless of the reason why we do it, these celebrities through their visibility have become our best friends in our heads, our role models, our aspirational goals, our heroes who have the superpower to speak as if “speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have. And it is. They have the courage to let us know we’re not the only ones. They create space for us to be visible and inspire us to start the conversation. They help us heal. They let us know that no one is truly alone in their struggle and for whatever that’s worth, it makes us feel comforted.

Let’s endeavor to keep that same energy in 2019. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

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