How Migos' NYU 'Culture' class exposed the concept of celebrity influence

Is it fair to hold artists accountable to speak on behalf of our views?

  /  01.30.2017

Since their entry to the music game, Migos have been on a winning streak. The trio has flawlessly assembled a catalog of music that’s loaded with so many hits we cannot ignore their cultural impact.

Their widespread fan base is still growing since the honorable mention from Donald Glover at the Golden Globes, who compared them to the Beatles, and their success has propelled them to new heights that seem to have infinite possibilities. However, “heavy is the head that wears the crown”; while the burden is split between the group mates, will they be able to continuously prosper?

In today’s market, fans require more than the music to keep their interest. Social media has made us all rather nosy, falling into the black hole of gossip, searching for personal details on our favorite artists. So, New York University brought us together to discuss the Migos influence on fashion, music, and pop culture, showcasing how their style, sound, and presence has shifted culture. Typically, this type of invasiveness has left many an artist guarded, making them reluctant to discuss “touchy” subjects for fear their words may be misconstrued by the media.

Danny Vasquez

Unfortunately, once waving a flag plastered with the words “CULTURE” (their new album title) in a time where political tensions are high and your impact is acknowledged on a world stage, people begin to look for more substance. In Migos’ case, one attendee asked, “How will you use your influence to discuss some of the issues effecting our culture presently?”

Immediately caught off-guard by the question, the group deflected from answering–like true politicians. This moment was integral because it opened our eyes to two sides of fame: one where the expectation is that artists will use their power to influence positive change, and another where artists choose to fill their philanthropic desires privately to avoid scrutiny by fans or media.

Danny Vasquez // Nue Agency

We wonder, is it fair to hold artists accountable to speak on behalf of our views, despite how they may truly feel? In that moment, the question was lingering in the air well after it was spoken. It’s safe to assume that when you want to be acknowledged as pioneers, the public will hold you morally responsible to discuss or help in matters that affect artists and their fans. The public affirmation of solidarity is necessary in today’s world especially for millennials, as we’ve experienced a drastic shift from welcomed diversity to systematic division. We look to those artists, whom we financially support, to have an opinion partly because the communities that their fans and they themselves come from are the most afflicted by these major social issues.

So, it’s okay not to divulge an answer for the public, but it is very clear that the public will not accept idle observance from their idols.

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