Zendaya (L) at the Met Gala'24, Hazim Bangwar (R) at the 2024 Hum Style Awards

A tale of two Galas

The annual fashion event was deemed tone-deaf and disrespectful amidst the global outcry over the humanitarian crisis.

Syeda Alizeh Ahmed May 17, 2024

The recent Met Gala sparked outrage among the Pakistani people and celebrities, who took to social media to criticise the event for its extravagance and insensitivity during the ongoing Gaza crisis.

One social media user wrote:

“Where is the media focused? Not on RAFAH. A celebrity unable to walk in a tight dress at the Met Gala gets more coverage than the father carrying his dead child in Rafah. This is media complicity in Genocide. Please keep sharing. ALL EYES ON RAFAH.” 

Another user pointed out:

“The Hunger Games comparisons is insane because we’re oohing and aahing over people in pretty gowns while children are being murdered. We’re living it.”

The annual fashion event, known for its opulence and glamour, was deemed tone-deaf and disrespectful amidst the global outcry over the humanitarian crisis. However, this outrage was short-lived, as just a few days later, Pakistani celebrities attended and celebrated the Hum Style Awards 2024; however, despite people criticising the fashion sense of our celebrities, no one commented on the negligence in supporting Gaza.

Award shows are renowned for their glitz, glamour, and celebration of talent within the entertainment industry. Yet, at the Hum Style Awards’24, a deeper conversation emerged—one that transcends the confines of red carpets and acceptance speeches. It became a platform not just for recognising excellence in the industry but for amplifying voices and advocating for causes that demand global attention.

In a world wrestling with humanitarian crises and social injustices, the role of celebrities as influencers and advocates has come under heightened scrutiny. The juxtaposition of opulent ceremonies against the backdrop of pressing global issues begs the question: what responsibility do celebrities hold in using their platforms for meaningful change?

The Hum Style Awards’24 provided a stage for some Pakistani celebrities to spotlight the ongoing atrocities in Palestine. Hania Aamir, in her acceptance speech, called for solidarity and a ceasefire in Gaza, resonating with the audience and demonstrating the power of celebrity influence for humanitarian causes. Similarly, Bilal Saeed and Faris Shafi used their presence on the red carpet and during award acceptance speeches to advocate for Palestine. Saeed's “Free Palestine” blazer and Shafi's impassioned plea for justice echoed the sentiments of millions worldwide standing in solidarity with Palestinians.

However, amidst these commendable acts of advocacy, a glaring disparity emerges. While some celebrities seized the opportunity to speak out, others remained conspicuously silent on the issue. The absence of mention from certain prominent figures raises questions about the integrity and sincerity of their activism. In a time where silence can be interpreted as complicity, the refusal to address pressing global issues undermines the potential impact of celebrity advocacy.

The significance of celebrity activism extends beyond mere lip service; it is a call to action that demands accountability and tangible change. As influential figures with vast social reach, celebrities possess a unique platform to amplify marginalised voices and effect meaningful change. To remain silent in the face of injustice is to perpetuate the status quo and abdicate responsibility in the pursuit of personal gain.

Considering the recent movement calling for the boycott of celebrities who fail to speak out on critical issues, Pakistani celebrities find themselves at a crossroads. The allure of fame and fortune must be weighed against the moral imperative to use one's platform for the greater good. In an age where social media amplifies both voices of dissent and complicity, the choice to remain silent is no longer an option.

The Hum Style Awards’24 served as a microcosm of the broader conversation surrounding celebrity activism and responsibility. It highlighted both the potential and pitfalls of wielding influence in the public sphere. Moving forward, Pakistani celebrities must recognise the weight of their words and actions, understanding that advocacy is not just a choice but a moral obligation in the pursuit of a more just and equitable world. Failure to do so not only perpetuate systemic inequities but also undermines the integrity of celebrity activism as a force for positive transformation.

Syeda Alizeh Ahmed

A keen writer and poet deeply immersed in the world of literature, dedicated to creating stories and poems that capture the beauty of language and storytelling.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


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