Understanding Celebrity Families
Celebrity is a generalized term of mass public perception and popular acclaim of a person or group, usually as a consequence of the extreme attention paid to them by various media. Celebrity gossip is the most common manifestation of this phenomenon. This form of communication is most rampant during the periods of mass social awareness and in political events. There is no limit to the amount of money that can be poured into these aspects of publicity. In fact, celebrities are usually the object of such intense interest that any news item which highlights their personality or actions automatically receives the maximum circulation within hours of its being published.
This mass media’s obsession with celebrities has created a new sphere of interest for the academics who study the social psychology of public entertainers. The celebrity status of any individual creates a unique situation of public fascination and can be compared to the phenomenon of modern advertising. The appeal of stars to the mass public is directly proportional to the degree of their public ridicule and embarrassment. When public images of a performer are in the form of ridicule, embarrassment or humiliation, they become ‘retained’ in the long run. Thus, celebrities can be considered as highly popular agents of social information. Their existence and reputation create a feedback mechanism for societal information distribution.
One of the most common explanations for the popularity of celebrities is their association with the mass media. Movies, music videos, advertisements, stage shows, dance shows, and television programs all make use of celebrities in their promotional campaigns. Television programs in particular are fond of celebrities because they offer the medium of mass entertainment. Movies are made based on the concept of celebrity gossip. Famous celebrities become pawns in the hands of producers of films and television programs, which are then transmitted to millions of viewers. Similarly, movies that portray a particular social problem are more successful than others.
Some of the most well-known celebrities are those who have managed to achieve a level of popularity even outside the entertainment industry. Queen Latifah is an example of this phenomenon. She has become an icon of her times and has established a level of celebrity for herself which is not experienced by many other African American women. Ellen DeGeneres is another African American celebrity who has also become a well known face on television. In addition, Rachael Ray, a popular talk show host, has also experienced the popularity of her show in the twenty-first century. Viewers enjoy her shows because of their witty dialogues as well as delivery of topical content.
Celebrities can be viewed in various other forms as well. They are famous in the sporting field. Football players are celebrities in the eyes of sports enthusiasts and the die hard fans of their sport. Similarly, film production houses are known to cast celebrities who can fill the parts they require. This has been the case with famous actors such as Gene Hackman, Michael Douglas, and Tom Hanks who have been associated with popular films.
Celebrities have a level of influence over our culture that cannot be measured simply by the dollars spent by movie theaters or TV channels. We, as citizens of the world, pay tribute to these celebrities when we feel something is wrong. We hold them in esteem because of the influence they wield over our society. We are inspired to follow their footsteps even when they go on strike or decide to retire from the public spotlight. These are only a few examples of how the celebrity family can exert their influence over our lives; it is up to us to recognize their existence and their celebrity when they need our support.