26 Celebrity Activists We’re Glad Aren’t ‘Sticking To What They Know’
by Hannah Marsh
Many of our favorite celebs are all about using their platforms to take a stand for the things they believe in. Although many receive a lot of flack for it, we wholeheartedly applaud their efforts. These are our favorite celebrity activists who are doing their part to change the world.
Both on- and off-screen, Gina Rodriguez is someone we’d for sure like to be best friends with. In addition to being a rockstar actress, Rodriguez has used her platform to fight for gender equality (especially for Latinas and girls from low-income families), energizing her fans through social media, and even starting We Will Foundation, an organization that champions young women from low-income backgrounds to help them find their voices through the arts.
If you’ve ever listened a Kendrick Lamar song, you know how politically and socially charged some of his lyrics can be, his latest album To Pimp A Butterfly, described as “honest, fearful and unapologetic.” As someone unafraid to speak against the injustices black people continue to face in America, Kendrick helped bring the Black Lives Matter movement to the forefront of the music industry with his performance at the 2016 Grammys. As the issues of equality and division continue in our society, we have a feeling we haven’t heard the last of Lamar.
She might be the daughter of two of Hollywood’s most notable stars, but Zoe Kravitz stands out all on her own and not just because of her brilliant acting. She uses her celeb status to help people embrace who they are, and she isn’t afraid to take a stand against the ongoing issue of racism in Hollywood. “That’s actually what keeps me going,” she told i-D in an interview. “Representing all of the girls who aren’t being represented.”
When it comes to standing up for what you believe in, Brie Larson is no stranger. She recently joined several other celeb activists in the Women’s March on Washington, and she’s vicious in her fight for equality. Check out her Instagram for some seriously woke photos!
Sophia Bush has a seriously long history of activism. She’s relentless in her support of women on a global scale, raising awareness and funds for several events and charities. She fights for equality, the environment, reproductive rights, and so much more. She has a heart of gold, and we love how she’s truly changing the world!
You name it, Kristen Bell has probably been a champion of the fight. Whether that’s discrimination, the environment, equality, animal rights, human trafficking, senior citizens, mental health, etc. (the list seriously doesn’t stop!), Bell and her husband Dax Shepard are all about making the world a better place.
Throughout her extremely successful acting career, America Ferrera has also donated plenty of her efforts toward changing the world. She has partnered with Save the Children, an organization that is dedicated to improving the lives of disadvantaged children on a global scale, she has taken part in several documentaries to raise awareness for human trafficking, and she has been a huge proponent of intersectional feminism. God bless America, amiright?
We’re not sure where you’ve been hiding if you don’t know how crucial Emma Watson has been in the feminist movement. She made it in Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” after her efforts in the notable #HeForShe Campaign as a UN Goodwill Ambassador while simultaneously helping young girls receive proper education in third world countries.
As we’ve seen throughout the Dakota Access Pipeline protests and her subsequent arrest, Shailene Woodley is not afraid to use her voice. When she chopped off her hair for her role as Hazel in The Fault In Our Stars, she had it donated and encouraged others to do the same. She’s a huge advocate for sustainable living and even makes her own toiletries and medicines, and in addition to being an outspoken feminist, she even cofounded the nonprofit organization “All It Takes” to empower students to make real, positive change in the world!
While he might keep most of his personal life private, Jesse Williams is anything but silent on issues of social justice. He has long been active in the Black Lives Matter movement, has been a huge activist in The Advancement Project organization focused on multi-racial civil rights, and he was recently awarded BET’s Humanitarian Award for executive producing the documentary, Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement. He might be one of the best-looking fake doctors around, but it turns out he has one of the best hearts, too.
Jesse Tyler Ferguson
Jesse Tyler Ferguson is relentless in his fight for gay rights. In 2015, when the United States Supreme Court justices had not yet made a decision on ruling LGBT marriages constitutional in all states, the actor began a movement (known as SupremeSaveTheDate.com) that would allow gay, lesbian, transgender, and queer couples to send a wedding “Save The Date” to any justice of their choosing. In addition, his bow tie company Tie The Knot sends proceeds from each sale to LGBT rights initiatives and education.
Not only is he our favorite boy wizard of all time, but Daniel Radcliffe is a badass IRL, too. In 2009, he began filming PSA’s for The Trevor Project to promote awareness of gay teen suicide prevention, and he continues to devote his time and money to any efforts in regard to gay rights and equality. Radcliffe is definitely proving that it doesn’t take magic to make a real difference!
Not only is she the highest-selling South American artist of all time, but Shakira is a huge advocate for universal health and education. She created the “Pies Descalzos (Bare Feet) Foundation” to offer solutions for low-income households, in addition to supporting projects in Haiti and South Africa. Shakira is also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and in 2011, was appointed to President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.
While she might not get as much of the credit as her sister Beyoncé, Solange Knowles is known for using her music (and Twitter account!) to address social issues. While speaking about the importance of protest music and her album A Seat At The Table at Yale earlier this month, Knowles stated, “I’m resisting, I’m objecting, I’m refusing. In its most simple way, protest is a statement of objection. I think there are so many things that I fought against through this album.”
Although Katy Perry is a true advocate for total equality in every sense of the word, her fight as a celeb for the LGBT community is pretty much unparalleled. She was given the Hero Award in 2012 by The Trevor Project for her activism with LGBT youth, and we love her inability to be silenced in the fight for her beliefs!
We’ll cut straight to the point: Meryl Streep is a total boss when it comes to activism. Not only does her recent speech at the 2017 Golden Globes deserve all of the praise, but that isn’t the first time she has been at the forefront of a cause. As a self-described “man-eating feminist,” Streep has given women-empowering speeches at several notable events and is the spokeswoman for the National Women’s History Museum. Plus who could forget the time she sent all 535 members of Congress a personalized letter to convince them to resurrect the Equal Rights Amendment? Ugh. How much do we love her? Let us count the ways.
Chrissy Teigen has definitely made a name for herself in the world of celebrity activists. From her ongoing verbal and financial support of Planned Parenthood and the American Foundation for AIDS Research to multiple feminist and humanitarian efforts, she uses her platform to speak some serious truths. You’re missing out if you aren’t keeping up with her spunky, informative, and totally refreshing social media accounts!
79-year-old George Takei has had a lifetime of social activism. When he was 5 years old, his family and he were herded into a Japanese internment camp after Pearl Harbor. He has since been active in any and all humanitarian efforts. Maybe most notably has been his role in the fight for gay rights, as he and his husband spent the first eight years of their marriage hiding it from the public. Obviously his Star Trek achievements will go down in history, but we have a feeling that his vital activist efforts will follow suit!
In addition to 10 Things I Hate About You being one of our favorite movies of all time, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is definitely one of our favorite male feminists today. In 2014, he created a video titled RE: Feminism in which he discusses feminism (obviously) and people’s continued misinterpretation of the word, and he continues to be a passionate male supporter of the vital conversation surrounding the still-prevalent topic.
Not only does Don Cheadle support a countless number of big and small charities and organizations, but he was a cofounder of “Not On Our Watch,” (and co-author of a book titled the same), whose goal it is to support “global human rights.” He and other board members, including George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Brad Pitt, draw upon powerful figures in our society to develop projects and campaigns that draw awareness and provide assistance on a global scale.
Although his key television role might be playing the lovable but self-absorbed Michael in That 70’s Show, Ashton Kutcher‘s IRL personality is anything but. Since the 2008 launch of Thorn, an organization created to eliminate online sex trafficking and child exploitation founded by Kutcher and ex-wife Demi Moore, 6,000 victims have been rescued and 2,000 traffickers have been caught. He also funds 19 other charities, including GEMS, an organization that seeks to provide rehabilitation for girls and women who have survived the sex trade. As if we didn’t love this native Iowan already!
Not only is his Twitter account full of hilarious commentary on the world’s current events, Kumail Nanjiani is a prominent voice in the activism world. The comedian/podcaster/actor/writer lived in Pakistan until he was 18, but he isn’t afraid to use his American platform to do more than just entertain, and we totally give him a standing ovation for it!
Considering her most notable series (arguably of all time), is about taking down the bad guys, it’s no surprise that J.K. Rowling’s real life is about that, too. Not only did she announce to the world that Dumbledore is gay, but she also revealed that several LGBTQ students roamed Hogwarts’ halls throughout its history. She gave up her billionaire status when she donated $160 million to charity, and she even started an organization appropriately titled “Lumos” that focuses on eliminating the institutionalization of parentless children in the world. (And you thought you just loved her as an author.)
Not only has Lady Gaga been a massive voice for LGBT rights, but who could forget her performance at the 2016 Academy Awards? In a stand against sexual violence, Gaga sang an emotional rendition of “Till It Happens To You.” Halfway through the song, more than 50 survivors of sexual assault walked onto the stage with messages on their arms like “Unbreakable,” “Survivor,” and “It’s Not Your Fault.” It was extremely powerful, and the performance once again reminded the world of Lady G’s leadership both in and out of the music industry.
Lin-Manuel Miranda not only writes some of the best music we’ve ever laid our ears on, but he also can get across some insanely beautiful messages in regards to equality and unity in the world. He had us in tears after his Tony Awards acceptance speech for Best Original Score last year (just days after the mass shooting at a prominently gay nightclub in Orlando), when he reminded the world that “love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love.” And excuse us for a second, we’re going to need a tissue.
Considered to be one of the greatest athletes of all time, Serena Williams doesn’t take her title for granted. As a leader in the body positivity conversation, as well as being one of the notable voices in the Black Lives Matter movement, we love the impact she continues to make!