Putting celebrities on a pedestal for the wrong reasons

Khadija Saifullah

Earlier this week, Kanye West claimed he was in debt and tweeted at Mark Zuckerberg asking for $1 billion to invest in his “ideas,” sounding like a student asking for the answers to the homework five minutes before it’s due. A day later, a GoFundMe page was started to help him pay off his debt.

Aside from his typically audacious Kanye move to reach out to the founder of Facebook on Twitter, the famous rapper’s not-so-savvy financial sense serves an example of the wrong way for celebrities to use their money. Although many idolize him for his artistic work, more often than not, this reverence wrongly extends to his unwise decisions. Kanye, like numerous other celebrities, may be a creative genius, but the goals of his financial spending are misplaced.

After witnessing West’s rant of tweets on Monday night, which all claimed he does not have enough resources to create to his fullest potential, I doubt he has thought about the millions of less fortunate people around the world. More than half of the world’s population is struggling to afford the basic necessities of life, yet he continues his high standard of living and complains about his debt.

After asking for financial help, he tweeted a flowchart of his aspiring communications company to show exactly where that money would go. His ideas for his organization proved to be as ambitious as they are nonsensical, calling for investments in trivial things such as a 7-screen movie experience. Maybe, more money does lead to more problems than we would have previously thought.

I believe that once we are empowered to financially support ourselves and work the jobs we have been trained for, it’s more important to remember that your real job is to free somebody else of their difficulties. If you have power, then your job is to empower somebody else. Life is not just a self-indulgent game.
West’s tweets are ludicrous because he easily overlooks the potential that $1 billion would have if they were spent to invest in ideas that would benefit a larger scale of people rather than just himself.

It is possible to be famous, have a high net worth and still allocate time and money to the benefit of others. Take the example of Mark Zuckerberg, who pledged to donate 99 percent of his Facebook shares “to help improve the world for the next generation.”

The University’s very own Michael Dell, who established a foundation that focuses on underprivileged children’s health and education, is an example of the type of public figure we ought to look up to.

We love celebrities, because they are an integral part of our culture as Americans. They have achieved the “American Dream.” However, when they make incredulously wrong decisions, sometimes we continue to revere them more than they deserve. In the end, what matters is what you did to make the world a better place, not investing money in a 7-screen television experience that will make you question your life decisions.

Saifullah is a nueroscience sophomore from Richardson. She is a senior columnist. Follow her on Twitter @coolstorysunao.