Moments before the famous 18 year old singer steps onto one of the biggest arenas in the country, Shawn Mendes voiced his thoughts in a fan Q&A shortly before performing at the sold out Staples Center in Los Angeles, California for his Illuminate World Tour.
A fan asked, “Do you ever see yourself using your platform to speak about injustice and engage politically like J.K. Rowling, or would you rather stay apolitical and why?”.
When asked this question, Shawn Mendes said he doesn’t have an opinion because he doesn’t know all the details. Mendes avoided this question and made it about his lack of knowledge and contributing an opinion without research would create negativity. With his platform, an opinion right or wrong will always have controversy and backlash but an attempt to be aware of today’s issues can be easily changed with a few minutes of reading or watching the news.
Mendes said he only wants to spread positivity, and he has with his NotesFromShawn campaign last year and also by showing a domestic abuse hotline at the end of his Treat You Better music video. He has made attempts to talk about important issues, as he did last year by taking to Snapchat to deny gay rumors. But what about issues such as race, religion and LGBTQ+? He only addressed these issues because they were about himself, not because he wants to make a difference in this generation. With a fan base consisting of many minority groups, it certainly would not hurt to address these issues with his platform.
Fans are excusing his behavior by saying he is only 18, but age does not excuse the fact that a priveledged white male does not want to use his platform to address today’s most important topics to make a difference. Of course, this is his choice on what to voice and what not to. But now after being ambushed with this question, let’s hope Mendes will start educating himself and will use his social media platform to make a small difference in the world.