Celebrity activism and revolution: The problem of truth and the limits of performativity
This chapter presents the case of Russell Brand in order to look at how the most fundamental antinomies of the type of celebrity activism put in tension some prevalent theoretical frameworks around the field. In November 2013, Brand gave an interview to the journalist Jeremy Paxman for the BBC show Newsnight where he advocated, among other things, a ‘revolution’ and a ‘massive redistribution of wealth’. The chapter explores how the devotion to the revolutionary cause was embodied in the ethos of anarchist and Marxist revolutionaries of the past. Brand’s identity both as a superstar of creative Britain and a revolutionary agent of anti-austerity movements displays the in-built conflicts, tensions, and discrepancies that the figure of the activist celebrity embodies. The tensions that the activist celebrity enables may renegotiate dominant regimes of understanding by offering visibility to new vocabularies around social concerns without necessarily being perceived as a reaction against available electoral politics.