Growing up as a star on the Disney Channel, Selena Gomez learned to stay quiet on controversial issues. The now 28-year-old singer, actress and cosmetics mogul has taken a different approach.
She’s been vocal in her criticism of the role social media platforms played in spreading disinformation in this month’s attack on the U.S. Capitol and throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Gomez explained her thinking Friday on Apple Music, when host Zane Lowe asked her how she found the courage to speak out, when it would be easier to stay silent.
“But do you see, Zane, I did that for like 10 years, you know,” Gomez said. “It’s not time for it anymore. Like, I don’t care. Not in a careless way where I just want to hurt people’s feelings. It genuinely happened because it needed to.”
Gomez must have felt pressured to keep her opinions to herself, because of the sheer number of her fans. She’s been in the public eye for most of her life. She famously appeared on the children’s show Barney (alongside friend Demi Lovato) when she was just 7, before finding success with Disney and then more grown up fare, such as starring in Spring Breakers, executive-producing Netflix drama 13 Reasons Why and hosting cooking series Selena + Chef on HBO Max.
Her most recent comments about holding social media leaders responsible for the state of the country came after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. In the days since the violence, Zuckerberg’s Facebook and other platforms have banned the outgoing president, at least until he leaves office.
“I think that I started with reaching out to people immediately, like directly. I wasn’t afraid to call out a Mark Zuckerberg or speak what I wanted to speak, because I could not handle what I was seeing,” Gomez said. “And it’s, like, already we’re getting progress.”
Scientific disinformation has and will cost lives. @Facebook said they don’t allow lies about COVID and vaccines to be spread on their platforms. So how come all of this is still happening? Facebook is going to be responsible for thousands of deaths if they don’t take action now! https://t.co/IAtDpNT5Tt
— Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) December 30, 2020
“For me,” Gomez said, “I can’t stand the fact that people have to know that there are neo-Nazi groups online and that there [are] hate groups online and misinformation from U.S. voting to… the COVID virus. They’re not allowed to do that. This is supposed to be a place where people share, you know, their life. Not to create hate and to hurt people.”
Gomez remarked that she can “get pretty heated” over the subject.
“I just think that it’s necessary to call the people out who are responsible but, at the same time, being able to do what I can,” she said.
The singer also talked about “De Una Vez,” her new Spanish-language track, and her second following “Un Ano Sin Lluvia” in 2010.
“This has been something I’ve wanted to do for 10 years — working on a Spanish project,” said Gomez, whose father is Mexican, “because I’m so, so proud of my heritage.”
She said it’s being released at the perfect time.
“Just with all the division in the world,” explained Gomez, whose named after late Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla. “There’s something about Latin music that, globally, just makes people feel things, ya know?”
When Lowe asked her what it was like to sing in Spanish, Gomez told him that it was challenging. She said in February 2018 that she wasn’t fluent in the language, although she wanted to be.
“You know what’s funny is I actually think I sing better in Spanish. That was something I discovered,” Gomez said. “It was a lot of work and look, you cannot mispronounce anything. It is something that needed to be precise and needed to be respected by the audience I am going to release this for. Of course, I want everyone to enjoy the music, but I am targeting my fanbase. I’m targeting my heritage, and I couldn’t be more excited.”
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