The SAG Awards on Sunday (January 29) could not be separated from the current political climate. The weekend was rife with protests around the country in response to Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban, and actors at the awards did not steer away from the conversation. Case in point: Kerry Washington, who wore a safety pin on her white Roberto Cavalli gown. She posted a photo of the safety pin itself on Instagram, with the caption reading, "I'll be wearing one of these tonight. On my arm. To show solidarity. We will not stop fighting for our safety & the safety of our fellow citizens and human beings. #NoBanNoWall #safetypin"
Since the election, safety pins have represented something of a loaded statement. You probably remember them from November. The pins first emerged as a way to show “safety” or that the people wearing them — primarily white people — were allies. The concept originated in Britain after a rash of post-Brexit hate crimes against immigrants swept the nation. In the States, they were routinely handed out at initial anti-Trump protests and for a minute after the election, they became a trend on social media.
But the backlash was pretty swift. April Reign, the founder of #OscarsSoWhite, told The Wrap that, "it really is not so much about helping marginalized communities and those who may be in distress, but instead for white people, often to identify themselves to other white people as better than those who voted for Trump.” That became a pretty commonly-held sentiment and the safety pins went away.
But somebody like Washington wearing one might embody the idea with new meaning. Who knows? Maybe safety pins will come back. But in any case, it’s admirable that she used her large platform in order to stand against the unconstitutional Muslim Ban.
The actress also spoke at the awards about using her career as a tool for activism. “A lot of people are saying right now that actors should keep our mouths shut when it comes to politics,” she said at the opening of the awards ceremony. “But the truth is, no matter what, actors are activists because we embody the humanity and worth of all people. This union helps me do that.”
(Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for TNT)
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