Young People Talking About Celebrity

This page contains videos of young actors from the Tricycle Youth Theatre groups acting out extracts from our data and materials to support the use of these by teachers, youth workers and careers educators. In making these videos we collaborated with Emily Lim, Tricycle Young Company Director, Mattia Pagura, freelance film-maker, and the actors Calisha King, Charles Onyekwere, Elisha Odumosu, Ella Clarke, Jamie Akrah, Joe Collier, Lily Schneider, Maariyha Sharjil, Maggie Byrne, Margaux Courdier, Melika Makarizadeh, Nancy Randle, Romario Barclay, Sara Cama, Soma Najmaddin, Sonata Ibrahim, Syraat Butt, Tavish Westwood, Tiffany Varquez and Tye’Ronn Thomas.

Dialogue 1: Beyoncé, role models and drug addiction

This dialogue is taken from a group interview with 14-15 year old students in a school in Manchester in North West England. The group consisted of six pupils – three boys and three girls – five of whom feature here: Roman (male, British Asian); Orlando (female, White British); Ryez (male, White British) and Julie (female, White British). The casting doesn’t match the original group and in particular, Ryez is played by a girl.

In this extract the participants discuss a number of issues and the discussion may offer a useful resource in work with young people as a springboard for discussion.

  • In Roman’s discussion of his admiration of Beyonce for her struggles against adversity and hard work, we see how celebrities’ own biographies can provide an important resource for young people in relation to their own ideas about inequality, aspiration and success.
  • In the later discussion between pupils about celebrity drug taking, we see how talk about celebrity can be an important space for young people to share and debate their ideas about behaviour, conduct, morality and responsibility. We can also see how, rather than being obsessed with fame, young people are very sceptical of the desirability of celebrity.

This video busts the myth that Young people just want to be famous

Download the script here: Beyonce Role models and Drug addiction

Dialogue 2: Tom Daley, Bear Grylls and Masculinity

This dialogue is taken from a group interview with year 16-17 year-old students in a rural school in South West England. The group consisted of six pupils – one boy and five girls – five of whom feature here although as with the other films, the participants are played by actors who do not always match the gender or ethnicity of those they are depicting. The five participants featured in this extract were: Sammy (male, White British); and Dani, Georgia, Ellie and Harriet (all female and White British).

In this extract the participants talk about celebrities they like – including those they fancy, and those they admire. In the discussion, a fierce debate emerges between Sammy the only male participant, and the female participants, especially Dani, about whether Tom Daley or Bear Grylls are better. As researchers, we think that talk about celebrity can be an important space for young people to perform their identities. Here we can see them doing gender via their celebrity tastes and interests. It might also be argued, that through sharing their views on which celebrities they fancy, like (and have even met), celebrity talk is a site for young people to perform their friendships and even to flirt with each other.

This video busts the myth that Young people are obsessed with celebrity culture

Download the script here: Tom Daley Bear Grylls and Masculinity

Dialogue 3:Footballers’ Salaries and Celebrity Spending

This dialogue is taken from a group interview with year 10 pupils in a school in outer London. The group consisted of six pupils – three boys and three girls of mixed ethnicity– four of whom feature here although as with the other films, the participants are played by actors who do not always match the gender or ethnicity of those they are depicting. The four participants featured in this extract were: Ryan (male, White British); Homer (male, White British); Aisha (female, Black British) and Lise (female, mixed ethnicity).

In this extract the participants discuss the importance of how celebrities spend their money to how they are judged by the public. Here we see participants distance themselves from celebrities who consume excessively and ‘wasting money on themselves’ Within this, footballers are used as an example of excess and greed, and this is rendered an injustice by participants as they compare footballers’ salaries to that of soldiers. Towards the end of the discussion we also see participants discuss how the money that comes with fame can be a burden rather than a reward. As researchers, we think that this discussion is interesting because it suggests that young people are sceptical of the rewards of fame, and shows that rather than being materialistic, young people are highly critical of how people use their wealth.

This video busts the myth that Young people want to get rich quick

Download the script here: Footballers salaries and Celebrity consumption

Dialogue 4: Beliebers and #Cut4Bieber

This dialogue is taken from a group interview with 16-17 year-old students in an outer London school. The group consisted of six pupils – three boys and three girls of mixed ethnicity– all of which feature here although as with the other films, the participants are played by actors who do not always match the gender or ethnicity of those they are depicting. They are: Dr Lighty (male, mixed heritage), Taylor (Arab, female), Strawberry (female, White British), Pringles (Asian, female) and Laura (male, White British).

In this extract the participants have a lengthy and energetic discussion about celebrity fans focusing on the young female fans of Canadian singer Justin Bieber who are known as Beliebers. Discussing the Twitter trend #Cut4Bieber in which fans supposedly self harmed in a protest against Justin smoking cannabis, we see participants distance themselves from these excessive celebrity consumers who they see as irrational and hysterical. As researchers, we think that this discussion is interesting because it shows how young people see others – specifically younger girls or ‘fangirls’ – as more vulnerable to media influence, and in doing so, position themselves as critical and media savvy readers of celebrity. It illustrates a tendency within society to feel that mass media messages affect other people but not ourselves – a practice that has become known as the third-person effect.

This video busts the myth that Young people also are more vulnerable to media influence than adults

Download the script here: Beliebers and #Cut4Bieber

Dialogue 5: Is Katie Price a businessperson?

This dialogue is taken from a group interview with 16-17 year-old students in a school in outer London. The group consisted of seven young people – three boys and four girls – four of whom feature here, although as with the other films, the participants are played by actors who do not always match the gender or ethnicity of those they are depicting. They are: Ally and David (both male, White British), and Luigi and Mavie (both female, White British).

In this extract the participants have a heated discussion about Katie Price and her credentials as a businessperson. While Ally forcefully locates Katie as a bad role model and mother, and sees her modelling as not involving hard work – we see the two girls contest this in a number of ways. As researchers, we think that this is interesting because it illustrates the pattern in our data where female, black and working-class celebrities were not seen to embody the values of ‘hard work’. However, it is also interesting because it shows how these evaluations are subject to resistance among some participants.

This video busts the myth that Young people don’t value hard work

Download the script here: Is Katie Price a Businesswoman

Dialogue 6: Bill Gates, Tupac and Role Models

This dialogue is taken from a group interview with 16-17 year-old students in a school in outer London. The group consisted of eight young people – five boys and three girls of mixed ethnicities – five of whom feature here although as with the other films, the participants are played by actors who do not always match the gender or ethnicity of those they are depicting. They are: Sasha (female, Sri Lankan), Sonia (male Indian), Edward (male, Black African), Makavelli (male, Pakistani) and Snoop (male, Somali).

In this extract the participants talk about celebrity role models. Here we see the participants discuss wanting to meet a number of black American hip hop and rap artists who they admire for their talent, business skills, commitment and religious values. However, we also see Snoop describe how he was told on work experience that naming such black male celebrities as role models is wrong. As researchers, we think that this is interesting because it illustrates how only some raced and gendered people get read as aspirational or ‘good role models’. The dialogue gives the opportunity to compare what he says with the way Edward talks about his own celebrity role model, Bill Gates.

This video busts the myth that Young people have low aspirations

Download the script here: Bill Gates Tupac and Role models

Dialogue 7: Nicki Minaj: Independent or Attention Seeking?

This dialogue is taken from a group interview with 14-15 year-old students in an inner city school in Manchester. The group consisted of five young people– two boys and three girls of mixed ethnicity– four of whom feature here although as with the other films, the participants are played by actors who do not always match the gender or ethnicity of those they are depicting. The four participants featured in this extract are: Dave (male, mixed ethnicity), Jerome (male, White British), Ariel (female, North African) and Sabeen (female, British Pakistani).

In this extract the participants have an animated discussion about the Black American singer and rapper Nicki Minaj. We see how the majority of the participants position Minaj negatively as a figure of disgust and ridicule – because of her sexualised lyrics, the way she dresses and her ‘fake’ body. However, we also see one participant – Sabeen – contest this. In contrast to the dominant view of Minaj, Sabeen argues that the singer is a strong and independent woman. As researchers, we think that this discussion is interesting because it illustrates a pattern in our data where female, black and working-class celebrities tended to generate negative responses among participants which we suggest reproduces patterns of gendered, classed and racialised inequality. However it is also an interesting excerpt because it shows moments of contestation, where dominant ideas about celebrity – as well as gender, sexuality and morality – can be challenged.

This video busts the myth that There’s no value to talking to young people about celebrity in schools

Download the script here: Nicki Minaj – Independent or Attention seeking

Dialogue 8: Prince Harry and Celebrity Culture

This dialogue is taken from a group interview with 16-17 year-old students in a rural school in South West England. The group consisted of seven pupils – five boys and two girls – five of whom feature here although as with the other films, the participants are played by actors who do not always match the gender or ethnicity of those they are depicting. They are: Jo (male, White European), Kikas (male, mixed ethnicity), Britney, Paris and Sarah (all female, White British).

In this extract the participants discuss the pressures on celebrities – including Justin Bieber, Rihanna and Prince Harry – to be role models, where press intrusion and scrutiny is seen to make it impossible to live a ‘normal life’. As researchers, we think that this is interesting because it shows how forms of celebrity based on living in public are unpopular among young people.

This video busts the myth that Young people want to marry a footballer, or be a glamour model or a Reality TV star

Download the script here: Prince Harry and Celebrity culture

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