So, What Really Happened at the Met Gala This Year?


VOGUE Taiwan Provided by Wikimedia Commons

While Rosé from the K-Pop group Blackpink (left) was enjoying the fun at the Met Gala, people outside were protesting for change.

Stephanie A. Torres, Staff Writer

On Sept. 13, the annual Met Gala, also known as ¨The Oscars of fashion,¨ took place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. And like always, many people were excited to see their favorite A-list celebs walk down the red carpet and for the outfits. I mean, come on! This is the same event responsible for giving us Rihanna’s 2014 memeable Met Gala look — y’all remember when the internet turned bad girl RiRi into a pepperoni pizza? Or Cher’s iconic 1974 see-through dress? See, the Met Gala is pretty iconic overall.
However, this year’s Met Gala was pretty different. For example, instead of taking place in May, the Met Gala took place in September because, in May, the vaccine was still very new. And because the coronavirus is such a big deal, all the attendees were required to be fully vaccinated and wear masks.
But there was also another thing that was very different compared to the other Met Galas that isn’t being talked about enough.
So what really happened at the Met Gala? And no I don’t mean the typical “Behind the scenes of the Met Gala’’ that you see on Vogue’s Youtube channel. I mean what happened outside the Met Gala– The Black Lives Matter movement protesting the 11 billion dollars that the NYPD receives from the city. So, why isn’t this Black Lives Matter protest being covered by the media or being talked about by the celebrities who attended?
You may be wondering why I’m mentioning the theme, right? Well, it’s because this year’s theme was ‘’In America: A lexicon of fashion,’’ which was a theme to honor American fashion icons. For example, Keke Palmer paid homage to Diana Ross, and some even took a chance to get political, like U.S. Representative Alexandra Ocasio- Cortez (AOC) wearing a ‘’Tax the rich’’ dress. It’s pretty ironic how a theme dedicated to America would pay little to no interest to the protest going on outside, especially when some of these celebs who attended would post awareness about the movement.
Sadly, as I was doing research, I realized that this movement might be just another trend for a lot of these celebrities. I could only find one celebrity who spoke about the protest. A lot of the articles that did talk about the protest, which were published by Teen Vogue and The Sun, were overshadowed by articles that glamorized the Met Gala. Whenever you type in “Met Gala’’ or ‘’Met Gala 2021,’’ the only articles are about ranking the outfits or about the celebrities who attended.
In fact, when the protests were reported, the headlines were about how people are getting arrested rather than the issue they are protesting, which already puts them in bad publicity.
Indya Moore, an activist and ‘’Pose’’ actress, was the only celebrity who talked about the Black Lives Matter protest. They even went on to post on their Instagram writing how this year’s Met Gala would be their last Met Gala. They went on to write: “I entered and left feeling confused. But before that, I felt clear. Grounded. People were protesting and arrested in the name of what so many of us who attended, care deeply about. They were arrested most likely because they were perceived as a threat to those of us who were there.”
According to the Daily Mail, the protests all started on Twitter with an organization called #FireThemAll. The flyer referred to the protestors as an “autonomous group of NYC abolitionists who believe that policing does not protect and serve communities”. The flyer went on to state, “The NYPD has a total financial allocation of $11bn per year. This money goes towards racist policing that destroys Black and brown communities while people who are struggling do not get the resources they need. CARE, not COPS, is the answer.” Over 300,00 people were arrested including the leader of #FireThemAll, Ella.
As much as I tried I couldn’t find a reason the protest specifically took place at the Met Gala, but think about it. #FireThemAll protesters probably did it in front of millions of celebrities thinking that they would help them out. I don’t blame them for thinking this. It is possible that, looking back at all the BLM protests that happened last year and how involved celebrities were, the protestors may have hoped that the celebrities would join in, but none actually cared. Nor did the press.
The truth is that Hollywood does not care nor will ever. The celebrity silence shows that they only care if it benefits them. What happened to George Floyd was not only horrible but also very public, and once celebrities saw how much press his death got, they posted about it so they weren’t left out of the conversation.
See, whenever a celebrity talks about a certain movement, everyone quickly sees them as likable and treats them like a god. For example, Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes were famously seen during the Miami BLM protest last year but were also at the Met Gala this year.
What happened at this year’s Met Gala could easily be described as ‘’rich people matter and those fighting for our rights don´t .’’ And the media is also promoting the idea that people of color are not valued as highly in the media. Because think about it: once again, this was a protest about how black and brown people get killed innocently and the police money is being used to kill us POC, right?
As a person of color myself, I’m really tired of seeing how every time we fight for our rights, we get sliced. We get used as trends for celebrities to boost their social media following. We constantly have our culture taken away from us, and even in movies and tv shows we still get stereotyped.
The media is full of hypocrisy. People are always saying how much people of color’s lives matter, but when a group of rich people is walking around wearing expensive gowns while people are outside protesting for more freedom, we pay more attention to the rich ones.