Joe Biden’s administration has relied heavily on celebrity power in their push to promote vaccines to the country, but considering they already missed their July 4 deadline of 70% of US adults having at least one jab and health officials are continuously bemoaning lagging vaccination numbers, perhaps it’s time to consider changing course.
Benny Drama (born Benito Skinner) is the latest young celebrity to get the call for help from the White House. A regular on TikTok and Instagram – where he sports more than one million followers – Drama deployed one of the many characters he does for his videos and strolled around the White House, even at one point speaking to Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
Portraying ‘Kooper the Gen Z intern’, Drama starts the video on the phone outside the White House, saying, “Democracy’s calling. Bye, daddy.” Kooper’s day as an intern then consists of posing around the White House, booking Psaki a nail appointment to show “initiative,” and then briefly talking about getting every American vaccinated against Covid-19.
If Psaki or anyone else tells the public that this and any of these other celebrity-centric videos are meant to promote vaccinations, they are lying. Benny Drama and Olivia Rodrigo are giddy with excitement over the prospect of using their influence to assist the White House. They support Biden, and their names are easily accessible for many who likely cast their ballots for Democrats.
Democrats, however, are not who needs to be vaccinated. From what surveys have shown, they have been the quickest to get themselves jabbed.
So who are these videos for? Who could possibly get excited about a bizarre one minute video of the one and only Benny Drama in the White House doing comedy bits with Psaki? There is no useful information, no addressing of widespread concerns, no effort to truly convince someone that getting vaccinated is the right personal choice. The Drama video is just validation porn for those in the White House who feel the need for some attention and celebration, and those watching who want a nice pat on the back and the affirmation that they do, in fact, belong to the right political tribe.
The worst part about this whole ‘vaccine promotion’ effort is not its actual failure, but the fact that any effort is being put into them at all. Is the world really so hunky-dory that White House officials have nothing better to do than pal around with social media influencers and make cameo appearances in soon-to-be-forgotten cringe content?
If the White House truly wanted to promote vaccines, they wouldn’t be throwing a lifeline to some TikTok star, hoping they are the answer to solving a pandemic for an entire country. They would drop the blame game and switch strategies from shaming to informing and inviting debate, rather than dismissing any criticisms and concerns as “misinformation.”
If videos of Benny Drama wandering aimlessly around the White House and cracking what appear meant to be jokes are what this administration thinks will convince Americans to get vaccinated, then they might as well give up. Doing nothing would likely convince far more people still hesitant to actually get inoculated, as opposed to another Benny Drama pitch.
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