Opinion

Opinion: Joy Villa’s Grammy’s Dress was a patriotic display of courage

Written by Dylanni Smith

Television awards shows are a prime place for celebrities to make their political opinions known. Who could forget Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes acceptance speech in January, which she used as a chance to express her distaste for Donald Trump by bringing up issues such as his controversial mocking of a disabled New York Times reporter back in 2015?

Since awards shows have become a place for celebrities to bash our president, I have happily not participated in watching them. However, Sunday night’s Grammy Awards brought a huge surprise for me and many others.

Recording artist Joy Villa arrived to the red carpet wearing a stunning white dress. She appeared innocent and pure in the garment. Villa removed the white cloak and revealed what will probably be known as the most controversial dress ever to be worn to an awards show: a “Make America Great Again” dress.

Of course, with Trump’s favorability averaging around 42 percent according to RealClearPolitics, Twitter was filled with negative comments from people opposed to Trump about Villa’s political display. Some posts even escalated to death threats.

I applaud Joy Villa for her courage to stand up for what she believes in. It takes some serious bravery to pull a stunt like this, especially at an award show watched by millions around the globe.

In a statement, she explained that her support for the new president is unwavering.

“I am 100 percent a Trump supporter…I stand behind our President because that’s the American thing to do,” Villa said in an interview with Fox News.

The dress was designed by Andre Soriano, an immigrant from the Philippines. Soriano explains in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter the dress was meant to express unity among Americans in this time of divisiveness.

We need to move this country forward, and we believe it’s time to promote love. We only live once, and we need to promote love. We have one president now who is going to do the best thing for planet America,” Soriano said.

Villa was not the only one to get political on the red carpet. Johnny Stevens, lead vocalist for the band Highly Suspect, wore a jacket with the word “impeach” printed along the upper back. The artist posed for photos turned around, while his band mates Rich and Ryan Meyer pointed to the word. Clearly this was an anti-Trump message, and it was meant to be noticed.

I do not have a problem with the band expressing its views. We live in a free country, and regardless of whether I agree with the message, I respect the band’s right to express it publicly. However, what I do have a problem with is people’s reactions to Stevens’ demonstration versus Villa’s. The band received no hard-hitting backlash from other celebrities or the media for the jacket. So why is Stevens’ action treated as a simple act of patriotism and free speech while Villa’s dress received poor treatment and death threats?

The left, especially liberal media and celebrities, only deem opinions to be valuable or free if the opinions in question match their own opinions.

For example, according to Hollywood Gossip, Caitlyn Jenner was shunned by her own family back in January for openly supporting Trump. From what I have researched, I haven’t read of any celebrity Trump supporters shunning their families due to political differences.

I’m not saying all conservatives in the world are angels while all liberals shun everyone who disagrees. However, as far as Hollywood is concerned, it seems to be a trend.

People like Villa are strong enough to take a stance against Hollywood’s widely-held liberalism. She and others like her, including Omarosa Manigault and Holly Holm — both avid Trump supporters — are breaking the stereotypes that have been used to identify supporters of the president during and after his campaign.

It has been a long held stereotype since the election began that Trump doesn’t like minorities and immigrants. This idea has only increased in popularity with the controversy surrounding Trump’s recent immigration executive order. With this perception, it is understandable that many minorities and immigrants would feel distaste toward Trump and would be unwilling to accept him. If Soriano, a Filipino immigrant, and Villa, a female African American, can unify under Trump, then anyone can. They show that with a positive, unifying attitude, we can all work with our new president to better our country for all Americans.

Joy Villa’s amazing presentation at the Grammy’s is one I will remember forever. She is proof that if we all accept the president, we can make a real change. I hope I have the guts to do something like that one day.

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Dylanni Smith

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