These are uncertain times, and nobody has the answers for how to best handle the coronavirus pandemic — except for the artist Mimi Zhu and Britney Spears. Earlier this week, Spears shared a quote and image from Zhu via Refinery29's Instagram that was a graphic of suggestions for how to rebuild during this time of isolation. It emphasised community and communication, but also wealth distribution. Spears is basically a socialist icon now.
The pandemic has had effects well beyond just medical: It's forced small businesses to close, restaurants to lay off staff, and many Americans to consider a rent strike as a result of this lost income. Zhu's piece mentions the importance of community connection, especially digital connection, but particularly stresses the power of collective action.
"We will feed each other, re-distribute wealth, strike," the graphic reads.
Spears was likely endorsing the larger message of the art, and may not realise she is now standing in solidarity with those calling for the takedown of capitalism — but it's comforting to think she does.
As a celebrity, Spears is a member of an elite class of Americans who are largely unaffected by this total shutdown. She presumably has enough money to live off of for some time without working. That's what makes her stance surprising and ultimately important.
"There were definitely socialist undertones, because in general that is what I do believe in," Zhu told Paper in an interview about Spears sharing the image. "I really just wanted to write out a message of connection and tenderness during this really chaotic time. And the fact that Britney Spears — somebody whose position and path in life is so different to mine, and yet I have connected to her as a child — I thought that was a really interesting connection between the two of us, the fact that she resonated with something I wrote, while in my childhood I resonated with some things she has done."
If it does come time to mass strike, at least we know which celebrity will be leading the charge. This gives a whole new meaning to "Work Bitch."
COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic. Go to the NHS website for the latest information on symptoms, prevention, and other resources.
The World Health Organisation says you can protect yourself by washing your hands, covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing (ideally with a tissue), avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and don't get too close to people who are coughing, sneezing or with a fever.