“I personally, as a Black Iranian, do not support Trump or the administration partly because his policy changes deeply affect me and my family and some of the people I know around me,” the Black-ish star told ESSENCE at the Black Women in Music event in Hollywood Thursday on the eve of her 17th birthday.
Shahidi’s father, photographer and Prince collaborator Afshin Shahidi, was born in Iran, one of the countries listed in President Trump’s controversial travel ban. Her mother Keri is African-American.
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“I know if I’m affected, there are people who are affected ten times worse than I am,” she continued. “I’ve heard stories of Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids happening. It’s just such a scary time especially coming from the dream that was the Obama administration. Because whether you agreed with his polices or not, there was such decorum.”
But when it comes to how other public figures express their support or disdain for the newly-elected president, Shahidi opts for objectivity. Trump is historically the least popular president in four decades and celebrities who publicly support him have been lambasted on social media and beyond. The list includes R&B singer Chrisette Michele, who sang at Trump’s inauguration, as well as rapper Kanye West and comedian Steve Harvey.
Most recently, several New England Patriots players said they would not visit the White House, as is per custom after winning the Super Bowl, because Trump it too polarizing and prejudiced. “It’s a tricky area to navigate,” Shahidi commented, adding that although she supports the defecting Patriots players’ choice, she’s focusing on her actions and her actions alone in Trump’s America. “I know where I stand but I cannot guide where other people stand."
"There is an idea that as a celebrity, everything you do is a stance. Now that that is the world we live in, you have to maneuver carefully. But personally, I cannot support him.”