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Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

Setting the standard: Coldplay’s advocacy for global issues

Senior+Libby+Kamp+poses+with+Spotify+open+to+%E2%80%9CPower+of+the+People%E2%80%9D+by+Coldplay.+The+song+features+the+message+that+everyone%2C+regardless+of+race%2C+gender+or+sexuality%2C+has+the+right+to+be+themselves.+
Leila Assadi
Senior Libby Kamp poses with Spotify open to “Power of the People” by Coldplay. The song features the message that everyone, regardless of race, gender or sexuality, has the right to be themselves.

An Iranian protest anthem was recently added to the setlist of Coldplay’s latest concert, providing yet another example of the band’s efforts to cultivate global change. 

Coldplay is a British rock group that was formed in 1989 in London, England, continuing to produce music today. Throughout their career, they have released nine studio albums, six live albums, 11 compilations, four video albums, 18 extended plays and 41 singles. With dozens of awards spanning from the Grammys, MTV Music Awards, Hollywood Film Awards and more, the four member group solidified their place in music history. Most recently, the band released their “Music of the Spheres” album and embarked on the “Music of the Spheres” World Tour. 

Coldplay, with 19.5 million Instagram followers, nearly 58 million monthly listeners on Spotify and over 100 million album sales worldwide, has amassed an international, dedicated audience. Throughout the years, the band has used this platform to advocate for numerous global issues.  

During the start of their world tour in Buenos Aires, Coldplay performed an Iranian protest anthem. After its release on Sept. 28, the song, “Baraye”, became a symbol for Iran’s national uprising against its cruel theocratic government; in Iran, singing the song could lead to arrest. Exiled Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani joined Coldplay for the song’s performance—which was streamed in movie theaters in 81 countries. 

“Baraye,” meaning “for the sake of” or “because of” in Farsi, was posted on Instagram by Shervin Hajipour, though the original video has since been deleted. The lyrics, reflecting the Iranian people’s wishes for freedom, used tweets from citizens about their experiences under the tyrannical regime. Within days, the video accrued 40 million views and became Iran’s anthem for protests. Hajipour was quickly arrested by Iranian police after posting the song. 

Before singing “Baraye,” Coldplay’s lead singer Chris Martin told the audience, “We believe as a band that everyone should be able to be themselves. We fully send our love and support to all of those brave young people fighting for freedom.”

As Farahani joined Coldplay on stage to perform, the original video of Hajipour singing “Baraye” was illuminated in the background. “You may not know this song but we’ve got to give it everything because we’re going to send this with love from here to Iran,” Martin continued. 

Via an Instagram post, Farahani expressed the importance of Coldplay’s actions. “A gift from Coldplay to the people of Iran. Heroes of our world today fighting on the streets, shouting ‘Women Life Freedom’. Risking and giving their lives. Immense gratitude to Coldplay for being with us with all their heart and soul.” 

During this world tour, Coldplay has not only acknowledged the Iranian protests, but has also raised awareness about sustainability and carbon-emissions. The “Music of the Spheres” World Tour is Coldplay’s most sustainable world tour; the band has been experimenting with ways to cut carbon emissions while touring. 

Senior Cheyenne Meeks has been a fan of Coldplay for years and recognizes the significance of Coldplay using their influence to promote positive change. “Unlike most artists, Coldplay goes against the common way of performing. Though they may receive backlash from people who expect a ‘usual performance,’ Coldplay still upholds their commitment towards raising awareness about global issues. It is something not enough artists do,” she said.

Music tours have historically been bad for the environment. A study in the UK found that live concerts and performances generate 405,000 tons of greenhouse gasses annually. Recognizing the negative environmental effects of tours, Coldplay announced in 2019 they would not continue touring. 

“People look up to celebrities and take what they say into consideration because of their admiration for them,” Meeks continued. “Although most fans were not happy about them discontinuing their performances, it shows the depth of Coldplay’s commitment for advocating international issues. This helps their fans acknowledge the severity of different issues.”

In 2022, Coldplay started touring again, but with certain actions that limit carbon emissions. Kinetic dance floors use audience movement to generate energy to power their shows and electricity-generated bikes are available at every performance location. Renewable energy will be a majority of the energy used to power the entirety of the tour. 

It is not only through their actions that Coldplay cultivates change. 

Interwoven into their songs are messages of equality, freedom and individuality. 

The opening song for their 9th studio album, “Music of the Spheres”, is “People of the Pride”. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter protests and Gay Pride marches, Coldplay created a song that spreads a message of equality. “A lot of it came from the Black Lives Matter and Gay Pride marches where people using their voice to say ‘this situation is ridiculous’, so I think it’s our ‘This situation is ridiculous’ song,” Martin shared during an NME interview. “This is about human politics. This is the politics that believes that everyone on the planet has a right to be themselves.”

The message of the song is that, regardless of race, sexuality, or gender, people have the right to be themselves. 

“People of the Pride” is not the only Coldplay song that addresses global issues. Coldplay has numerous tracks that feature messages of equality, diversity and inclusion: “Trouble in Town,” “Arabesque” and “Everyday Life” to name a few. 

With the huge following that celebrities have, anything they do or say can be influential—accompanying this support is an obligation to advocate for global issues. The actions and words of celebrities have the potential to force issues into the world’s view. 

Coldplay is a band who has used their platform as a way to promote social change and awareness about global issues. Whether it be advocating for freedom in Iran, lowering greenhouse gas emissions or the right for people to freely express themselves, Coldplay has set the standard for other celebrities on how to use their platform to generate change that betters the world. 

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Leila Assadi
Leila Assadi, Lead Editor
Leila Assadi is a senior at Pleasant Valley High School and serves as the Lead Editor for the Spartan Shield. Throughout her four years of high school, Leila has participated in numerous extracurricular and academic activities, including National Honors Society, All-Academic sports teams, and a rigorous class schedule. Her favorite classes include AP Language and Composition, Humanities, and AP Spanish. Outside of the classroom, Leila immerses herself in school activities. She is an executive member of Spartan Assembly, a member of Ethics Bowl who competed at the national level at UNC in 2022, President of A Positive Place, Co-President of Environmental Club, Vice President of Students for Political Action and a member of Girls Learn International. Along with her clubs, Leila is a varsity soccer player, varsity bowler, and four year choir member. Hanging out with friends, listening to music, attending concerts, and thrifting occupy Leila’s free time. Leila enjoys writing and looks forward to working on the Spartan Shield this year. 

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Setting the standard: Coldplay’s advocacy for global issues