When you hear the name Russell Brand, you probably think of his over-the-top comedic style and eternal bad-boy image.
Though Brand is still these things, his recent political activism and outspoken advocacy against porn have made headlines. It’s safe to say he has drastically transformed his image, and we kind of love him for it.
How Russell Brand Reinvented Himself
Last December, Brand celebrated 19 years of sobriety after struggling with alcoholism and heroin addiction in his twenties. He’s incredibly open about his journey to sobriety through his biographical documentary and two memoirs.
In a personal essay for The Guardian, Brand wrote, "The mentality and behavior of drug addicts and alcoholics is wholly irrational until you understand that they are completely powerless over their addiction, and unless they have structured help, they have no hope.”
His video announcing his 19 years of sobriety went viral for its moving message. He said, "If someone as crazy and hopeless and lost as I was can become a father and a husband and a member of various communities, committed to service and change, then there is hope for all of us. I believe in recovery. I believe in you. I believe in our future."
Though he has been sober since 2002, he has had his fair share of troubles and controversies throughout his career. Many of us remember him for his brief marriage to Katy Perry and his role as the hilarious and sex-obsessed British rock star Aldous Snow in movies like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him To The Greek.
In 2015, Brand made headlines for speaking out against the porn industry. As someone who struggled with drug and sex addiction, Brand has been open about how he sees little difference between drug addiction and porn addiction. Brand isn’t shy about discussing his experience with porn addiction and how porn addiction makes it difficult for people to relate to others. He said, "Pornography is not something that I like. It's something that I have not been able to make a long-term commitment to not look at, and it has affected my ability to relate to women, to relate to myself, my own sexuality, my own spirituality."
He also said, “Our attitudes toward sex have become warped and perverted and have deviated from its true function as an expression of love and a means for procreating.” Since overcoming his addiction to porn and sex, Brand has channeled that energy into meditation and spirituality.
We all know how the porn industry exploits women, but very few celebrities are willing to have the tough conversation about how porn negatively affects viewers. We commend Brand for being brave enough to speak out against the dangers of porn and wish other celebrities would take notes.
Brand’s life has seemed to improve in nearly every aspect since he started speaking out against porn. He married former childhood sweetheart Laura Gallacher in 2017, has become a father of two children, and has switched his main focus from acting to social, cultural, and political commentary.
He’s Passionate About Speaking Up Against Tyranny
Though Brand has been involved in political activism for the majority of his career, he became dedicated to it during the Covid-19 pandemic through his YouTube channel, Instagram page, and podcast “Under The Skin.” His views are mainly on the left side of the political spectrum, but he’s open to conversation with anyone, including popular right-wing figures like Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson.
In a recent Instagram post, Brand got candid about the power the World Health Organization (WHO) and other global organizations have gained since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. Brand said, “You know what the last couple of years, let’s give more power to the WHO and unelected bodies. Oh, that’s happening? Great! Fascism in the future, we know what it will look like, Technocratic, cozy, ‘You’ll own nothing, and you’ll be happy.’ ‘We’re just helping you.’ 'We’re doing this to help you.’ Cozy, colloquial, 'Just step this way, sir.’ 'Just be quiet.’ 'Just go in your home for the benefit of everyone.’ 'I’m afraid that was misinformation.’ Look at how it’s going!”
Brand continued, “If you open your eyes wide and stay alert, you can see the shapes emerging. You can see that what they mean by shapes is control, and the way that control will be achieved is through cozy language and non-democratic decisions enacted at a global level; usurping the potential power of democratic nations, which have all become banal and uniform anyway. Look at your own democracy."
Whether you agree with Brand or not, it’s impossible to deny that international organizations have gained power over the past two years. While some may argue that this made sense when the world was enveloped by a novel virus and in crisis, this type of global organization doesn’t add up in a post-Covid world. There are 193 countries around the world with diverse cultural backgrounds and political systems, so a one-size-fits-all approach to government isn’t going to work, which is why we have countries with their own form of government in the first place. Plus it doesn’t make sense for democratic countries like the United States and the United Kingdom to abide by unelected and international officials.
Kudos to Brand for speaking out against this controversial topic. In our hyper-divisive political climate, it’s nice to see someone open-minded and honest have such a large following, and we’ve never liked Brand more.
From his transformation from a sex addict to anti-porn advocate to his recent transformation into an influential podcaster and political commentator, it’s safe to say that Russell Brand has come a long way. Though he has always been funny, we can’t help but appreciate Brand for his outspoken nature and open-mindedness. His transformation from addict to advocate is nothing short of inspiring.
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