Author Archive

Look To The Stars

Posted: December 10, 2010 by tubridysean in Celebrity, Charity
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Hey guys, are you curious to find out what charities and organizations your favorite celebrity is a part of?  This great site, looktothestars.org is a very useful resource.  The site is about celebrities giving back to the world at both national and international levels.  The site has news, videos, interviews, and is very involved in social media, especially Twitter.  This site was very useful in our gathering of information for this blog and served as a great starting place for a lot of our research.

The site contains thousand of celebrity brief biographies and lists of the charities they are involved with or have been involved with at some time.  Interestingly enough, the site also provides a cloud of celebrities who are involved in the same charities.  The more charities the celebrities have in common, the bigger and bolder the other celebrity’s name will be in the cloud.

This site will be useful for people looking to get involved in charities in any way.  People can visit this website and find motivation and charity ideas from their favorite or most respected celebrities.

So what are you waiting for? Check out LookToTheStars now!

A poem by Sean

Posted: December 8, 2010 by tubridysean in Celebrity, Charity, Donations, Poverty
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I wrote a poem. If I had more time, it would flow better and would be more mature.  But I think it does the trick.  Let me know what you think!

 

Philanthropist or Narcissist

A celebrity appears on a PSA,

Is it an earnest appeal or just a way to say

That they care about the world issues?

A fake smile and a box of tissues

Draw attention to the starving poor

But is this a good thing? I’m still unsure.

Bono, Oprah, Pitt, and Jolie

Give their heart, soul, and money

To help out the less fortunate

And work to make a world aid conglomerate.

 

In a society focused on reputation,

It’s hard to tell who shows true dedication.

Celebrities strive to associate their faces

With orgs and charities in all the right places.

That will make them look the best in the public’s eye.

Their actions are deceiving and sly.

A celebrity is not an expert on world news,

Just a rich person with biased views.

Don’t believe everything you hear

From a pretty face and a voice so clear.

 

Personally I find this involvement to be superficial

These people act like a world health official.

They are told what to say to the media,

So do your own research on Wikipedia.

Of course, these countries benefit from the philanthropists,

But it’s sad to see these celebrity self-serving narcissists.

Christina Aguilera: World Hunger Relief spokesperson

Christina Aguilera, a five-time Grammy Award winner, is using her celebrity status to raise awareness about world hunger.  After being announced as spokesperson for World Hunger Relief, Christina Aguilera released several PSA’s sponsored by Yum! Brands Foundation (includes Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC).  The public service announcements urged Americans to donate $5 to the World Food Programme, the largest humanitarian agency to fight hunger worldwide.  However, the donations are done using technology.  Americans can send a text message saying “FRIENDS” to number 90999 or donate online at FromHungerToHope.com. The text message donation was popularized during the Haiti earthquakes.  In the past people would have to send money in the mail or call a number to donate.  Now, it is as easy as sending a text message.

The public service announcements includes Christina Aguilera playing an impromptu concert in front of a group of people.  Then a young girl walks over to the guitar case and donates money.  This commercial attempts to use social cognitive theory in order to get people to donate.  People will view the commercial and see a young girl give all the money she has to fight hunger.  Then they will think “If a young girl donates, then why shouldn’t I.”  I think it is a very effective commercial.

Ambassador for World Hunger Relief Christina Aguilera in Haiti

I think it is very good that somebody who has such a universal appeal as Christina Aguilera is the face of a good cause like World Hunger Relief.  I give her credit for actually visiting the starving children.  She works not only as a spokesperson, but also an ambassador.  It is kind of sad that people will be more likely to save a starving child if thereis a celebrity face endorsing the cause.  Amanda recently posted about Alicia Keys’ brilliant idea to boycott social media to raise money.  It is a sad state the world is in when people will donate money just to so their favorite celebrity will return to Twitter.

Christina Aguilera actually went to the highschool in the neighboring school district to my highschool.  It makes me proud that a girl from the suburbs of Pittsburgh can become so successful artistically and use her fame to help starving children go From Hunger To Hope.

Celanthropy

Posted: November 28, 2010 by tubridysean in Charity
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“Celanthropy” is a term used to describe celebrities who use media to promote the causes they are fighting for and to draw attention to the fact that they are donating.  The main criticism of celanthropists is that they are uninformed about the problems they are fighting against and offer superficial, simplistic solutions.  Likewise, people who listen to celebrity philanthropists and give to their causes are accused of being “star-struck” because the only reason they know or care about an issue is because a certain celebrity said to do so.

From the research our group has done, I would have to agree with this criticism for the most part.   I feel that most of the celebrities, when questioned, really would not know what is going on in Africa or other countries where they are donating.  While it is good that these celebrities are giving aid to others who are less fortunate, I think people would be more likely to listen to them if the celebrities were actually well-informed about the problems and issues that they are speaking about in commercials and on YouTube.

As for people who donate to celebrities’ charities, I would not jump to the conclusion to call them “star-struck”.  Many of the charities and organizations that provide aid to foreign countries I would not know about if it wasn’t for celebrities speaking about them.  While the commercials do get annoying, they also work to increase the reach of the charity.

With the help of new media, celanthropy will continue to gain momentum.  As the reach of information about charities increases, the legitimacy of celebrity charities and philanthropy will also increase.  Celanthropy is just beginning to become a trend thanks to forerunners Angelina Jolie, Bono, and Oprah.

 

In a 2007 Washington Post article entitled “Stop Trying to ‘Save’ Africa” Nigerian born Uzodinma Iweala writes about his frustration with the way African aid is handled in the media.  Celebrities receive global praise and attention for their contributions to Africa, when actually it is the hundreds of volunteers dedicating their lives to helping displaced Africans survive.  The sad thing is that only the big-name, high-profile celebrities such as Oprah, Bono, and Angelina Jolie get the attention.  African born celebrities such as NBA star Dikembe Mutombo hardly ever receive press for their humanitarian work.  People like Dikembe Mutombo have a vested interest in helping Africa.  He does not start foundations to improve living conditions in Congo and donate $15 million to a hospital in the Congo named after his mother in order to improve his image, he does it because he feels it is the right thing to do–to give back some of the money he made in order to help those who are not as fortunate as he is.

If David Bowie is African, then I'm the Queen of England!

That’s not to say that Angelina Jolie’s humanitarian work and Bono’s countless humanitarian efforts are any less important or substantial.  Every bit of aid, not matter the intention, is appreciated.  It is, however, saddening  and in Mr. Iweala’s case maddening, to see the way the media presents aid to Africa.  The most frustrating was a series a print ads that pictured (usually) a white celebrity with tribal paint on his/her face with a tagline underneath the picture that says “I Am African.” This is a little bit ridiculous and almost mean.  Yet, according to Mr. Iweala, it is just one of the many ways that Western culeture is trying to assert itself as culturally superior to Africa.  “[A]fricans, real people though we may be, are used as props in the West’s fantasy of itself,” Mr. Iweala writes.  This is a striking thought to ponder. I think that we Americans do use aid to Africa and other foreign trouble nations as a means of convincing ourselves that we are humanitarians.

Personally, I feel that too often, celebrities provide aid to Africa and then run around to everyone saying, “Hey everybody, look what I did!”  These people are not the true philanthropists.  Anybody with a well-known name can stand in front of a video camera and tell people about the starving, emaciated children in Africa.  Any celebrity can sign onto a charity and give 1% of their multi-million dollar salary to the cause.  I admire those such as Bono, Angelina Jolie, and Dikembe Mutombo, and others who actually go to the villages and refugee camps in Africa and give their time to make a personal connection to these people.  Aid is aid, not matter what the intention is. I believe that Angelina Jolie isn’t only spending time with African people and even adopting African babies for attention; I think she honestly and truly cares about the future of the continent and its people.  However, the media brings so much attention and publicity to humanitarian aid, that it seems as though Ms. Jolie is only during humanitarian work as a publicity stunt.  The newspapers follow Ms. Jolie throughout Africa, documenting her travels and humanitarian aid, often including pictures with her surrounded by dirty, starving children.

I give all the people who donate their lives to helping others in need, especially in Africa, a lot of credit.  That is something I could never do.  Most of the people Angelina Jolie is visiting have never seen her movies and most likely have never even heard of her.  To them, she is probably just another volunteer.  The hundreds of thousands of people who dedicate parts of their lives or their whole lives to aid in Africa should be given some much deserved respect.  Instead, the media only focuses on celebrities who donate any bit of money to a charity.

Africa and the African people will appreciate any cent of money and any second of time given as aid, however, the media portrayal of these humanitarian acts needs to change.

Sources:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/13/AR2007071301714.html

Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own

Posted: November 2, 2010 by tubridysean in AIDs
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Bono is most famous for being the frontman of one of the most successful bands of all time, U2.  However, he does not let this mega-fame go to his head.  Bono is one of the most philanthropic celebrities alive today, founding DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa), EDUN, ONE Campaign, and Product Red.  Bono also uses his music and his relationship with other musicians to affect the world.  Bono was one of the organizers of Live 8 and even performed at it.  For his humanitarian work to end poverty and hunger, Bono was granted knighthood on March 29, 2007.  In addition to being knighted, Bono has also been nomintaed for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, 2005, and 2006.

Bono talks about Make Poverty History and what brought him to be a philanthropist:

In spite of Bono’s generosity, some people still criticize him and his efforts to end poverty and hunger.  For example, activist Paul Theroux called Bono’s work a “grand orgy of narcissistic philanthropy.”  I think Mr. Theroux needs to understand that Bono is bringing money and attention to the needs of the African people.  I don’t think it matters if Bono is being philanthropic only to improve his image.  He is using his time and money to help improve the lives of others, how can you denounce that?

Bono is an extreme example of the lengths artists and celebrities should go to in order to give back to the world.  Bono is a deeply religious man who touches lives not only through his music but also through his philanthropy throughout the word and particularly in Africa.

One — U2 (Live at Live8):