Archive for the ‘Disaster Relief’ Category

In light of my recent posts, I thought it would be a good idea to focus on an area where celebrity involvement has turned out to be helpful. But first, I’ll start off with a question: have you ever heard of Livestrong?

Of course you have. Now: have you ever heard of Stillerstrong (and not this isn’t about the Pittsburgh “Stillers”)?

My guess is, probably not. But it is something you should be aware of. Its a comical take on the Livestrong foundation created by none other than Ben Stiller — but its no joke. It helps build schools in Haiti as part of the Haitian School Initiative. Recently, Stiller’s charity has partnered with Artists for Peace and Justice to continue their work in Port-Au-Prince.

 

As you can see, Stillerstrong packs quite a punch when it comes to star power. Not only does Ben Stiller support it, but so does former president and humanitarian Bill Clinton! It built its first school in Cerevrine, Haiti in 2009 and the initiative really took off in 2010 after the earthquake.

This is the kind of charity our celebrities need to be involved with — helping build schools and hospitals for those who don’t have them, have been displaced, or need them to be improved desperately. It isn’t ruining a local economy, but rather building up a future one through the youngest generation. Everyone should show their support to Stillerstrong like they did to Lance in the early 2000’s…its a great cause to get behind!

Wyclef Jean and Matt Damon have first hand experience in dealing with the effects of Hurricane Gustav on Haiti. Jean and Damon took matters into their own hands and went to Haiti to hand out food and generally do what they could to help out. Damon admits he’s seen poverty before, but never coupled with disaster. Jean continues that it is hard to describe what they experienced first hand. What he could express was the importance of the international community’s help in the matter. Together with Yéle Haiti, Damon and Jean are trying to make a difference. Yéle Haiti sponsored food, clothing, blankets and medical supplies in the areas that were hit hardest by the storm. To find out more about Damon and Jean’s excursion to Haiti, see the link below.

What do you think about  the situation? Are these celebs doing enough to help Haiti? Better yet, are they inspiring you to help?

 

Related Article:

Matt Damon and Wyclef Jean Help Haitian Flood Victims (www.huffingtonpost.com)

 

Simon Cowell’s response to Haiti’s January Earthquake crisis was very similar to Quincy Jones and Lionel Richie‘s We Are The World 25 For Haiti musical performance. With a conglomeration of hit musical sensations, Cowell released the song “Everybody Hurts” in order to raise money and awareness for Haiti in this time of need.

We Are The World 25 had many more contributing artists than Cowell’s song, so what made him think his musical contribution would stand out?

The biggest difference was that graphic images were included in “Everybody Hurts.” Cowell’s call to action included video footage of the struggles that the Haitian people are undergoing. Men, Women, Children, Elderly…everyone was captured in their weakest moment, begging for help – some with their eyes and others with their pleas. The music video goes as far as showing a woman trapped under tons of rubble. Rescuers carve out enough stone to see her face.

Celebrities take a back seat to the clips of Haiti in this performance. Some musicians are shown in tiny clips scattered throughout the piece, and others are just a voice in the background.

This video certainly pulled at my heart-strings. I cried the first time I watched it – I ached to hold those children and tell them that things would be alright, but I couldn’t because things are not alright. The earthquake was just the first blow. Now, Haiti is trapped within the cholera outbreak. These poor people cannot catch a break.

I admire Cowell’s creativity and charity in helping Haiti through the aftermath of the January earthquake. I am curious, however, as to the effectiveness of his music video. I wonder who raised more money for the cause: Jones and Richie with their abundance of celebrities or Cowell with his graphic clips of Haitian suffering? I know that it really isn’t that important who raised the most money as long as everyone does their part to help these people, but I am interested to see what truly inspires people to help. Do we help because famous people tell us to and we want to be cool just like them? Or do we help because we are human beings and we don’t want to see others suffer when there is something we can do about it?

 

This video was released February 1, 2010 as a giant effort by over 80 top musical artists to help Haiti after their dreadful earthquake. Every time I watch it I get chills. I have never seen so many celebrities work together on a single project. I remember when I first saw this video. I actually donated to this cause because I had a strong urge to contribute to a greater good that so many celebrities were passionate about. I would love to hear how this video makes you feel. Feel free to comment.

Tagged above are only the main soloists of this piece. Over sixty more very well known artists took part in the chorus of this masterpiece.

As much flak as Angelina Jolie gets, her heart seems to be in the right place. When it comes to celebrities fighting for our causes, Angie comes to the top of my mind. This UN Goodwill Ambassador is bad to the bone. Yeah – I said it. Haven’t you seen her in Tomb Raider? I’m just glad she’s seemingly using her persuasive powers for good and not evil.

The new question I’d like to consider now is this: Will throwing money at the problem really make it go away? There have to be other things we can do to help. Let me know what you think on the issue.