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Trend Alert: Celebrities “help” Africans

August 14th, 2006 Posted in Charity, Events, Film/Television, Politics

Lindsey Lohan at One.org event with African childrenA couple of posts ago I commented on Gwyneth Paltrow’s recent ad for the Keep a Child Alive organization. Though there was a lot of talk going around about the sincereity of the ad and even some good parodies, it seems the New York Times, in true hype fashion, has taken the ball and run with it. This weekend the Times ran an article titled “Into Africa” speculating on the trendy-ness of Americans’ – celebrity and otherwise – interest in Africa. The article was a dis-jointed analysis of why “saving” Africa is suddenly a new trend. While I feel the interest in the continent can be a good thing, I know that this particular type of interest can only hurt efforts to change the continent’s problems. Yet again, those who have a warped sense of self and belonging, have turned to the poor Africans to validate their existence. Lindsey Lohan? Madonna? Alyssa Milano? Give me a break!!! When issues relating to Africa are sensationalized without follow-up or perspective, the result can cause more harm than good. Africa has a lot of problems but none of these “celebrities” are able to put it in the perspective it needs. What’s the sense in installing an irrigation system in Ethiopia on your summer break if there’s no one to maintain it when you leave for your freshman year at Harvard? I’m not against celebrities lending their voice where needed, but anyone who will develop an interest in “helping” Africa because Lindsey Lohan says so is only going to make things worse. Africa may need a lot of things, but random acts of blindness is not one of them.

  • http://rweba.livejournal.com/ Mugizi Rwebangira

    “Africa may need a lot of things, but random acts of blindness is not one of them. ”

    Ha!

    Excellent analysis.

  • http://www.monstersandcritics.com/people/Eric-Schiffer/pictures/ Eric Schiffer

    I agree. Helping should not be a one-time thing. Or a publicity stunt. It should be a lifelong passion.

    Bravo on the article. Thanks for sharing. Hopefully, celebrities can read this stuff.

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