British film star Alan Rickman narrated a charity video relating to the aid of refugees shortly before his cancer-related death on Jan. 14.

The 30-second video was created in collaboration with nonprofit OneClickGiving and features a tortoise eating a strawberry.

Throughout the video, Rickman explained that by watching and sharing, viewers have an opportunity to make a difference.

“The more viewers the video gets, the more advertising revenue YouTube will give us,” he said within the voiceover. “All you need to do is watch and share.”

The video, titled “This Tortoise Could Save a Life,” has received well over three million views on YouTube since it was uploaded, with the money raised from each view going to the Refugee Council and Save the Children charities.

Save the Children works worldwide to improve the lives of child refugees through aid and support, and the Refugee Council works to help refugees seek safety and rebuild their lives within the United Kingdom.

“It is an innovative project for an extremely important cause,” OneClickCharity founder Oliver Phillips said in a press release. “Our charities are two of the most effective at helping refugees, who desperately need your support.”

The refugee crisis has become a growing global concern as the number of displaced individuals worldwide continues to grow. According to the UN Refugee Agency, there were 19.5 million refugees worldwide at the end of 2014. That’s 2.9 million more than in 2013. Just over half of those refugees, or 51 percent, were under 18 years old, the highest amount of child refugees in more than a decade.

Phillips recently told the BBC that the charity believes it was one of the last recordings the late actor made.

“I’m so grateful that with all this going on he still agreed to give us his time, it’s really amazing,” he said. “It would not have been the same without him. All the views we’ve got are accountable to him.”

Alan Rickman, best known for his roles in Harry Potter and Die Hard, worked with a variety of charities throughout his lifetime. According to BBC Radio, the well-known actor was the president of the International Performer’s Aid Trust, which focuses on poverty alleviation throughout the world’s toughest conditions.

The link to the YouTube video is as follows, titled This Tortoise Could Save a Life — Ft. Alan Rickman:

Lauren Lewis

Sources: Youtube, TFN, Look to the Stars, Arts.Mic, Mashable, ABC, BBC, Save the Children, Refugee Council, BBC Radio, One Click Giving
Photo: Flickr

H&M is known for providing fashionable and affordable styles for men, women and children. However, the Swedish clothing store chain also does its part to promote sustainability across the world. That’s right – H&M knows how to make fashion sustainable.

A proud partner of the Global Poverty Project, H&M is dedicated to supporting the mission to end extreme global poverty and building sustainable lives for people around the world.

By default, H&M is also in a partnership with Global Citizen, the online platform for the Global Poverty Project that provides crucial information about ongoing problems in the world and actions global citizens can take to eliminate them.

Most recently, H&M and Global Citizen have launched an exclusive t-shirt line to promote the Global Citizen Festival this fall. Musicians Coldplay and Ed Sheeran also contributed to the designs to show their support for the fight against global poverty. Coldplay and Sheeran will also perform at the Global Citizen Festival on September 26th.

Each shirt has a design unique to the musician and is made entirely of sustainable materials. At $9.95, the shirts are on sale at all H&M locations in the U.S. and 25 percent of the proceeds go to Global Citizen.

Furthermore, H&M encourages customers to donate gently used clothing to be recycled. Donation stations are located in every H&M store nationwide until Sept. 17, in a box that advertises the Festival.

Tickets for the Festival are free of monetary charge. Instead, guests must earn their tickets by taking actions against poverty. For every customer that purchases a t-shirt or donates clothing, H&M will provide them with the opportunity to earn free tickets.

Sheeran expressed his excitement to work alongside H&M and Global Citizen to create a shirt that fights back against poverty, uniting people to take meaningful action. T-shirts and fashion are no longer all about style; fashion is now also about taking sustainable steps towards a positive future.

Sarah Sheppard

Sources: PR News Wire, Global Citizen 1, Global Citizen 2
Photo: Google Images

The childhood hunger epidemic is so severe in Liberia that one child dies of malnourishment every 12 seconds. When Todd Grinnell, Ryan Devlin and Ravi Patel visited Liberia, they were heartbroken by the poverty they encountered. Upon their return, they knew they had to take action. They created a healthy, nutritious fruit and nut bar with the “buy one, give one” mentality that has successfully provided other goods to the unfortunate across the globe.

With the purchase of this new snack, a nutritional bar by the name of “This Bar Saves Lives,” a child in need receives an identical food bar, jam-packed with all of the nutrients required to nurse them back to health. “This Bar Saves Lives” has attracted the attention of A-list celebrities like Kristen Bell. The celebrity endorsement and subsequent promotional video released by Bell has attracted mainstream attention to not only the product but also the horrible reality that is child hunger and malnutrition.

Bell is the latest investor and endorsement the company has received this year. Since its founding, Grinnell, Devlin and Patel have made a variety of appearances at highly publicized events to promote the bar, Comic-Con being one of them. They have also partnered with several companies such as Edesia Global Nutrition Solutions, Whole Foods Market, GOOD Inc., Mending Kids International, Kashi Company, The Strongheart Group and Kiss My Face.

Since 2013, 528,940 packets of bars have been sent to children in need. The co-founders of “This Bar Saves Lives” hope that by the end of this year, the company will sell one million bars, giving the helpless around the world another chance at life and nutrition.

Alysha Biemolt

Sources: Look to the Stars, This Bar Saves Lives 1, This Bar Saves Lives 2, This Bar Saves Lives 3
Photo: CNN

For years entertainers have adopted a precious role in ridding away difficulties posed against those of the developing world. With such charitable responsibility, ten Latina powerhouses from an assortment of entertaining realms have quintessentially supported strategies that give back to many, albeit by endorsement or establishment of a personal foundation.

1) Cuban musician Gloria Estefan has been sincerely active in providing global health, especially helping those who suffer from paralysis-related illnesses. A paralysis-sufferer herself, the “Conga” songstress founded The Gloria Estefan Foundation in 1997 as a means to empower”the youth by financial support for good health, cultural development and education.

2) Mexican singer Thalía, known in American music markets for her Fat Joe-assisted “I Want You,” has been a charitable key in giving back to underprivileged women and children from Latin American countries. Her more familiar feat comes from participation as a spokeswoman and ambassador for global campaign March of Dimes, an initiative that educates and funds the developing Latin American world of hazardous premature births,

3) Puerto Rican-Cape Verdean hip-hop icon Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes not only served as a member of R&B trio TLC but has additionally held philanthropic ties with organizations alleviating AIDS, alongside giving back to international ones concerned with poverty. Lopes’ most profound advocate roles derived from her donative unit Lisa Lopes Foundation, an organization that provides shelter and necessities to developing Honduran sites.

4) Puerto Rican actress and choreographer Rosie Perez is undoubtedly synonymous with addressing health awareness statements, especially in concern to the discussion of HIV/AIDS. Expanding herself from an inner-city educator to a global spokesperson, the “In Loving Color” choreographer has been massively active in endorsing AIDS-related fundraisers and providing global education of the sexual disease by support of her role in the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), as appointed by President Barack Obama.

5) Honduran entertainer America Ferrera, best known for her televised title role as “Ugly Betty,” first explored her philanthropic skills when she participated with Aquafresh White Trays to provide immediate dental care to women in need. Since her “fresh mouth” spot, Ferrera has worked in conjunction with fellow celebrities in combating AIDS and cancer, and has more notably collaborated with programs like international “Save the Children” and Hispanic Heritage Foundation-associated “READ: Refugee Enrichment and Development” to enhance education for the impoverished; the former notably raising funds to build schools in Mali.

6) Mexican film starlet Salma Hayek has provided a passionate take on helping battered women of all ages around the world. Among her most high-profiled recognitions include her $75,000 donation to Mexican-operated charity units that minimize domestic hardships in northeastern regions of Mexico. Hayek has more notably co-founded CHIME for a Change and its Syrian-based initiative to improve lives like those hailing from the Middle East who have been displaced by brutal conflict.

7) Greatly known for her filming roles as Gail in “Sin City” and Chelsea Brown in the recent “Top Five,” Puerto Rican-Cuban actress Rosario Dawson has taken part in programs that enrich African lives for a socially- and domestically-healthy cause. From attending a 2005 United Nations conference to promote environmental preservation as a poverty eliminator, the “Men in Black II” co-star has been a frequent advocate for the global “V-Day campaign,” a movement that stops violence against women; moreover, Dawnson has launched several initiatives that embrace native Africans who specialize in fashion or design.

8) Renowned Mexican singer and former X-Factor judge Paulina Rubio has led a moderate philanthropic trail in shielding Latinos from sexual diseases like HIV/AIDS. Appointed as the then-newest “Madrina” for the Latino Commission on AIDS in 2007, the “Boys Will Be Boys” musician remains a vast component in initiating safe sex campaigns geared towards a Latino audience, not only from the Latino Commission, but also for accompanying international nonprofits like the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

9) Pop culturally known for her sexual-liberating role as Gabrielle of “Desperate Housewives,” Mexican starlet Eva Longoria has been regarded as among the top philanthropists, particularly for her vast achievements in giving back to a large number of communities. Longoria’s most known charitable causes generally include her involvement with Padres Contra El Cancer and Eva’s Heroes, the latter which improves developmentally challenged children. Further on, Longoria has provided global awareness with her Eva Longoria Fund (ELF), which supports children of any ethnic background who suffer from health-related problems.

10) Finally, the term humanitarian is not fully defined without the mentioning of famed Colombian singer Shakira, who has been featured as a spokeswoman for a number of foundations that give back in millions. The “Whenever, Wherever” artist’s very own organization, Barefoot Foundation, has created over five schools and implemented proper nutritional and educational access to over 30,000 native Colombian families since its launch in 2007.

With the help of these 10 gracious Latina “sheroes,” the developing world might just be a few steps closer in reaching the hopeful of everyone living stably, without financial or health concerns posing as deathly restraints.

– Jeff Varner

Sources: TreeHugger, BORGEN, esmas, PRNewswire 1, San Antonio Express-News, PRNewswire 2, Save the Children,, California Community Foundation, Shape Magazine, TakePart,, Los Angeles Times, VeroNews,
Photo: Billboard

Rock is a traditional musical genre that relays memories within a large following. Five rock-themed acts have touched the lives of millions with their charitable efforts to restore proper global health, gestures that have been just as effective as their own iconic music.

1. Linkin Park

An experimental-meets-metal band known for edge-cutting hits like “In the End,” Linkin Park has been steady in giving back to many over a number of years with their philanthropic routines.

In late December 2004, the platinum-selling group donated over $100,000 to the American Red Cross via the band’s established Music for Relief, giving back to Southeastern Asian natives traumatized by the tsunami that had struck. In addition, as part of Linkin Park’s Music for Relief, the band encourages fans to take part in charitable actions by “Download[ing] to Donate”; in return, generous donors receive musical prizes, typically containing previously unreleased digital goods.

The aforementioned strategy proved useful when the band implemented the tactics in fixing numerous aftereffects caused by global tragedies like Hurricane Katrina and the 2010 Haitian earthquake. Having raised over $5 million since its establishment, by 2014, Linkin Park’s initiative aided West African natives suffering from the treacherous Ebola virus through a separate fundraising activity, one in partnership with interactive charity broadcast Chideo.

2. Nirvana

Another humanitarian rock act is the legendary Nirvana. In 1993, the “Heart-Shaped Box” collective managed to make headlines throughout when the band held a fundraising concert in an effort to give back to Croatian women. As documented in an Entertainment Weekly article, in his early overseas travels Nirvana bassist Chris Novoselic was appalled to learn of the horrors Croatian women endure, not only from suffering rape at the hands of Serbian soldiers but also from the forced birthing of the soldiers’ children.

With this, Nirvana managed to rally enough attention to treat the cause; in the end, the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” group racked up an estimate of over $60,000 per combined 10,000 ticket sales. All proceeds went to Tresnjevka Women’s Group, as part of an effort to designate mobile units and medical centers to women.

3. Pearl Jam

Nirvana and Linkin Park were not the only musical acts to enrich suffering lives. Renowned alternative-rock group Pearl Jam followed suit with their charitable causes, which were geared towards international crises like climatic extremities and wars. In 1999, Pearl Jam prepared a benefit album that would give back to refugees in the Kosovo War, featuring the group’s biggest hit: the cover recording of “The Last Kiss.”

Proceeds collected from the J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers cover were donated to CARE, an organization benefiting Kosovo refugees. Aside from the moving gesture, Pearl Jam took on more accompanying humanitarian roles, such as fundraising for the betterment of the environment, alongside headlining charity concerts that combatted world hunger.

4. Evanescence

2000s metal-rock band Evanescence is far from inexperienced with taking on a number of advocate roles. Some of the “Bring Me to Life” unit’s most familiar causes include their donative proceeds collected per each 2006 “Open Door” outtake “Together Again.” The funds were used to help those affected by the 2010 Haitian earthquake.

As part of a partnership with the United Nations Foundation, funds generated from Evanescence’s single would immediately go towards distributing food, water, medicine and emergency relief to the earthquake victims.

5. Radiohead

The fifth and final musical group in “rocking out” for a difference is innovative Radiohead. The English-based game-changing unit has been involved in an assorted number of programs that both treat and expose overlooked issues in the developing world.

In 2008, the “There, There” band formed a side-charitable supergroup, Seven Worlds Collide, with fellow peers Wilco, The Smiths and Neil Finn to pool the funds collected per each group’s released material and direct it towards Oxfam, an international operative organization that works endlessly to seek solutions in alleviating poverty and injustice. Aside from musical collaborative work, Radiohead additionally designated sincere measures when the pact agreed on donating their visual “All I Need” as a promo for MTV, in an effort to raise awareness of the drastic human trafficking issue that occurs consistently in unimagined environments like third-world sweatshops.

With these five acts rocking out for a change, one can only hope that optimization will be instilled in progressing generations that may view the groups’ humanitarian milestones as setting the world at a more reasonable pace.

Jeff Varner

Sources: Billboard, United Nations Foundation, AltWire, MTV, Paste, BBC News, United Nations Foundation, MTV, UpVenue, Entertainment Weekly
Photo: Captains Dead

beauty_products_that_donate_to_charityNowadays, there are many beauty and makeup companies that are selling beauty products that donate to charity to aid different humanitarian causes.

Fundraising activities, partnering with nonprofit organizations for projects or giving donations through sales of their products are some examples that these companies use to support and advocate for good causes.

Brands like The Body Shop, Kiehl’s, LUSH, Philosophy, Mama Sopa, Balanced Guru, UNE Natural Beauty, Murad, MAC Cosmetics, GIVESCENT and Ten Thousand Villages use some, if not many, of their products to collect donations through their purchases.

Each brand supports different humanitarian causes such as AIDS reduction, poverty, hunger, water conservation and animal and environment protection, among other things.

Here are 10 beauty products that contribute to charity when purchased:

  1. All Philosophy products: According to Philosophy’s website, one percent of the sales of every Philosophy product will go to community-based organizations that support mental health. The brand commits to supporting mental health and well-being through their “Hope & Grace Initiative.”
  2. “Soft Hands Kind Heart Hand Cream” by The Body Shop: This hand cream was available to buy early in 2015, and is accessible in all The Body Shop stores worldwide. The purchase of this product gives a donation of £1.50 to The Body Shop Foundation, a foundation that advocates for human rights and environmental and animal protection.
  3. Ten Thousand Villages soaps and creams: Ten Thousand Villages is a fair trade retailer company that works to empower artisans in developing countries. The company sells a variety of products ranging from jewelry to bath accessories. Their skincare products, such as soaps and creams, are made in places like Ghana, India, Israel and Zimbabwe, and their purchase contributes to helping artisans in these countries.
  4. “New Charity Pot” by LUSH: The “Charity Pot” is a body lotion created with natural ingredients by the cosmetic brand LUSH. With every purchase of this body lotion, 100 percent of the sale is donated to different organizations supporting human rights, animal welfare and environmental conservation.
  5. “Shark Fin Soap” by LUSH: This is a limited edition soap by cosmetic brand LUSH. Made with natural ingredients for Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week,” 100 percent of the proceeds from the purchase of this item will go to organizations dedicated to the conservation and protection of sharks.
  6. “Viva Glam” products by MAC Cosmetics: Created by MAC Cosmetics, “Viva Glam” is a lip makeup collection that donates 100 percent of the price for every purchased product. These donations go to the MAC AIDS Fund, which addresses the relation between poverty and HIV/AIDS and supports various organizations around the globe. Celebrities like Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Ricky Martin, Nicki Minaj and Boy George are some of the artists that have participated in the “Viva Glam” campaign.
  7. All GIVESCENT products: This brand has a collection of Italy-inspired scents. The purchase of any bottle of GIVESCENT supports women worldwide as well as different women-centered campaigns. Some of the organizations that the brand supports are Every Mother Counts and Women for Women International.
  8. “Fund-raising Lip Balm” by UNE Natural Beauty: This natural product, created by UNE Natural Beauty, donates £1 to Plan, a children’s charity. The lip balm’s donations are destined to support a project by Plan that provides education to girls in Cameroon.
  9. “Live Beautifully Set” by Murad: This Murad’s limited-edition set includes an eye cream and an inspirational book by Dr. Murad. Ten percent of the sale results in a donation that supports the Murad Esthetics Scholarship Program through the Beauty Changes Live Foundation.
  10. All Mama Sopa products: Created for a social hygiene project for The Dutch Simavi Foundation, Mama Sopa is a collection of shower gels, soap bars and hand soaps with a good purpose.

According to an article published by The Dieline, every Mama Sopa product sold gives hygienic trainings by The Dutch Simavi Foundation to vulnerable mothers in East India.

Diana Fernanda Leon

Sources: Philosophy, The Body Shop Foundation, Ten Thousand Villages, LUSH 1, LUSH 2, Mac Cosmetics, Give Scent, UNE Make up, Murad, The Dieline
Photo: The Dieline

Many celebrities have participated in charities for all sorts of causes. Here are ten celebrity quotes that will inspire you to give back, too.

“The truth of the matter is: you can create a great legacy, and inspire others, by giving to philanthropic organizations.”
– Michael Bloomberg, entrepreneur, politician and philanthropist

“I choose to rise up out of that storm and see that in moments of desperation, fear and helplessness, each of us can be a rainbow of hope, doing what we can to extend ourselves in kindness and grace to one another. And I know for sure that there is no them – there’s only us.”
– Oprah Winfrey, talk show host, actress and founder of Oprah’s Angel Network

“If you think of life as like a big pie, you can try to hold the whole pie and kill yourself trying to keep it, or you can slice it up and give some to the people around you, and you still have plenty left for yourself.”
– Jay Leno, television host and humanitarian

“No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.”
– Taylor Swift, professional singer and the 2014 Most Charitable Celebrity

“With a generation of younger folks who have thrived on the success of their companies, there is a big opportunity for many of us to give back earlier in our lifetime and see the impact of our philanthropic efforts.”
– Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder, investor and patron

“One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”
– Malala Yousafzai, women’s rights activist and 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Winner

“Is the rich world aware of how four billion of the six billion live? If we were aware, we would want to help out, we’d want to get involved.”
– Bill Gates, business magnate, computer programmer and co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

“It’s about giving the gift of life to a stranger.”
– Leighton Meester, actress, professional singer and philanthropist

“If you’re in the luckiest one percent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 percent.”
– Warren Buffet, investor, businessman and member of The Giving Pledge

“We’re all in this together. Each and every one of us can make a difference by giving back.”
– Beyoncé, professional singer, musician and founder of BeyGood

Fallon Lineberger

Sources: Cause Cast, Daily Mail, Ecorazzi, Giving What We Can, Inspire More, Michael Bloomberg, National Philanthropic Trust,, The Giving Pledge, The Quotations Page, Twitter
Photo: Flickr


Pop radio in recent decades has featured a considerable amount of hip-hopping crossover tunes, courtesy of some of the music industry’s fascinating producers. And with a heavy helping hand of these talents, ten of these following beat-maker producers have long held interest in relieving regions of catastrophic-induced conflicts.

10. Controversial rap mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs is synonymous with charitable causes supporting medical research of HIV/AIDS and cancerous diseases. Perhaps the biggest highlight of the frequent Biggie Smalls producer’s philanthropic work would include his 1994 New York City-established Daddy’s House Social Programs, an international foundation that provides education to the underprivileged and homeless.

9. When auto-tuning-favorite T-Pain isn’t in the booth cranking out hits for Jesse McCartney (“Body Language”) or Flo Rida (“Low”), the “Blame It (On the Alcohol),” the rhymer is certainly making a worldly impact with his digital foundation “If I Could Change the World.” The program, which gives any user the ability to produce a philanthropic idea or select a global charity of their choosing, has been made popular by aid of T-Pain’s recurring concert series “Come to the Crib,” as means to enhance charitable awareness.

8. Certain singles from Michael Jackson’s legendary “Scream” to Janet Jackson’s comeback-knockout “No Sleeep” would not be possible without the help of iconic music-making duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. The non-stop reinventing pair have helmed a remarkable feat in captivating groundbreaking awareness for the medical support in treating AIDS, cancer and leukemia; effective enough for the two-man unit to receive a 1996 humanitarian accolade from the T.J. Martell Foundation and personal friend Janet Jackson.

7. Hip-hop superwoman Missy Elliott, who has produced for the likes of Beyoncé (“Signs”) and Madonna (“American Life–American Dream Remix”), is not a newbie when it comes to charitable occurrences. Among her most profound causes include her dedication to alleviate domestic abuse and AIDS cases by involvement in fundraising activities with organizations Break the Cycle and the MAC AIDS Fund (the former appointing Elliott as global spokesperson).

6. He’s the brains behind notorious headphone gear Beats by Dre, yet Dr. Dre has stamped his name outside the musical mogul world for the advocacy of a safer environment. Securing iconic production roles in Eminem’s “Hi, My Name Is Slim Shady” and Mary J. Blige’s “Family Affair,” Dr. Dre has generously donated $1 million to organizations relieving the aftereffects of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina; moreover, Dre’s “Beats Electronics” division has helped create seasonal camps for African schoolchildren.

5. Enormously responsible for composing Mariah Carey’s Grammy-winning “We Belong Together” and Kris Kross’ party-thumping “Jump,” Jermaine Dupri favors in helping underprivileged youth and repairing national tragedies; showcasing his advocacy via his separate launched initiatives Hip-Hop 4 Humanity and The Jermaine Dupri Foundation; the former raising more than $25,000 in aid of 9/11 victims and the latter helping those victimized in Hurricane Katrina. Aside from producing chart-toppers, Dupri served as the perfect power source in 2001 for his remixing role in charitable “What’s Going On,” an anti-AIDS anthem featuring the philanthropic likes of Lil’ Kim and TLC.

4. Swizz Beatz, super-producer known for drafting hit records among Busta Rhymes (“Touch It”) and Whitney Houston (“Million Dollar Bill”), has voiced advocacy for the betterment of health; so passionate that he would be bestowed the title as New York City’s first ever Global Ambassador of Health and Hospitals Corporation. Additionally, Beatz has recorded charitable tunes (“Stranded [Haiti Mon Amour]”); collaborated with City of Hope for the battle against cancer; and launched various events in support of wife Alicia Keys’ anti-AIDS Keep a Child Alive foundation.

3. Innovation and futurism are always laced in the production sounds by freaky sensation Pharrell Williams, who holds an endless catalog of hits and a groundbreaking list of donative accomplishments. From assembling philanthropic numbers with Beyoncé to headlining global humanitarian concerts, the “Let’s Get Blown” producer has launched several astounding projects, such as the NASA-associated Pharrell Williams Resource Center and the globally-interactive “Happy Party” campaign, which acts in a form of a petition to urge global leaders in fixing climatic issues.

2. Though the mainstream hip-hop crowd have not been thoroughly introduced to Immortal Technique as of yet, the intensive “Dance with the Devil” spitter has been making favorable headlines regarding his independent hard-working philanthropic efforts pertaining to activities such as constructing orphanage centers, clinics and schools in war-ravaged Kabul, Afghanistan. One would assume that proceeds collected per an independent musician’s work would be utilized for further entertainment purposes, however the underground producer immediately discards that notion, effectively noting that profits gained from his music are utilized strictly for humanitarian projects, especially in work of constructing homes for the impoverished, like those hailing from Haiti.

1. Largely responsible for bringing Lady Gaga front and center to the spotlight with breakout number “Just Dance,” Akon continuously makes buzz around the world for his recent progress with initiative Akon Lighting Africa (ALA), in supplying electricity to an estimated 600 million African rural natives in need. With the charitable “Oh Africa” adding shine to his name, Akon’s initiative has already implemented solar street lights and home kits to over 14 African regions, and has moreover produced the Solar Academy to teach natives of how solar arrays are installed.

To an unaware audience, music producers endeavoring in “to go” genres seem like the last people you’d expect to make a charitable contribution, especially considering their busy schedules allotting studio time; but these ten producers manage to redefine that aspect and brush away any further misconception. In 2001, when loosely questioned on the nature of hip-hop producers participating in charities, rapper-turned-mogul Dr. Dre proclaimed: “…Money [isn’t donated] to get big recognition […] I did it to help, strictly just to help… a million dollars is the least I could do to help.”

Jeff Varner

Sources: The Huffington Post, Lubbock On, hinkProgress, HipHopDX, The Indie Spiritualist, The Independent, BORGEN, PRNewswire, NBC Bay Area, EBSCO, PRNewswire,, Los Angeles Times, NBC News, Black Celebrity Giving, BET

D’Banj is a singer and peace activist who is featured first on #Music4Dev initiated in 2014 where artists use World Bank to share their music. It’s here where artists talk about poverty and encourage their listeners to work together in ending the crisis. One crucial way to help those in need is to spread awareness about the issue, especially to the youth of the world.

Afrobeat music is believed to have been born out of challenges facing Africa in recent years. Other African genres originate from various nations. These styles include rhumba, makossa, kwaito and highlife. Nigeria’s Afrobeat (or Naija beats) was introduced in the late ’60s by Fela Anikulapo Kuti. With different styles originating from various parts of Africa, this genre escalated only recently with a few artists excelling in the industry.

BBC Radio 1Xtra, the Mobos, MTV Awards and numerous African gatherings have acknowledged the latest African music. Modern techniques have also enhanced the life of video and music quality. Artists and telecom companies are making a large profit while the entertainment industry becomes lucrative.

A common production method includes selling music via mobile phone where customers buy ringtones and dial tones. Much like the Western world, another method to promote the artist is to play popular songs constantly over the radio and on television through video. Artists also appear at concert halls to sell their work.

The youth of Africa are believed to represent the future as a digitally-connected generation. Music unites them for a cause. D’Banj uses music to create poverty awareness and rally Africa’s youth to take a stance against the issue.

He is known for his energetic performances and originality having made the UK’s top ten list as the first Afrobeats artist. He was born in Zaria, Nigeria. He taught himself to play his older brother’s harmonica and has been in love with music ever since.

He has succeeded in making himself heard with 1 million Twitter followers. Kanye West, Akon, Snoop Dogg, Big Sean and actor Idris Elba have acknowledged his likability and recorded with him.

Among this recognition, he has also received Best African Act at MTV Europe Music Awards in 2007 and Artist of the Year in 2009 at MTV Africa Music Awards and BET Awards. In 2013, he attended African Union Year of Agriculture and brought together three million people to form advocacy for the alleviation of poverty.

He implored his followers to address their governments and stressed that more needed to be done for agriculture and small farms. He received two million signatures for the Do Agric Global Africa Campaign.

In 2014, he started focusing on African Union Year of Women’s Empowerment. He wrote a song called ‘Extraoridinary” for the cause. As he says in World Bank’s Blog in an article written by Korina Lopez, “Most of the established small-scale farmers that we have are women… You have to look beyond the body to see the extraordinary potential she possesses.”

D’Banj is known for his humanitarian role as an ambassador for In addition, he is an ambassador for Nigerian Agricultural Entrepreneurs and has been appointed Nigeria’s first UN Youth Ambassador for Peace.

He has recently been nominated for the MTV African Music Awards (MAMA) Evolution award. D’Banj was nominated with several others including 2face, P-Square and Asa. This award is meant to recognize artists revolutionizing African music with an influence around the world. The announcement of the winner takes place on July 18, 2015. Fans will vote for their favorite, and D’Banj has an admirable status for this particular achievement.

Katie Groe

Sources: World Bank Blog, World Bank Blog, TED 1 , TED 2 , Pulse, The Guardian
Photo: NET

A handful of celebrity actors have donated their skills for the creation of a children’s education project, GivingTales, which features Hans Christian Andersen stories, and aims to benefit UNICEF U.K.

Sir Roger Moore, a twenty-year UNICEF ambassador, heads the venture that animated several of Andersen’s tales. Moore implored the help of Ewan McGregor, Stephen Fry, Joan Collins and more, to perform voice-over work to narrate the stories.

Fry is also a UNICEF ambassador, and he posted on Twitter about his involvement with the app. “Fairy tales for [UNICEF]—read by [Ewan McGregor], Joan Collins, [Sir Roger Moore] and me,” Fry said, adding the link to download the app to end of his tweet.

In addition, Collins said she was excited to participate in the cause. “When [the creators of GivingTales] told me about the UNICEF project in which I was going to read a fairy tale to help the children, I thought it would be wonderful,” Collins said.

UNICEF is very keen on keeping up with children in the digital age. According to the UNICEF publication, “Children’s Rights in the Digital Age,” there is an ever-growing presence of children using digital devices in third world areas. “Some two-thirds of the world’s almost three billion internet users are from the developing world, with the numbers growing every day. Many of these new users are children and young people,” the UNICEF publication said.

However, UNICEF also mentioned that with this spurt of internet usage comes introduction to violence, the ability to view unsuitable content and the possibility of internet addiction.

Klaus Lovgreen, the Chairman of GivingTales, said that he wanted to create digital learning material that involved fairy tales that teach positive and valuable lessons. “[Fairy stories] have proven their worth over many years and are sort of mandatory in nature for children,” Lovgreen said.
UNICEF said that a safe online presence for children can be formed by creating easily-accessible content that promotes digital literacy, internet safety education and cyber savviness. The organization, with several other foundations, co-hosted the very first Digitally Connected seminar on children, youth and digital media. Philip Chan, a UNICEF Australia Young Ambassador, said that the technology empowers children because they may not need an adult to supervise them.

The app allows for interactive learning that goads the reader into participating in the story. According to the GivingTales website, the app offers multiple sounds, music, and narrators, granting children the power to customize their experience. According to Lovegreen, underprivileged children will benefit from the GivingTales app that offers “education from these incredible tales and the learnings that come with them by donating 30 percent of the revenue to UNICEF U.K.”

The voice-overs for UNICEF are available on the App Store, the Google Play store, and the Windows Phone store. GivingTales is free on each app store, and it comes with “The Princess and the Pea.” Each additional story is available for four dollars, so that the app can give a portion of their revenue to UNICEF.

Fallon Lineberger

Sources: Digital Trends, Giving Tales, Look to the Stars, UNICEF
Photo: BBC