beirut explosionOn Aug. 4th, 2020, an ammonium nitrate explosion occurred at the port in Beirut, Lebanon. This disaster killed more than 180 people, injured over 5,000 and displaced more than 250,000 people. The Beirut explosion also led to more than $10 billion  in damage in the surrounding areas. After the deadly Beirut explosion, countless celebrities shared tributes. Many also donated or directed their followers to donate to various relief efforts. Here are 10 celebrities who helped Beirut after the August explosion.

10 Celebrities Who Helped After the Beirut Explosion

  1. George and Amal Clooney: The power couple donated $100,000 to three charities helping with relief efforts. These included the Lebanese Red Cross, Impact Lebanon and Baytna Baytak. The latter organization aimed to provide relief to Lebanese people in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, after the explosion, the group became more focused on finding shelter for people made homeless or dislocated. In an online statement referencing this organization, the Clooneys said, “We’re both deeply concerned for the people of Beirut and the devastation they’ve faced in the last few days. We will be donating to these charities $100,000 and hope that others will help in any way they can.”
  2. Madonna: The pop singer and two of her children, David Banda and Mercy James, hosted an art sale and donated the proceeds to Impact Lebanon. The organization works with the Lebanese Red Cross to provide aid to victims affected by the blast. Madonna and her family made tie-dye shirts and paintings to raise money, which the singer posted on Instagram.
  3. Rihanna: The singer and businesswoman took to Twitter to persuade her followers to donate to four charities helping with relief in the aftermath of the Beirut explosion. These included Impact Lebanon, Save The Children, the Sadalsuud Foundation and Preemptive Love. Save The Children helps children and families displaced and injured by the disaster. Rihanna’s support for the Sadalsuud Foundation will help it foster community strength and growth through education and baking. Finally, Preemptive Love is a peacemaking and peacebuilding coalition designed to bring an end to violence and war and affect people affected by disasters.
  4. Bella Hadid: The model, whose father is from Lebanon, donated to 13 charities in the aftermath of the Beirut explosion. These included the Lebanese Red Cross, Offre Joie, Impact Lebanon, Bank To School, Arc En Ciel, Bassma, Sesobel and Nusaned. Previously, Hadid has donated to Save The Children, Preemptive Love, UNICEF, International Medical Corps and the Lebanese Food Bank. She also directed her Instagram followers to donate, urging them toward local charities to help pinpoint community needs. Lastly, Hadid has vowed to continue donating.
  5. The Weeknd: The singer donated $300,000 to Global Aid for Lebanon, which supports the World Food Programme, the Lebanese Red Cross and the Children’s Cancer Centre Lebanon. The Weeknd’s donation comes after his manager, Wassim Slaiby, and Slaiby’s wife, Rima Fakih, led efforts for donations. On Instagram, Slaiby thanked The Weeknd for his donation. She also thanked Live Nation, including CEO Michael Rapino, for donating $50,000 to relief efforts.
  6. Rima Fahik and Wassim “Sal” Slaiby: The former Miss USA and her business manager husband, both from Lebanon, launched a campaign with Global Citizen to help in the aftermath of the Beirut Explosion. The fund supports Red Cross Lebanon, the United Nations World Food Programme and the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon. The couple kicked off the initiative by donating $250,000.
  7. Russell Crowe: The actor donated $5,000 to the destroyed restaurant Le Chef, which had resided in the Gemmayze neighborhood of Beirut since 1967. On his Twitter page, Crowe said he donated to this restaurant in honor of his late friend, Anthony Bordain. While Bordain was filming his show “No Reservations” in 2006, he visited the restaurant.
  8. Jose Andres: The World Central Kitchen founder and celebrity chef mobilized a team in Beirut and partnered with chef Kamal Mouzawak. Together, they gave out over 800 sandwiches and meals to healthcare workers, first responders and elderly citizens. The organization states that its efforts provided thousands of additional meals to those in need in Beirut. Lastly, it hoped to give people what they needed to stimulate the local economy once again.
  9. Mia Khalifa: The media personality, sports commentator and former adult actress auctioned the trademark glasses that she wore in her adult films to support Lebanon after the explosion. She donated all proceeds to the Lebanese Red Cross. The bidding ended on Aug. 16, with the top bid at $100,000.
  10. Harry Styles: The former One Direction member donated to Impact Lebanon, directing his Twitter followers to do the same. He then tweeted out a link through the crowdfunding site JustGiving. Style’s fundraising effort has so far raised close to $8.1 million for people impacted by the disaster.

While the damage and casualties in Beirut were extensive, celebrities and figures from around the world came together to help after the Beirut explosion. Moreover, many of these celebrities are helping Beirut continue to come together for not only economic but also personal reasons.

– Bryan Boggiano
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Madonna's Raising MalawiAfter visiting the small, poor African country of Malawi in 2006, internationally known singer Madonna started the charity Raising Malawi, and the cause has been growing ever since. The pop star has adopted four children from the small African nation and she visits the country twice a year. Madonna’s Raising Malawi works on issues related to health, poverty, and education.

Raising Malawi’s most recent program is the construction of a new pediatric surgery unit at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre. Madonna announced that it would be called the Mercy James Institute of Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care, named after one of Madonna’s adopted children. In June 2017, furniture and equipment started being moved into the new unit. Madonna’s children helped paint murals at the new hospital.

The new construction will help the hospital “double the number of surgeries performed on children each year and will provide an intensive care unit which will increase the chance of survival after critical surgeries.” This is a program that is needed in Malawi because 50 percent of the population is under the age of 15. With such a shortage of pediatricians and pediatric doctors, child care and access to it are extremely important to child development. Raising Malawi has worked hard to expand pediatric care opportunities in the small country.

For Madonna’s birthday, she started a hashtag called #STOCKTHEWARD, which asked people to donate certain services and items for the new unit. For example, $500 pays a nurse’s salary for a month, while $200 pays for 10 blankets for the ward. If a donor gives $25,000, this will pay to ship a container of medicines not available in Malawi to the ward. Madonna’s Raising Malawi is allowing her to literally help these children grow up healthy and happy.

In addition to this newer program, Raising Malawi promotes education through scholarships and grassroots soccer, and partners with others to build schools. Also, Madonna’s organization works within the community as well. The orphanage she adopted some of her children from is called Home of Hope, and Raising Malawi has supported the orphanage financially for years. Madonna also helped raise awareness for the AIDS epidemic through a film she wrote entitled “I Am Because We Are.”

Overall, Raising Malawi has helped children in all aspects of their life, whether it be through education, healthcare or their community. The organization is able to help children in many different parts of their lives, which will lead to real change in these children’s lives.

Emilia Beuger

Photo: Flickr

Founded in September 2013, Art For Freedom is the result of a partnership between global superstar Madonna and VICE Media. The completely digital organization aims to increase awareness of human rights violations around the world through artwork.

Each month, artists are invited to submit their original creations in response to the question, “What does freedom mean to you?” The organization then chooses a winning entry, whose creator is offered a $10,000 donation to the charity of their choice.

In addition to naming monthly winners, Art For Freedom also posts daily winners on its website. The inspirational submissions are displayed on the organization’s home page and can be accessed at any time through its interactive calendar.

Recently, Madonna named illusionist David Blaine as a guest curator for the organization’s December contest. Blaine’s duties will consist of reviewing entries and choosing which pieces will be displayed on the organization’s website.

Past celebrity curators included notables such as Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. For the month of November, Madonna herself hosted a live exhibit on Tumblr to showcase submissions.

Despite its recent start, the organization has quickly gained a following. Notable submissions for the December 2013 contest have included videos and photographs referencing numerous social problems including bullying, transgender issues, religious intolerance, racial intolerance, and other forms of prejudice.

The organization’s website currently features entries from around the world. The last two weeks have seen submissions from France, Bulgaria, Australia, Brazil, Dominican Republic, New Jersey, California, and New Hampshire.

Entries can be from a variety of mediums including film, music, photography, and poetry. Those interested in the organization’s monthly contest may upload original creations on the Art For Freedom website or by uploading the works to social media with the tag #artforfreedom.

– Jasmine D. Smith

Sources: Art for Freedom,
Photo: Blouin Art Info

Fashion Fights for Rights
Fashion fights for rights. In April, a factory in Bangladesh collapsed, killing over one thousand female seamstresses. The event brought women’s rights to the surface of many discussions. To raise awareness, the women’s empowerment initiative Chime for Change organized an event sponsored by Gucci called Sound of Change Live, focusing on fashion, music, women, and how they can intertwine. The concert featured many women’s rights advocates including Jennifer Lopez, Madonna and Beyonce, to promote women’s rights to education, health, and justice.

About 50,000 fans attended the concert in person, and an estimated one billion more watched online to see how fashion fights for rights. The concert featured an interactive Twitter feed asking viewers’ opinions throughout the performance, which helped the event go viral. Sound of Change Live raised awareness of important women’s issues like domestic violence and education and was also able to raise $4 million for Chime for Change.

Sometimes the support of celebrities is necessary for action in places like Pakistan, where the voices and opinions of pop icons can grab the attention of the nation’s youth. Ultimately, more good is done once celebrity advocates for change because more people become aware of and get involved in the world’s most pressing issues.

Katie Brockman

Source New York Times

On May 7, 2013, Sotheby’s will auction a painting from Madonna’s art collection, in its Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale. The sale of the Fernand Léger’s “Trois femmes à la table rouge – Three Women” painting is estimated at $5 to $7 million, and all proceeds will benefit the Ray of Light Foundation to support girls’ education in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other countries.

“I have a great passion for art and a great passion for education. In conjunction with Sotheby’s, I would like to share these two passions. I cannot accept a world where women or girls are wounded, shot or killed for either going to school or teaching in girls’ schools. Let’s change the world!” commented Madonna.

In Afghanistan, just 12 percent of women are literate and it is estimated that only seven girls to every ten boys are able to attend school. In Pakistan, which has one of the largest populations of out-of-school children in the world, it is estimated that there are more than three million primary school-aged girls unable to attend school.

The Fernand Léger painting was done in 1921, at the height of his Mechanical Elements series. Over time, Léger’s rendering of female subjects became increasingly abstract and this painting on auction is an example of his unique Cubist moment. Madonna is taking this valuable piece of art, and turning it into an even more valuable catalyst for social-good.

– Mary Purcell

Source: Look At The Stars