The power of music cannot be denied. Often referred to as “the language we all speak”, music can help us understand ourselves and others by transcending boundaries of colour, religion and language to bring people together in a way that little else can.
Music, as a form of artistic expression, has the advantage of being very loud: it attracts attention and influences opinion. It can help in healing, in breaking down barriers and borders, in reconciling, and it can also educate. As a cultural right, music can help to promote and protect other human rights (civil, political, economic or social).
The music of Elvis (namely his first single, “That’s All Right”) brought down racial boundaries when a white kid from Memphis started singing black music. In the 80s and 90s artists came together to raise money for poverty, hunger and HIV. U2 became advocates for justice and equality. Artists like Katy Perry, Gaga and Beyonce continue to fight for equality for all races, genders and sexual orientation.
Four humanitarian singers who made an especially large impact through both creating and supporting various foundations, and in whose footsteps we would like all our Talent Search finalists to follow are:
Shakira gained worldwide fame for her pop music with a Latin flare. However, she also leads a philanthropic career outside of music. The artist primarily focuses on universal education and early childhood development. She founded the Pies Descalzos (Bare Feet) Foundation that looks to “bring education to every child in the world.”
Shakira also supports the ONE campaign, which mobilizes individuals to do their part to end extreme poverty and Habitat for Humanity, which strives to give everyone in the world adequate housing.
Bono is not only the leader singer of the world renowned band U2, but he is also well known for his humanitarian efforts. He has helped fight poverty by supporting and creating multiple campaigns and projects. These include the ONE campaign and (RED), which advocates for an AIDS free globe. Bono also supports EDUN which encourages trade between impoverished countries in order to boost their economies.
In addition, he often participates in fundraising concerts to help raise money for these foundations and to promote important causes. He works directly with world leaders and policy makers in his mission to eradicate poverty and improve the world’s living conditions. No wonder he has been ranked the top celebrity humanitarian.
- Elton John
Don’t let the sun go down on Elton John: he’s ready to change the world. The well-known singer and songwriter is also a supporter in the quest to eliminate AIDS around the world.
He created the Elton John AIDS Foundation in order to help reduce the AIDS epidemic. Consequently, his foundation has raised over $125 million, which has gone to support 55 different countries. This support promotes education prevention and provides services to those in need. He also supports other foundations, such as AIDS LIFE, World AIDS Day and War Child.
- Alicia Keys
“No One” can deny Alicia Keys’ contributions toward fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This singer also uses her powerhouse singing voice to speak for the unheard individuals. She co-founded Keep a Child Alive, which focuses on the millions of children that die from AIDS in places where medical treatment is sub-par or unavailable. This foundation offers a range of services, including diagnostic testing and health care training.
With our Talent Search competition we look for artists who want to bring about change. Like Bono once said, “Music can change the world because it can change people.” That is what we strongly believe.