Celebrities are using their fame to raise awareness and funds for the famine that has recently hit the horn of Africa, devastating the region, especially Somalia. One of the most severe droughts of the past 60 years, the disaster has already killed 29,000 children and deprived 12 million people of food, water and basic sanitation. Bob Marley’s family has joined forces with Save the Children charity and Oscar-winning director Kevin MacDonald to create a music video for Marley’s 1973 hit, “High Tide or Low Tide.” It’s hard not to be moved by the short (check it out above), which features victims of the famine. Celebrities – including Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, Eminem, Britney Spears, Rihanna, Madonna, and Lady Gaga, just to name just a few of the 150 involved in the worldwide celebrity campaign entitled I’m Gonna Be Your Friend (a line from “High Tide or Low Tide”) – are supporting the initiative and spreading awareness by posting the vid to their Facebooks and Twitters. So far, they have collected over 700 million fans and followers.
Other celebrity-driven campaigns include U2’s Bono’s ONE petition, which asks governments to provide the funding deemed necessary to aid the region, and presses governments to keep promises that if kept, would prevent future devastation. Check out this video of superstar/philanthropist Bono and Somali singer/poet K’naan speaking with CNN correspondent Anderson Cooper about the famine as they try to raise awareness and discuss short and long-term solutions. The short-term solution, Bono explains, has two components: funding and security. Obviously, aid-workers need money to provide food, water and shelter to those in need, but they also need safe channels through which these supplies can be transported to victims. In the long-term, affected countries need programs to develop richer seeds and fertilizers. Both Bono and K’naan emphasize the urgency of the situation – we have the responsibility to act and must make immediate aide a priority. It’s easy to numb ourselves to the hardships of those hundreds of miles away (especially Somalis who have been degraded in the media — defined by stories of piracy and movies like Black Hawk Down), but these times — today and tomorrow — are defining moments in which we can show humanity and compassion. Check out the videos the learn more, click here to donate, and here to sign Bono’s ONE petition.