After The Love Has Gone Earth, Wind And Fire
Smooth celebrates some of the most inspiring and touching celebrity actions, from Elton John's AIDS Foundation to Lionel Richie raising $3.1million for Breast Cancer Research.
Having seen many of his close friends die of HIV/AIDS when the disease ravaged mercilessly through swathes of young men in the 1980s, a bereaved John set up the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) in 1992. Since then, he has raised over $125 million to provide help to the ill and dying in 55 countries through, as well as encourage prevention. Each year, John throws his famous, star-studded White Tie and Tiara Ball to raise further money for the 35 million people still living with the disease.
Macca isn't just a genius for melodies, but also supports a number of charitable causes through his philanthropic work. As far back as 1979 he organised a Concert for the People of Kumpuchea, and when playing a personal concert for the wife of a wealthy banker, donated his $1 million dollar fee to charity. He is involved with animal rights group PETA, raises money for breast cancer in memory of ex-wife Linda, and alongside daughter Stella (pictured) is a patron of the Vegetarian Society.
The lead singer of Fleetwood Mac regularly visits wounded American soldiers, giving her time to sit with bedside vigils and donating baby clothes to wives widowed by war. "I refuse to be pulled into the politics of war," she has stated in the past. "But once these soldiers sign up, go to war and come back to a hospital. I will do whatever it takes to make them better."
Annie Lennox has become renowned for her activism and charity work, from Amnesty International to Greenpeace. However her main passion, for which she received the British Red Cross' Services to Humanity Award in 2008, is raising awareness for the plight of HIV/AIDS sufferers in Africa. "“One third of pregnant women in South Africa are HIV positive,” Lennox has said. “We can prevent their children being born with the virus if we let the women have access to treatment."
In 1989 Sting and wife Trudie Styler were eyewitnesses as to what effect the destruction of the Amazon rainforests had on the native people's environment and way of life. Horrified by the displacement and uprooting of homes and families they saw, they set up The Rainbow Foundation, dedicated to protecting indigenous people's land. It has since grown to more than 20 countries, linking human rights to land, life and livelihood, with environmental protection.
In 1985, Lionel Richie collaborated with a certain Michael Jackson to write 'We Are The World', an American charity single to raise money for Africa, released by a supergroup of musicians named USA For Africa. Richie re-recorded and released the track in 2010 with all proceeds going to victims of the earthquake in Haiti. He is also lauded for his Breast Cancer Foundation fundraising, for whom he raised $3.1 million by playing live at their annual spring gala.
Often unfairly caricatured for his humanitarian efforts, Bono is one of the foremost and most effective campaigners for greater global equality in the world. The Dublin-born Irishman is often in discussion with world leaders, from Barack Obama to former President of France Nicolas Sarkozy, in the fight against poverty. He has set up the ONE campaign to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, campaigns for African debt relief, and has received 3 nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Like Bono and Sting, one of Bob Geldof's first introductions to global charity work was being part of Amnesty International's Secret Policeman's Ball in 1981. He went on to famously co-found the 1984 Band Aid, bringing together many of the biggest pop stars of the decade to record 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' to raise awareness of and money for the famine in Africa. In 1985 he followed this up with the massive charity concert Live Aid. Twenty years later he released Band AID 20 and Live 8.
Madonna was slated and satirised in vituperative media articles across the Western world when she adopted two children from poverty-stricken and HIV/AIDs-torn Malawi. However, less reported at the time was how the star also set up her own charity Raising Malawi with Michael Berg, where she pledged to donate a dollar's match to every dollar donated. The non-profit organisation supports vulnerable children and caregivers with food, clothing, shelter, education and medical care.
The Queen of Soul has proved her true royalty of spirit by supporting a far-ranging spectrum of causes and foundations over her momentous career, including the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, Feeding America and Sting's Rainforest Foundation, to name but a few. In 2014 she gave a spectacular performance at The Blacks Annual Gala, raising money for the Consequences Charity, designed to support educational experiences and resources for at-risk youth in America.