As festival season comes to an end and pumpkin spice aroma fills the air, we’re all reminiscing about the killer shows we went to this summer.
Unbeknownst to the typical pop music fan, many of the artists that are known and loved (and loved to hate) do a lot more than just make music. They also care about bettering the world. From Miley Cyrus’s Happy Hippie foundation to the community-building work that Jay-Z devotes himself to in Brooklyn– take a look at the powerful influence that some of your favorite celebs have in the realm of social justice. And, if you’re inspired, support them when you Goodshop!
Now that I’ve read this list, listenin’ to my favorite Top 40 tunes never felt so good…
1. Miley: LGBTQ
Miley, being Miley, started the Happy Hippie Foundation to rally young people to fight injustice facing homeless and LGBTQ youth. This is because 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ, given that family rejection is usually what forces them into the streets. Miley quotes one of the most humanitarian musicians on her website to inspire us all:
“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is a reality.” – John Lennon
2. Jay-Z: Underprivileged Youth
Growing up in the Marcy Projects is one of the biggest influences on Jay-Z’s musical output and philanthropic endeavors. I mean, his rap name is literally a tribute to the J & Z subway lines near Marcy Ave. in NYC. In order to stay connected with his neighborhood, he created the Shawn Carter Foundation to help individuals facing socio-economic hardships further their education at institutions of higher learning. The foundation encourages studying abroad, so young people can learn from other cultures.
3. Beyonce: Women
With ***Flawless, Beyonce uses her art to highlight the injustices that women face. And with BeyGOOD, she works hard to bring those issues into mainstream intellectual conversation– and uses the #BeyGOOD hashtag to shed light onto many projects related to social good. She has also partnered with Global Citizens to help bring access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene to women across the world.
4. Kendrick Lamar: Compton
Get ready to swoon even harder for Kendrick— Last year, all of the proceeds of Kendrick Lamar’s World Tour went to Habitat for Humanity. Every.single.one. He was also awarded the 35th Generational Icon Award from the state of California for his work in Compton (his hometown).
“In less than 10 years, as a professional artist, Mr. Lamar has gone from a local Compton young boy, to a multi-platinum, Billboard chart topping, two-time Grammy Award winning musician, an incredible achievement for anyone 27 years old,”Sen. Isadore Hall III said in his speech to the state Senate. “But Mr. Lamar has not let his recent fame get the best of him. If you visit Compton … Mr. Lamar is a familiar face in the neighborhood.”
5. Ryan Lewis x Macklemore: HIV/AIDS
Not only does this dynamic dup regularly rap about social justice issues, they are also very active on the ground. An issue that they are particularly devoted to is HIV/AIDS, given that Lewis’ mother suffers from the disease, and they donate a lot of money to the 30/30 Project.
That’s right, Biebs made the list. Despite his naughty-boy antics, Justin Bieber actually gives a lot back. He’s the only recording artist in history to grant over 200 Make-A-Wish wishes and frequently travels to impoverished countries, like Guatemala, to help out. If he’s doing it on his own accord or for his PR reps is TBD. Either way, thank you Justin.
7. Harry Styles: Social Issues
As a whole, One Direction is one of the most philanthropic bands of our generation. Their recent initiative, #Action1D, encourages everyone to join in the conversation with world leaders attending summits this year to discuss major issues, like climate change. Not to mention that Harry Styles has a heart of gold. During a spring tour of South Africa, he slipped away from the rest of the gang to hang out with some local school children.
8. Amy Winehouse: Drug & Alcohol Misuse
After this magnificent human passed, her family set up the Amy Winehouse Foundation to help prevent the effects of drug and alcohol misuse on young people. Two years ago, they setup “Amy’s Yard”, which helps children overcome their struggles with music. As a treat for us all, the foundation is planning to release a new album featuring musicians who have benefitted from the yard.
9. Dolly Parton: Literacy
This country music bombshell wants to help children around the country learn how to read. In 1995, she started the Imagination Library, which is a totally adorable name. The foundation sends pre-school children and their families an age-appropriate book once a month. I really hope one of those books is Eloise.
10. Rhianna: Health, Edu., Arts, & Culture
Our fave bad girl is actually a huge philanthropist and started the Clara Lionel Foundation in honor of her grandparents. The foundation grants fund efforts promoting health, education, arts and culture globally. Every year, they have a Diamond Ball (of course) to fundraise for the charity. This year it’s being hosted by the hilarious Kevin Hart.
11. Lady Gaga: Youth
Led by Lady Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta, the Born This Way Foundation was founded in 2011 to foster a more accepting society: where differences are embraced and individuality is celebrated. The Foundation is dedicated to creating a safe community that helps connect young people with the skills and opportunities they need to build a braver, kinder world. (Also, loving the Yolondi vibes. Is that feud finally over?!)