Celebrity Activism can cop quite a bit of flack and has in the past. This can be due to it being seen as a ploy to selfishly advertise the celebrity while looking like a good member of society at the same time. They sometimes lack a lot of expertise in the area of what they are trying to combat and at times may even neglect the charity after the cameras are turned off. For lots of celebrities, it’s a win win situation.
Guy Sebastian is the Australian singer and songwriter that burst into celebrity stardom when he won the 2003 Australian Idol title. He has managed to stick in mainly the Australian music spotlight for over 10 years and has also managed to mostly attract positive media attention. I think that this is a fair statement to say because it is shown through his quite extensive work done in charity and making music that creates awareness for global inequalities. He has not just been an idol for the Australian music industry, but has also been a role-model at showing how to not exploit global issues when you are of celebrity status in order to benefit yourself. An article shows how in the past, Sebastian has given proceeds from celebrity work to his charity, “From a photography exhibition in Sydney on Monday, November 18 to donating the proceeds of a story they sold to a women’s magazine announcing Jules’ pregnancy to the foundation, the charity work has Guy looking at ‘celebrity’ in a whole new light.”. The foundation that is mentioned and the one that Sebastian owns is called “The Sebastian foundation” whose main goal is to “help families in need”. Their mission statement is “Our focus is people. Our love is people. We want to see the need and meet the need. We want to help in any way we can and we hope you join us in our mission”. His charity also collaborates with like-minded partners and charities on an on-going project basis. His foundation collaborated with the Red Cross’s aid of the Australian bushfires and also has a range of personal photography for sale with all proceeds going towards the foundation.
His song “Get Along” which was released in 2012, was probably one of his most memorable songs due to the message imbedded. The lyrics aimed to raise awareness about the harm caused by racial, cultural and religious intolerance around the world which goes to show that he has used his high profile status as a platform to positively advocate for global issues that need to be addressed. The difference that separates Sebastian from many other celebrity activists is that he does not exploit the people involved in his charity and always releases information regarding its intentions.
Celebrity Activism can be looked down upon due to the possible exploitation and selfish intentions behind many charity ventures, so Sebastian is definitely setting a trend worth following.
Lewis, M 2013 “Charity the foundation of a solid life for Guy Sebastian and his wife Jules”, The Daily Telegraph, November 13 http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/entertainment/sydney-confidential/charity-the-foundation-of-a-solid-life-for-guy-sebastian-and-his-wife-jules/story-fni0cvc9-1226758508643
Bastaldo, B 2012 “Justin Timberlake fired for neglecting charity”, Tribute, October 4 http://www.tribute.ca/news/index.php/justin-timberlake-fired-for-neglecting-charity/2012/10/04/