By Brittany Hutson
Is there a celebrity that you admire so much you’d be willing to buy their life?
This is the question that Grammy-Award winning singer and philanthropist Alicia Keys seeks to answer with the launch of a new campaign called Digital Life Sacrifice on behalf of her charity, Keep a Child Alive.
In honor of World AIDS Days, Keys has recruited a number of celebrities who will sign off of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter until fans donate $1 million. Funds will be used toward medical care and support children and families affected by HIV and AIDS in Africa and India.
Participating celebs, which include Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Usher, Serena Williams, Jennifer Hudson, Kim Kardashian and Swizz Beatz, filmed “last tweet and testament” videos and are appearing in ads that show them lying in coffins to represent their “digital deaths.”
“It’s so important to shock you to the point of waking up,” Keys told the Associated Press. “It’s not that people don’t care or it’s not that people don’t want to do something, it’s that they never thought of it quite like that.”
Donating is simple: text the first name of the celebrity that you are “mourning” to 90999 and $10 will be donated. Between them, celeb participants are estimated to have nearly 29 million fans on Twitter.
“We’re trying to sort of make the remark: Why do we care so much about the death of one celebrity as opposed to millions and millions of people dying in the place that we’re all from?” said Leigh Blake, the president and co-founder of Keep a Child Alive.
According to AVERT, an international HIV and AIDS charity, as of 2008 in Sub-Saharan Africa, an estimated 1.4 million adults and children died of AIDS. Also, Africa has over 14 million AIDS orphans.
Since its inception in 2003, KCA has raised $27 million.
The Digital Life Sacrifice is an extension of the Buy Life campaign, which Keys and Blake started on Sept. 30. The campaign involves selling $35 gray T-shirts imprinted with a bar code. People who have the Stickybits or WiMo apps on their phones can donate $10 to the charity just by scanning any Buy Life T-shirt’s bar code.
Keys is hoping more people, whether they are celebrities or not, become involved with the initiative.
Keys’ efforts are commendable. Whether you support the idea or not, this is a campaign that has caught people’s attention. However, are we really so dependent on celebrities when it comes being proactive about social issues like AIDS? The thought is quite startling. Blake even told the Associated Press that Lady Gaga could probably raise all the money by herself because “she’s able to draw attention to these issues…and people follow it and act.”
The name of the campaign is Buy Life. Wouldn’t it be just as effective, if not more, to have people who are really living with AIDS in the promotional shots dressed in a Buy Life T-shirt? Nevertheless, we should be involved in the fight against AIDS regardless if its through Alicia Keys’ campaign or otherwise. There are millions in the world who truly need a chance at life.