Celebrities Using Their Powers for Good

by Stephanie Casher on June 21, 2006

I have always, always loved Angelina Jolie. In fact, if given a choice of any celebrity to have an affair with, she would top my list over any man. I’ve always found her a little troubled, but very real, very deep, and as far as starlets go, very down-to-earth. Last night, during her interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN (read transcript here), she gave me several more reasons to admire and respect her as a woman, mother, and human being dedicated to fighting the good fight.

Let’s face it – our culture is Celeb-Obsessed. For some reason we care SO MUCH about what/who celebrities are doing, and not nearly enough about current events, social issues, and what is going on in the world. I’m guilty of it too – I’ll admit I visit Pink is the New Blog every day for my dose of celebrity smack, and we all know how I feel about Tim McGraw… But I’m not so consumed in pop culture that I don’t know or care what’s going on in this world. We ALL could do more to nurture our global community. Even if what you do is as simple as educating yourself.

Angelina Jolie is a woman who is doing a whole lot to further human rights causes. She is a well-travelled, educated, enlightened individual who understands the power of celebrity, and is working it to do GOOD THINGS in this world. Knowing there would be a fierce bidding war for photos of her and Brad Pitt’s daughter, she sold the pics for 4.5 million dollars, then turned around and donated it ALL to charity. On top of that, she gladly donates 1/3 of her annual income to charity, recognizing that she makes way more money than she actually needs. And then last night, knowing legions of fans would tune-in to hear her talk about her experience giving birth to Brad Pitt’s baby, she used the opportunity as a platform to educate others about the plight of refugees in third world countries all over the world. The interview was not so much about Angelina as it was a 2-hour public service announcement about a host of global atrocities. Descriptions of her visits to Africa and Souteast Asia were juxtaposed with stories and footage of the mutilation of refugees in Sierra Leone, the children dying from AIDS in Africa, the genocide in Rwanda, violence against women in the Congo, and the situation in Darfur. Sadly, this short list only scratches the surface of areas in need of aid.

There are terrible crimes against humanity being committed in this world. Every single one of us sitting in our air-conditioned homes, reading this on our computer screens, we are so blessed. We don’t even know how blessed we are. It is too easy for those of us in the first world to ignore the plight of the third world, to ignore the true suffering that exists. We complain about long lines or not being able to find a parking space, when there are people enduring unspeakable abuse every day. It really puts things into perspective. We don’t even know how good we have it….

So hats off to Angelina Jolie for trying to open the eyes and minds of the masses. After I got over being horrified, I was truly inspired. I’m going to do my part to be a little more mindful and a lot more grateful as I go about my days, and do what I can, when I can, to further the cause for world peace and the end to human suffering. I guess she and Anderson accomplished exactly what they set out to…

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