Thursday, January 13, 2005

Will Rock For Relief

  It’s time for a few pats on the back.  As the death toll from the Asian tsunami of December 26 climbs to more than 156,000, celebrities are opening their hearts and their wallets to aid in the relief project.  Not since Bob Geldof organized Live Aid in 1985 have so many celebrities come together to raise money for a tragedy of this magnitude.

  If you’re unfamiliar with Live Aid, you shouldn’t be.  In 1985, the famine and hunger in Africa was out of control.  Thousands of Africans—mostly women and children—were starving to death each day.  Bob Geldof, singer for the little-known Boomtown Cats, organized two concerts that were held simultaneously in London and Philadelphia.  He brought together sixty of the biggest acts in rock and roll to perform in a benefit concert, raising more than 300 million dollars for Africa’s hungry. Geldof also organized Band Aid and USA for Africa, which gave us the song “We Are The World.”  His is the father of the rock-for-philanthropy movement that we have seen in the benefit concerts by artists like Sting and Rage Against The Machine.  The 9/11 benefit concerts may not have happened if Live Aid hadn’t paved the way.

  Now, after eleven Asian countries have been torn apart by this enormous and devastating tidal wave, several celebrities are stepping up to offer their money and support for its millions of victims.

  • Music for Relief has been organized by Linkin Park in association with the American Red Cross.  Young Buck, Lloyd Banks, Trapt, The Used, Boston, Incubus, Tricky, Puddle Of Mudd, Jay-Z, Korn, 311, Michelle Branch and Hoobastank are just some of the artists getting involved in the project.  Linkin Park also put up $100,000 of their own money to get the ball rolling. Find a complete list of musicians and more info online at

  • Jackie Chan and Chow Yun-fat, whose native Hong Kong was hit hard by the tsunami, have made cash donations to relief charities.  Chan donated a reported $64,000 to UNICEF, and Chow handed over almost $26,000 to a local charity committed to disaster relief.

  • Jay Leno has gone to eBay with his Harley Davidson Road King.  The motorcycle has been signed by Tonight Show guests like Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, Donald Trump, James Woods, Nicole Kidman, James Woods, Scarlett Johansson, Matt LaBlanc, and many more.  When Leno auctioned off a similar signed bike to benefit the familes of 9/11 victims, it fetched over $360,000.

  • Steven Spielberg has handed over $1.5 million of his own money, Sandra Bullock has given $1 million, and Leonardo DiCaprio has made a “sizable donation” to UNICEF.

  • Willie Nelson, whose charity concert Farm Aid raises money for impoverished American farmers each year, is also getting involved.  Last Sunday he held a benefit concert in Austin featuring several performer-friends, with all of the proceeds going to the American Red Cross, UNICEF, and Doctors Without Borders.

  And me, well, I donated five dollars in a drop-box at Wal-Mart.  I encourage all of you to do the same.

 -From Pulse
   January 13, 2005