Philanthropy is defined as the practice of giving money and time to help the lives of others. I always tell people that "time" includes services; using your gifts, talents, and skills to give back, to use it for good.
The following are examples of artists doing just that on Hollywood's biggest night.
Whether you love the film industry's glitz and glamour or not, one thing was clear: causes took centerstage at the 2016 Academy Awards.
7 Times Artists Spotlighted Causes At The Oscars:
1.) Chris Rock gave a HUGE endorsement for the Girl Scouts of the USA by selling their cookies in the Dolby Theatre and allegedly raising $65,243.00 for the organization. The stage time alone was invaluable. Adweek maintains that their appearance resulted in 49,023 tweets around Girl Scout cookies, and Girl Scout cookies had more Oscars-related digital content engagement than other brands that advertised on the show. That's pretty sweet! To support the Girl Scouts of the USA: www.girlscouts.org
2.) Lady Gaga voiced support for sexual assault victims in her moving song, Til It Happens To You. Vice President Joe Biden introduced the songstress by imploring the audience to take the It's On Us pledge. In the pledge, one vows to "...help keep men and women safe from sexual assault...not to be a bystander to the problem, but to be a part of the solution." The award-winning ballad was written for documentary, The Hunting Ground, which addresses rape on American college campuses. Lady Gaga performed the song, then took a step out of the spotlight to let victims of sexual assault come forward and take centerstage. To support sexual assault victims: www.notalone.gov
3.) Spotlight won Best Picture and the team's acceptance speech brought its cause front and center into the aforementioned spotlight. The film itself centers on the 2001 investigation of sexual assault allegations against a priest, and ultimately the Catholic Church. Producer Michael Sugar accepted the award with the remarks, "This film gave a voice to survivors, and this Oscar amplifies that voice, which we hope will become a choir that will resonate all the way to the Vatican. Pope Francis, it's time to protect the children and restore the faith." To support victims of abuse by priests: www.snapnetwork.org
4.) Leonardo DiCaprio shined the spotlight on global warming and protecting the rights of indigenous people. "Our production team had to go to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow; climate change is happening, and it's real." He continued, "We need to support leaders around the world...who speak for all of humanity, and for the indigenous people of the world...and for all the people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed." DiCaprio is admirably the rare celebrity who puts his money where his mouth is; he set up his foundation in 1998 and works diligently to protect the threatened ecosystems and the earth's inhabitants. Indigena is just one of the 70+ organizations supported by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation
5.) Sam Smith accepted the Academy Award for Best Song while taking the opportunity to spotlight the LGBT community. Said Smith in his acceptance speech; "I want to dedicate this to the LGBT community around the world. I stand here tonight as a proud gay man and I hope we can all stand together as equals one day." Smith officially came out in 2014 and made history by becoming the first openly gay winner of the Best Pop Vocal Album. To support the LGBT community: www.GLAAD.org
6.) Alejandro Iñárritu won his second consecutive Academy Award for Best Director and used his acceptance speech to motivate change for inclusion of all. He quoted his movie, The Revenant, in which the lead character states to his mixed-race son, "they don't listen to you, they just see the color of your skin." He then continued, "So what a great opportunity to our generation to really liberate ourselves from all prejudice...make sure for once and forever that the color of the skin become as irrelevant as the length of our hair." To support immigration rights: www.AmericanImmigrationCouncil.org
7.) Chris Rock and the Oscars production team were not shy about the racial tension within this year's production. His opening monologue made no qualms that he thinks Hollywood is racist, but made jokes from all sides of the controversy. The comedy segments that followed, including Whoopi Goldberg mopping the set of Joy also drove the point home that the Academy Awards acknowledges lack of diversity. Chris Rock closed the show stating "Black Lives Matter" and the Public Enemy's Fight The Power was the last song played as highlights of the night played on a scroll. To support Black Lives Matter: www.BlackLivesMatter.com
For more celebrities, causes, and incredible nonprofits, check out Spotlight On TV
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