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How Rock Stars Try To Give Back And How They Should Give back

Because philanthropy is problematic. It’s a no one situation and of all the things sucees can fuck with a rock star with giving back is a son of a bitch of a biggie. Honestly, I can’t think of ANYTHING bruce and company can do that make up for the obscenity of their wealth. Thant can make up for Springsteen nearly buying his daughter a million dollar horse. But does Springsteen do nothing because the likes of me are gonna question his motives? Does his motives even matter at all all, who cares why he helps if you are one of those getting helped?



You know those vans you sometimes see parked around town? The ones offering a free check up for your children? It’s called The Children’s Health fund and Paul Simon pays for it it through benefit concerts. The Bed Stuy rec room? That would be Jay-Z. On a local basis in New York the biggest pop stars perform charities (Jingle Ball is a charity) and give back to the community CONSTANTLY.


And perhaps on a local basis it does work. Perhaps the problem arises when it gets larger. George harrison’s “Concert For Bangla Desh”? The money never got where it was meant to. Live Aid? Significantly worse. In both cases money got siphoned off by foreign goverments and what was left, the food and medicine, got kidnapped by local militias. Rather then helping all it helped was prop up the despots already in power. The artist were conned.


And U2 -all that third world debt relief. Gimme a break. You mean, I mean really, really mean, you think because a government in Hondurus is not being forced to repay their debut they are using the money to fix the infrastructure of their nations? Are you kidding me? All Bono does is give repulsive dictators more money and Western goverments less leverage.


So if big philanthropy is worse than pointless what is the answer. It’s all well and good to say you want to humble yourself in gratitude for your great gifts but who are you helping working in a soap kitchen.


I have two answers. The first is THINK HUGE. There is no bigger long term problem facing the planet than how to leave it behind. At some point, in a hundred or three hundred years from now, we’re gonna need an exit plan. We are going to need to change the atmosphere on Mars. In the long run nothing matters more.


In the short run, U2, and all these other stadium rockers, need to form philanthropic companies who can put the bands together with local charities, sometimes tieing them into the concerts themselves. The bands should find away to work on a smaller and local basis. The further away you get from your base, the less you understand the dynamics of yours acts, the more you deal in money, the more your actions are corrupted. That’s what happened with the school Oprah started for gifted girls: Oprah put it the school together and left it to the administrators as though she was giving the keys to Toyota’s to her studio audience. Girls were taken from their parents and placed in boarding school. Finally, they were beaten and sexually exploited. With all the will in he world, money aint gonna do it alone.


So it seems there are only two ways for the biggest bands to perform philanthropic acts. One is through funding scientific studies and the second is through grassroots local charities in areas they are aware. Of course, Live Aid is sexier.

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