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Bob Geldof

'Celebvocates': Mere Noise Versus Impact

Sina Odugbemi's picture

Celebrities and the causes they champion seem to go together these days like burger and fries. It is becoming the norm: Make a name, acquire a cause.

And we shouldn't knock that. It is good that the world's famous, rich and often beautiful people are also trying to do some good. I must admit, however, that it is difficult to avoid some skepticism. As an African, for instance, I am not always comfortable with the number of celebrities who have 'adopted' and claim to speak for my continent. Sometimes, watching one of them speak about Africa as though they owned it, my reaction jumps from mild irritation to rage.  In fact, the article that prompted this blog post (a piece in the winter edition of  FTWealth Magazine titled 'With or without you') contains some acerbic views regarding 'celebvocates' and what they get up to. Apparently, the journalist Brendan O'Neill calls it 'celebrity colonialism". And the writer Paul Theroux supposedly railed in the New York Times that: