Last week, a slew of famous faces announced their “digital deaths,” abandoning Twitter and Facebook until rabid fans, lost without status updates from the stars, donate one million dollars to charity. (Despite last year’s concerns, Twitter sure is going strong, isn’t it?)
Keep A Child Alive
The force behind the social media plague is Keep a Child Alive, an NGO dedicated to “providing treatment, love, and support to families affected by HIV/AIDS,” (specifically in India and sub-Saharan Africa), and its “Buy Life” campaign. A handful of Twitter’s top Tweeters — including Kim and Khloe Kardashian, Lady Gaga, Serena Williams, Ryan Seacrest, Justin Timberlake and Alicia Keys (ambassador for Keep a Child Alive) — pledged to go radio silent until the million dollar goal was met, but it has been a slower crawl than anticipated until today.
This morning, one week in, the campaign had raised a fairly unimpressive $300,000. Then, come lunchtime, ding! ding! ding! — a sudden victory! A $700,000 boost! After much speculation about which star wrote a secret check so as to stop denying fans his/her every thought, it was discovered that the bulk of the donation actually came from some rich pharmaceutical dude. Good thing, too, ’cause this was about to get (high pitch) awwwwkward!
Kim Kardashian Is Dead?!
This whole “_____ Is Dead” campaign is beyond bizarre to me. I understand that it syncs up with World AIDS Day (December 1, the day it kicked off), but these ads seem to promote necrophilia more than philanthropy. It’s creepy! It’s not Halloween or Dia de Los Muertos. Not even Easter with a resurrection theme. It’s jolly old Christmas/Hanukkah season, time for yule logs and the Festival of Lights! Sexy not-corpses are not jolly. They are creepy.
Let’s not forget, however, that Keep a Child Alive was also responsible for the ad campaign that featured a blonde haired, blue eyed Gwyneth Paltrow decked out in war paint and the tagline: “I Am African.” The organization likes to ruffle a few feathers, making awareness as much of a priority as fundraising.
You can still donate (and true to a good cause and an accountable, transparent organization) here.
Caroline Walker is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and editor. She has worked in both the entertainment and the nonprofit sector. Walker holds a BA from the University of Southern California and an MA from New York University’s Gallatin School.