This year, interestingly, it will also be a day to resurrect the life of your favorite celebrity ... in the digital world. Tomorrow, a growing list of celebrities will sacrifice their lives as they're displayed shamelessly on Twitter, Facebook and others. Kim Kardashian, Usher, Jennifer Hudson, Ryan Seacrest, Justin Timberlake, and Lady Gaga will halt their use of these social media tools in the name of AIDS awareness. Their online activity will not resume until their fans donate $1 million toward AIDS research.
No tweets, no status updates, nothing. It's going to be a quiet day around the cyber universe, unless their fan base reaches into their wallets to save them.
We can thank Alicia Keys for this innovative and really cool idea to combine celebrity, social media, fund raising, and AIDS awareness. It is the latest fund-raising venture for her charity, Keep a Child Alive, which provides funding for medical care and other supportive services for children and families affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa and India.
This celebrity cyber-death campaign, called Buy Life, uses scan-able bar codes on T-Shirts and other goodies that once scanned by a downloadable smartphone app, the user automatically donates money to Keep a Child Alive. So simple, so effective. And with the threat of the looming, permanent cyber death of dozens of celebrities, this venture enters a whole new level of awesome.
Alicia Keys is aware of the American tradition of treating celebrities like commodities. She is not naive to this fact; and now she is clearly using this as a way to literally get fans to "buy" the lives of the celebrities they love. She is taking a bold and savvy move to tie in the crazy reality of celebrity with technology to do some good in the world.
“It’s really exciting. No foundation has used the technology before like we are,” Alicia Keys said of this venture.
Alicia Keys is my new hero.
Of course her campaign is not perfect. The focus of her charity work is primarily for those individuals affected by HIV and AIDS in Africa and India. While this is certainly a crisis that is in need of strong support, there is also a similar crisis going on here in some parts of America. In Washington, D.C., the HIV/AIDS epidemic is beyond out of control. Those living with the disease are dying at higher rates, mostly due to the same factors as in India and Africa -- lack of housing, inadequate medical care, poor nutrition, etc. In addition, the HIV virus is spreading at alarming rates, surpassing those infection rates found in Sub-Saharan Africa.
We could use the benefits of Alicia Keys' amazing AIDS awareness campaign right here in America. So please, join me in thanking Alicia Keys for this amazing idea, and urge her to take this campaign and make it truly global.
And if you want to get back to following the many tweets of Lady Gaga and Ryan Seacrest, it looks like you'll have to buy their life back. It's for a great cause, after all.