Posts Tagged ‘Taylor Swift’

Celebs Making a Difference–Ryan Seacrest

Photo: Ryan Seacrest Foundation

I love when I learn something new and heartening about famous folks. When some celebrity has been fighting the good fight regardless of how brightly the spotlight does or does not shine on their philanthropic efforts, it makes me care more about that entertainer or athlete. There are so many that, because of their body of work and name recognition, can do so much to bring attention and focus to issues that matter to them…and often, a celeb will go that extra step and create their own foundation or charitable organization. Ryan Seacrest who is practically ubiquitous on all media platforms, uses his celebrity status to bring creative media to others as a way to heal. The Ryan Seacrest Foundation is a 501(c)(3) that is dedicated to bringing multimedia and interactive technology and entertainment to seriously ill and injured children. The first major project is building broadcast media centers in pediatric hospitals and wards so kids can explore radio and television. Raising spirits and getting individuals excited about creativity is healing, not only for those doing the creating, but for those listening/watching as well. Seacrest also uses his connections to bring lots of other celebrities on board to lend their support, from Justin Bieber to David Beckham, Lady Gaga and CeeLo Green to Taylor Swift and Conan O’Brien. The list goes on and on, as does the great work.

Nashville Rising

Last night’s news broadcasts started showing more of the devastation suffered in Nashville and other regions of  Tennessee, with a tour inside the flooded and hard-hit Grand Ole Opry. The country music community is responding and banding together for a charity concert, Nashville Rising, on June 22. Initiated by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, the rest of the nation will have to do without country music that day, because practically every performer will be in Music City. In addition to McGraw and Hill, also pitching in that night to bring a little relief will be Jason Aldean, Brooks & Dunn, Luke Bryan, Miley Cyrus, Amy Grant, Miranda Lambert, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Martina McBride, Leeann Rimes, Michael W. Smith, Taylor Swift, and Carrie Underwood. If you think that is all who will show up, you don’t know benefit concerts very well—tons more will undoubtedly be added. There isn’t an American musician who doesn’t respect the hallowed ground that is Nashville.

Of course, the Bonnaroo concert and arts festival in Manchester TN is slated for June 10-13, and the incredible performer lineup will pay homage to the tenacity and recovery of the people and the region. Performing there are: Dave Matthews Band Kings of Leon Stevie Wonder Jay-Z Conan O’Brien Tenacious D Weezer The Flaming Lips performing Dark Side of the Moon featuring Stardeath and White Dwarfs The Dead Weather Damian Marley & Nas Phoenix Norah Jones Michael Franti & Spearhead John Fogerty Regina Spektor Jimmy Cliff LCD Soundsystem The Avett Brothers Thievery Corporation Rise Against Tori Amos The National Zac Brown Band Les Claypool John Prine The Black Keys Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers Jeff Beck & Many More!

If you can’t wait that long, on May 16, a benefit concert for flood relief, Music City Keep on Playin features Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley, Rodney Atkins, Kellie Pickler, Martina McBride, Keb Mo, Will Hoge, CeCe Winans, and more.

The show must go on. If you can’t be there to spend your tourism dollars in the region and support the hardest-hit communities in person, consider a donation. There are natural and unnatural disasters happening in this world every day, and supporting recovery is everybody’s mission.

Give Big or Go Home

This kind of surprised me. The celebrity auction site Charity Folks has tallied  the top celebrities earning funds for charitable organizations in 2009, and the winner is The Grateful Dead. I would have thought that after Jerry was gone, even though the band still does gigs, some of the passion of Deadheads might’ve waned. I also presumed, wrongly I now see, that the Deadheads might’ve spent more of their funds on organic items rather than charitable donations. The Dead has several charities they have supported over the years, and in 2009 they partnered with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

Second place earners were The Jonas Brothers and their work with their own organization, the Change for the Children Foundation.

Other celebs on the top of the giving/earning for charity list included: Taylor Swift, Dave Matthews, Bette Midler, Larry David, Alec Baldwin, and Bruce Springsteen.

Musicians on Call

Are you musical? Want to hang out and do the same work as artists like Seal, Carrie Underwood, John Mayer, Rob Thomas, musiciansSheryl Crow, Taylor Swift, Jason Mraz, Kelly Rowland, Maroon 5, Daughtry, the Bacon Brothers, Brad Paisley, Avril Lavigne, and more? Musicians on Call is a charitable organization that brings the healing power of music to the bedsides of patients in healthcare facilities. The one-on-one contact between musician and patient is intimate and does wonders for mood and energy. While some of the leaders of the music industry lend their time and talent, you don’t have to sell out stadium arenas to be a part of this. Volunteer musicians are needed in New York, Philadelphia, Nashville, and Miami. Non-musicians can also help as guides who accompany musicians at performances and act as a liaison between the musician and hospital staff. MOC is also expanding the programs to Veteran’s hospitals nationwide, so you can jump in by signing up here.

One Song at a Time




I should probably strive to not let this bother me so much…but I’m having a really hard time with the tremendous (and tremendously public) lack of basic human respect these days. Three of the top news stories of the past several days are about low-class/no-class arrogant exhibitions of disrespect. Serena Williams is not a third grader on the playground, she is a seasoned professional who has played a ton of tennis and undoubtedly disagreed with more calls than most of us will ever hear…but her outburst at the US Open was childish, graceless, and appropriately smacked down.

Kanye West somehow decided his own arrogance superseded the right of Taylor Swift (a teenager, I might add!) to enjoy her moment in the sun. Kanye’s idiocy sank to a new, no-class low and his stealing of the moment not only was theft from the rightful winner of the reward, he also stole the evening from Beyonce, who he thought he was championing–as she, in a graceful and sophisticated move, forfeited her own acceptance speech to allow Taylor to have her moment (if this is all sounding like code–google the Video Music Awards to see spoiled brat behavior taken to the extreme).

And where does Representative Joe Wilson get off shouting out during the President’s speech? Did you notice your job title? Representative?! Nobody wants to be represented by that crap. You can disagree with anything you want, but you cannot dismiss civility. He was clearly wanting to get the sniggering approval of his buddies nearby and a few playful punches in the arm as he forgot he wasn’t an eleven year old at a school assembly. His spotless professional judgment continues as he has begun signing autographs on photos of the moment of his outburst. Wow–sure–I trust you to make decisions.

Where is the penalty box in life? These folks need to spend some time there. Who has the dunce cap? These three heads are lined up to wear it and be put in the corner to be jeered at and laughed at. Sadly it’s a long, long line. Surely they didn’t have any foresight to see themselves on the other side of their in-the-moment actions, and how they would come out the other side looking like such spectacular asses.

Luckily, as an antidote to this epidemic of disrespect, there are beautiful, graceful examples of people reaching out in a way that is immensely respectful. The Care Through Touch Institute, led by Mary Ann Finch, provides massage, bodywork, healing, and empowerment for the poorest, often homeless people of San Francisco. Additionally there are life coaching, leadership skills building, meditation, art therapy–all provided in a safe, non-judgmental way in the Tenderloin.

Finch, who spent time working with Mother Teresa, said in a recent interview, “I want them to know that they’re valued, that they’re seen, because this is a population of people that are for the most part, unseen and untouched.” There are also international outreach programs for CTI–as well as plenty of volunteer opportunities…

Support programs and people who see respect as a basic human right, and need, and that not one person among us is undeserving of it. It makes us better, bigger people to reach out. Do you see an arena in your world where someone is being marginalized? How can you fill that hole and be a force for healing—an individual, a community, our society…?