Congratulations, you hate Justin Bieber. Who doesn’t? *
But did you know that the world’s most annoying Canadian spent time recently personally building a school in the Guatemalan jungle? How did you spend your weekend? Mowing the lawn? Sure, you probably weren’t being paid good money to perform a concert in Guatemala City like the Beeb, but even then, be fair: there were other ways to spend his Sunday.
It turns out Bieber is involved in a charity, the Pencils of Promise, and it was that charity looking to insta-build a school for poor local kids, so Bieber gamely whistled his helicopter and flew in to help.
“It was a wake up call,” Bieber said in a video reflecting on the day. “Any problem I have is nothing at all. These kids have nothing at all. They have absolutely nothing. No food, no water, no education, and yet we’re stressing over little things.”
Way to go, JB. It almost makes you overlook every other day of the week where he does things like abandoning his ever-loving monkey in Germany or throwing offensive amounts of cash at strippers at an alcohol-free strip club (such a place exists?) in Houston, if you believe the exotic dancer, Diamond, who ratted him out. And personally I do.
The Bieber Conundrum (copyright pending on that term) illustrates a wider point, though. For every endlessly-publicised Miley Cyrus embarrassment, or the latest Chris Brown arrest, there is a celebrity using their fame and fortune for good instead of evil.
But being recognised as a genuine, famous do-gooder takes a lot of work. Jungle hammering or not, Bieber rated LAST in a recent Forbes study of which celebrities boast the most valuable charity relationships. The study boasted a complicated methodology but stars were rated on their potential charity value, and what they actually add, in terms of publicity and awareness.
And so rocker Jon Bon Jovi unexpectedly stands supreme, for heavily supporting the Soul Kitchen, where strugglers pay what they can afford for a decent meal. Paul McCartney was seen to have brought in more than $1 million for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and, of course, (Saint) Bono rated highly, just for being involved in everything.
Meanwhile, away from Forbes’ gaze, Oprah Winfrey’s Angels Foundation raised a lazy $US80 million or so for international causes, Andre Agassi and Sir Elton John teamed to help disadvantaged kids get better education and Four Weddings and a Funeral actor Andie McDowell worked quietly but effectively to help the American Heart Association.
The list goes on. It’s hardly a revelation that Bad News gets a lot more media space than Good News, so the chances are that you don’t know about Jada Pinkett-Smith and her daughter Willow fighting human trafficking, Peter Andre personally washing cars at British Peugeot dealerships to raise cash for the Children in Need charity or razor sharp comedienne Sarah Silverman holding a Halloween concert at the Highline Ballroom in New York for the National Hemophilia Foundation.
Whether you’re a fan of these stars or not, you have to like what they’re doing. Even the Biebmeister.
* (Wild assumption here that not many 12-year-old American girls are reading The New Daily. If I’m wrong, forgive me, Bieber Army. I am one of you!)