In case you haven’t heard, Madonna has been banned from Malawi. Why? Apparently the celebrity’s star status has done more harm than good to the country.

I’m tempted to say, “I told you so.” But I won’t. Instead, I suggest that you watch this:


Wanted: Celebrity to Sell My Sh*t.

As you very well know by now, among other things, I write about celebrities and their philanthropic efforts (or lack thereof).

I think it’s a great thing when a celebrity can support a cause that is already well-established.  Surely, it can’t be denied that the right starlet aligned with a charity can mean major brand awareness and increased financial support.

However, should a celebrity be at the helm of an organization? Should they be Chief of Development or President and CEO of  an effort to put a dent in the ailments of our world?

My answer is hell no.

Dr. Huxtable as VP of Marketing, Texas Instruments

Dr. Huxtable as VP of Marketing, Texas Instruments

To be a savvy NPO leader requires years of study, finesse and expertise. Experience is the best teacher when it come to good organizational leadership. Further, there are thousands of highly qualified applicants in the pool.  Why add celebs into the mix?

So why, oh why, corporate America, do you choose celebs to not only endorse your goods, but take on ‘roles’ as well?

Marc Jacobs is  “creative director” for Diet Coke.  Justin Timberlake is “creative and musical curator” for Bud Light Platinum.  Alicia Keys  has a desk at BlackBerry. Beyonce wears a suit at Pepsi.

The list goes on and on. As someone who was in the entertainment industry for many years, I know that in fact, it isn’t these celebrities who are generating and acting on these ideas. It is likely those who support them and these companies.

Please, let’s stop insulting the intelligence of consumers and the millions who are out of work who could very well serve as marketing super-rockstars for way less.

I think celebs belong on a stage and should keep to using their super-powers for good not dollars.




While the world waits with baited breath for the premiere of the scandalous Lance Armstrong/Oprah interview today (and will learn of how his LIVESTRONG charity will or won’t be negatively impacted), my attention has been turned towards another cause.

Earlier this week, one of my heroes, Good Morning America Anchorwoman Robin Roberts, appeared on the show for the first time in more than four months since undergoing a bone marrow transplant.

While still recovering at her New York apartment, Robin announced that she had been cleared by her doctors to gradually come back to the popular news morning program with the target date being sometime in February.

When Robin revealed last year that she had been diagnosed with MDS, short for myelodysplastic syndrome, a rare blood and bone marrow disorder, some assumed she would be absent for six months to a year. But her body is responding well to the transplant from her older sister, Sally-Ann, according to her doctors.

In addition to this great news,  Robin’s illness and recovery has brought tremendous attention to the need for more bone marrow donor registrants of color via organizations such as Be The Match. For people with life-threatening blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma or other diseases, a cure exists. Be The Match connects patients with their donor match for a life-saving marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant.

It was over 7 years ago that my mother was lost to AML, a form of leukemia that could have been cured had she found a matching bone marrow donor.

To see Robin thrive means so much to me.

Further, Robin’s story of recovery is a shining example of how a cause can be supported INDIRECTLY by way of a spokesperson in a highly positive light without the direct ask of donations of any sort.

On Monday, she began the “process of re-entry,” as she described it, by waking up at 4 a.m. for the live interview, about the same time she used to wake up for the show. She said she would continue the process next week by doing a “dry run”: coming into the studio and getting dressed for the show, but not actually co-hosting it.

I’m rooting for her and can’t wait to see her back live from Times Square.


The Magic of 12.12.12.

Today’s a special one.

When I consider the fact that the month, day and year all match and will not happen again for another 80 or so years, I almost feel like I need to make a wish or play a scratch off card or something.  I do know that later on, I,  like millions more will be tuned in to the 12.12.12 Sandy Relief Concert.   12_12_12

Some of the largest names in the music industry will hit that stage at Madison Square Garden for the global charity concert event. Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, Dave Grohl, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Chris Martin, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Roger Waters, Kanye West, Eddie Vedder, The Who and Paul McCartney will perform at the one-night concert  to begin in a few hours ( 7:30 p.m. EST ).

Between TV, radio and online streaming on YouTube, Hulu, AOL, iHeartRadio and Time Inc brands, the concert will reach nearly 2 billion homes worldwide as the most widely distributed music event in history. Several movie theaters in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will screen the concert as well.

Proceeds will benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy through the Robin Hood Relief Fund.

Foursquare will offer a single-day badge — the Be Robin Hood badge — which you can unlock by checking in anywhere in the world with the hashtag #121212concert. The first 25,000 checkins will trigger $10 donations from Samsung Galaxy, up to $250,000.  You can give one of Facebook’s new charitable Facebook Gifts to 12-12-12, one of the new product’s launch partners, which will go to the Robin Hood Relief Fund.

There will be curated feeds of tweets with the hashtag #121212concert on display at Madison Square Garden during the performances.

Robin Hood will distribute the funds to different community non-profits in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The anti-poverty non-profit, with the help of McKinsey analysts, have determined how to best use the funds raised to reach those most in need following the storm.

Sounds like magic, right?

Celebs Help Obama with GOTV

Everyone knows that with the right people in your corner, anything is possible. That is exactly the case when it comes to celebrities hitting the campaign trail to support President Obama in his re-election efforts.

POTUS has got an impressive 181 (and counting) stars who have is back. Athletes, musicians and actors are all lending a hand – knocking on doors, calling constituents  who reside in swing-states and participating in rallies alongside him.

This past Saturday, Stevie Wonder played an unannounced concert for voters waiting in line to vote early in Cleveland. Wonder opened a rally for Obama by rocking the arena at the University of Cincinnati with a rendition of “Keep on Running.” Songwriter John Legend, actor Laurence Fishburne, and congressman and civil rights hero John Lewis, D-Ga., were among those who went to Ohio to lead a “Souls to the Polls” effort with local churches. Danny DeVito and members of the FX sitcom “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” have canvassed neighborhoods in Wisconsin, made phone calls and visited colleges in the state.

Also included: Ice Cube, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, John Legend, John Mellencamp, Jason Mraz, Maya Angelou, Chris Rock, Justin Long, Jon Hamm, Maggie Gyllenaal, Chanel Iman, Katy Perry, Bruce Springsteen and Sheryl Crow.
Celebrity sells. Now get off your butt and go vote.

E = Roc Nation (Squared)

After meeting Mayor Corey Booker last Saturday at the #FOCUS100 conference, I thought I was on a birthday roll. Turns out, Jay Z was competing with me.

I had the pleasure of taking in the final Jay Z concert at Barclay’s Center on my birthday and to say that I had a blast would be an understatement. It was 3 hours of rapping along with Jay as he performed his classics and new stuff. And then there was the surprise Beyoncé appearance…words escape me at this moment.

What was really different about Jay’s show is that throughout, he sprinkled words of inspiration and encouragement that reflected his journey to perform before the intimate crowd of 18,000. My fave?: “I believe everyone in here has genius level talent – outside noise just gets in the way. Don’t let anyone put their fears or insecurities on your dreams.”

Can I Get an Encore?

Wow. Who knew Jay could be so deep?

Jigga is on a mentorship/giveback roll it seems. It was just announced that he signed a math teacher to his Roc Nation family. That’s right, Mr. Jovan Miles, a math academic coach and educator working out of Atlanta, GA., joins the likes of Rihanna and J-Cole. The signing marks the first time a record label has signed an educator to a major rap label of Roc Nation’s stature.

“Think about it like a grant. Yeah, I called myself the Kennedy of the game, but now call me the MacArthur of the game, too. Genius,” remarked S.Carter.

I don’t know about you but I’m interested to see what will come of this.

Cory and I.

How to Silence Kim Kardashian (for a Day).

This week , Kim Kardashian will shut up. Well, it’ll only be on Twitter and Facebook. And it’ll only be for 24-hours. Because it’s for a good cause, that is more than enough for me.



In honor of World Aids Day (12.1.10) Kim, Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Usher,  Ryan Seacrest, Jennifer Hudson, my homie Serena Williams and more will, ‘sacrifice’ his or her own digital life: They will ‘die’ (stop communicating ) via Twitter and Facebook for a full day and night and they will not be resuscitated until their fans ‘buy’ their lives back (that is, donate $1 million to the Keep A Child Alive Foundation, which finances medical care and support services for children and families affected by H.I.V. and AIDS in Africa and India).

About two months ago, Keys and her charity’s co-founder, Leigh Blake, started Buy Life, which sells $35 gray T-shirts imprinted with a bar code. People who have uploaded a Stickybits or Wimo application to their smartphones can donate $10 to Keep a Child Alive simply by scanning any Buy Life T-shirt’s bar code.

They call it ‘Impulse Giving.’ I call it smart.  Find out more.