next up: providing places for kids to distance run in Ethiopia (cc)
will.i.am, best known in social-awareness circles for the inspiring if over-deifying 'Yes We Can' video he put together during the 2008 presidential campaign (i'll link it, not embed it, so you can choose whether or not to revisit february of 2008.), is starting a new media/awareness campaign, Africa Ten, to coincide with the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. They're releasing a documentary film on ten pro soccer players from ten different African nations coming home to compete for the World Cup and putting on a concert in Jo'burg during the World Cup festivities. The beneficiary of the proceeds from this project, you may ask? Well, according to will.i.am, the money will go to help build places for kids in Africa to play soccer.
Stop the train. Isn't the beauty of soccer the fact that all you need is a ball, feet, and an empty field? Isn't there no shortage of empty fields in Africa? Don't lots of, if not all, kids in South Africa play soccer? Isn't the national obsession with soccer in South Africa and other African nations the reason that the World Cup is coming? '
Okay, to be fair to will.i.am and his shorthand, the official bio of the company says this:
we will create global exposure benefiting our sponsors, partners, and charitable causes, as well as generate a steady stream of income that, after a return on the initial investment, will flow directly into our African based charitable foundation. The foundation will focus grants initially on existing sports-based charities that have a proven track-record delivering on systemic improvements in health and education across Africa.So it's a media company with a social-awareness angle, not a straight-up charity, and to be fair, he didn't portray it as one. Plus, 'existing sports-based charities that have a proven track-record delivering on systemic improvements in health and education across Africa' sounds a lot better than 'providing sod and white spray paint to newly-created intramural soccer programs across Africa.' Either way, it's always discouraging to see the Oprah platform used to suck all the nuance out of important issues in the name of increased exposure.
At any rate, here's the Black-Eyed Peas' hit for your viewing pleasure:
cross-posted at a waterblog