More

A Bunch Of Celebrities Recorded A Song To Raise Money For Ebola. Meet One Who Said, 'No Thanks.'

In November 2014, singer-songwriter Bob Geldof recorded a revamped version of Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" with a bunch of celebrities like Bono, Seal, Chris Martin from Coldplay, Sinéad O'Connor, and One Direction to raise money to fight the Ebola crisis.

A Bunch Of Celebrities Recorded A Song To Raise Money For Ebola. Meet One Who Said, 'No Thanks.'

Look at all these happy celebrities!

But there's one celeb who turned down the offer. Meet Fuse ODG.


Fuse ODG is an English musician of Ghanaian decent who's had some pretty successful hits over in the U.K. He's also the founding member of TINA, which stands for This Is New Africa, a movement aimed at rebuilding, empowering, and showing the beautiful sides of Africa. When it came time to put together celebrities for the Band Aid video, Geldof reached out to Fuse ODG, thinking it would be a perfect fit.

Fuse ODG almost jumped at the chance to be part of Band Aid, until he heard these lyrics...



Uh. Bono? The people of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea know what Christmas is, but since most of them are Muslim they probably don't care.

But that's a lot better than the original 1984 lyrics...





Ah yes, be thankful someone else is dying tonight and not you! Thank goodness they took that line out. Yikes. The 2014 version of "Do They Know It's Christmas?" has been extremely successful since its release, with over a million views in a few days and over a million dollars raised for the Ebola crisis. Fuse penned an op-ed for The Guardian titled "Why I Had to Turn Down Band Aid," and four quotes really stuck out to me.

Here's what Fuse had to say about "Do They Know It's Christmas?":

But it wasn't just the lyrics that made the project so cringeworthy. For some reason, the music video opens with a clip of a half-clothed woman (who appears to be near death or possibly dead) being carried from her home by men in hazmat suits. What a way to start a music video, huh?

Fuse on how we talk about the Ebola crisis and its victims:

I really appreciate that Fuse stressed in his article that the intentions of Band Aid were no doubt good and that we have to be careful about the way we talk about the people of Africa and those who are affected by Ebola. Africa is not a monolith where everyone is starving and living in poverty, and efforts that frame this rich continent as such do more harm than good.

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather
True

Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

While most 10-year-olds are playing Minecraft, riding bikes, or watching YouTube videos, Justin Sather is intent on saving the planet. And it all started with a frog blanket when he was a baby.

"He carried it everywhere," Justin's mom tells us. "He had frog everything, even a frog-themed birthday party."

In kindergarten, Justin learned that frogs are an indicator species – animals, plants, or microorganisms used to monitor drastic changes in our environment. With nearly one-third of frog species on the verge of extinction due to pollution, pesticides, contaminated water, and habitat destruction, Justin realized that his little amphibian friends had something important to say.

"The frogs are telling us the planet needs our help," says Justin.

While it was his love of frogs that led him to understand how important the species are to our ecosystem, it wasn't until he read the children's book What Do You Do With An Idea by Kobi Yamada that Justin-the-activist was born.

Inspired by the book and with his mother's help, he set out on a mission to raise funds for frog habitats by selling toy frogs in his Los Angeles neighborhood. But it was his frog art which incorporated scientific facts that caught people's attention. Justin's message spread from neighbor to neighbor and through social media; so much so that he was able to raise $2,000 for the non-profit Save The Frogs.

And while many kids might have their 8th birthday party at a laser tag center or a waterslide park, Justin invited his friends to the Ballona wetlands ecological preserve to pick invasive weeds and discuss the harms of plastic pollution.

Justin's determination to save the frogs and help the planet got a massive boost when he met legendary conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall.

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather

At one of her Roots and Shoots youth initiative events, Dr. Goodall was so impressed with Justin's enthusiasm for helping frogs, she challenged the young activist to take it one step further and focus on plastic pollution as well. Justin accepted her challenge and soon after was featured in an issue of Bravery Magazine dedicated to Jane Goodall.

Keep Reading Show less

This article originally appeared on 06.16.15


A lot of parents are tired of being told how technology is screwing up their kids.

Moms and dads of the digital age are well aware of the growing competition for their children's attention, and they're bombarded at each turn of the page or click of the mouse with both cutting-edge ideas and newfound worries for raising great kids.

Keep Reading Show less