Cause Celeb

Can Star Power Create Social Change?

Celebs: Luciano Pavarotti and Spike Lee

Cause: Child victims of the Liberian civil war

What they’ve done: Luciano starred in, and Spike directed, a benefit concert on June 9 in Modena, Italy, under the auspices of the British charity War Child. Other guests: Stevie Wonder and the Spice Girls.

What celebs get: Spike tells Gannett News Service that the concert gave him a chance to work with “my old pal Stevie [and] my new best friend, Luciano.” Luciano tells Knight-Ridder, “The idea of singing with the Spice Girls is intriguing. Their music is choral and seems especially made to draw me in.”

What cause gets: Money and attention

Connection between celeb and cause: Even figuring out the connection between the talents who were involved is difficult. But it’s hard to find anyone unsympathetic to war orphans.

Chance celeb will humiliate cause: Possible. Luciano seems above public reproach. But Spike is a tough talker: He blamed his 1998 documentary Oscar loss on being up against a movie with a Holocaust-related theme. What good did they do? It takes awhile for money to flow into overseas war zones, but War Child, formed in 1993 by former BBC filmmakers horrified by what they’d seen in Bosnia, has a decent track record of getting bread and insulin into war zones. Profits from past Pavarotti War Child benefits opened a music and arts center for kids in Mostar, Bosnia.