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.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.