Alicia Keys and nearly two dozen other celebrities began an innovative HIV campaign on World AIDS Day by “killing” their social media identities for charity.
To support Keys’ Keep a Child Alive charity, the stars signed off of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Their Twitter and Facebook sites will remain active with information on how to donate, but the stars themselves will refrain from posting personal updates or new information to their social media profiles while the campaign is underway.
Supporters can donate $5 or $10 through text messages or through the Keep a Child Alive Web site. Once the charity’s $1 million goal is reached, the stars will resume posting on the sites.
Just two days after the campaign’s Dec. 1 launch, fans had contributed more than $200,500 to bring their favorites back to “life.”
“We’re trying to sort of make the remark: Why do we care so much about the death of one celebrity as opposed to millions and millions of people dying in the place that we’re all from,” said Leigh Blake, president and co-founder of Keep a Child Alive.
The campaign—which includes Usher, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Hudson, Serena Williams and Keys’ husband Swiss Beats—advertised celebrities photographed in coffins to symbolize their “digital deaths.”
The campaign hopes that the Web absence of these celebs, who have tremendous presences online, will entice fans to donate. Keys has more than 2.6 million followers on Twitter and almost 8 million fans on Facebook. But Lady Gaga may top the fans’ list, as some 24 million people “like” her on Facebook and 7.2 million follow the pop star on Twitter.
Charity leaders are also urging everyday people to similarly sacrifice their social media lives for the cause, which supports African and Indian families affected by HIV/AIDS.
“This is such a direct and instantly emotional way and a little sarcastic, you know, of a way to get people to pay attention,” Keys told the Associated Press.
“It’s so important to shock you to the point of waking up,” Keys told The Grio. “It’s not that people don’t care or it’s not that people don’t want to do something, it’s that they never thought of it quite like that.”