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Usher, Gaga not Role Model Material

A steady beat permeates the atmosphere as a dark silhouette steps on stage. Cheers ripple through the crowd of teens and twenty-something’s and build to an uproar. Usher is onstage. The infamous hip-hop artist flashes a charming smile but instead of belting out another lyric, Usher spills motivational stories from used-to-be dysfunctional teens. He’s promoting his charity-organization appropriately named Usher’s New Look.

Like many other celebrities, Usher has become an icon not only because of his talents, but because of his “caring spirit.” A non-profit organization dedicated to reach youth from a variety of backgrounds, New Look says its main aim is to teach these young people about the business side of the sports and entertainment industries. The growing organization boasts a feat of mentoring more than 1,300 disadvantaged youth and has taken their innovative programs overseas.

The ‘celebrity charity craze’ could most likely be recognized through the globetrotting movie star couple of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Younger generations, however, might be more enthused by the well-meaning efforts of High School Musical alumni Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, who both support Habitat for Humanity and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Another actress, Christina Applegate, invested energy into organizations that targeted cancer after she herself was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. She is currently the spokesperson for Lee National Denim Day which raises funds for breast cancer education and research.

Unfortunately, more questionable characters are often at the forefront of organizations and charities that the general public, including impressionable young people, support. Look to the Stars reported that after getting into trouble with PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) for wearing fur, Lindsay Lohan is now an enthusiastic anti-fur campaigner. Could it be that after getting into trouble with the LAW for consistent drug and alcohol abuse Miss Lohan will be happily promoting Above the Influence and D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education)?

Lady Gaga provides another interesting example of this clashing duo of reputation and principle. The stripper turned song-writer turned song-singer drew attention with her work on the M.A.C. cosmetics AIDS Fund campaign in which she co-starred. “We want women to…feel strong enough to protect themselves, “ commented Gaga. If only the star’s explicit lyrics and risqué outfits enhanced this idea of feminine strength and respect.

Usher, previously mentioned as founder of Usher’s New Look foundation, shared, “Somebody has to look out for and protect our kids, and I feel blessed to be a blessing to someone else.” Great thought. But doesn’t he know that the same kids he is building up and encouraging are listening to conflicting messages as he ogles women and contemplates infidelity in his songs?

Ultimately there’s a lesson for everyone; it all comes down to character and a personal decision to represent who you really are. Usher, Lohan and Gaga aren’t that different from a random person plucked off the street. As unfair as it might be, celebrities get the flack because they get the attention. However, the old reminder does indeed say it best: Actions DO speak louder than words.



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gaga-fan28 said...
Oct. 13, 2010 at 6:10 pm
Lady Gaga's risque outfits are one of my favorite things about her. I don't think that blaming every person who dresses revealingly sets the standard for all other women. If someone looks at a random girl, they're most probably not going to think, "Because Lady Gaga never wears pants, this girl must be a slut as well." It doesn't work that way. Sure, they might think Lady Gaga's a slut, but she's actually celibate at the moment, according to news reports. That makes her a good role model, no? He... (more »)
 
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