On Wednesday, some of the country’s biggest pop stars will raise awareness in an unforeseen way -- by shutting up. On December 1, World AIDS Day, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, and more will participate in the new Digital Life Sacrifice campaign.
The movement is spearheaded by Keys’ charity, Keep a Child Alive; for it, the celebrities will sign off on social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, until foundation raises $1 million.
As Keys, a New York native, explained in a recent interview:
"It's really important and super-cool to use mediums that we naturally are on. It's so important to shock you to the point of waking up. 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. This is such a direct and instantly emotional way and a little sarcastic, you know, of a way to get people to pay attention."
Other musicians to pledge to the Digital Life Sacrifice campaign include singers Jennifer Hudson and Janelle Monae, as well as Keys’ husband, producer Swizz Beatz. Many have recorded “last tweet and testament” videos that include footage of them lying in coffins for their cyber-deaths – an idea that does first strike of glibness, which Keys was quick to clarify. "This is such a direct and instantly emotional way and a little sarcastic, you know, of a way to get people to pay attention,” she said.
Keys’ Keep a Child Alive foundation was formed in 2003 and will accept donations via text messages.
Too bad 50 Cent and his Twitter aren’t involved in Digital Life Sacrifice -- we’d pay quite a bit to permanently silence his homophobic, misogynistic little witticisms. But good on ya, Keys, for both raising awareness for the AIDS crisis and inverting the celebrity talking-head paradigm entirely.