Thursday night, Billabong and Paramount Studios hosted the 4th annual Design For Humanity event to raise money and awareness for Invisible Children, a non-profit that helps children and families affected by the war in Uganda.
I’ve been a supporter of Invisible Children for sometime now, as when I helped begin The Voice Project, Invisible Children was a model for what we wanted to achieve. The atrocities going on there are unbelievable. Joseph Kony is currently terrorizing five countries and it’s the longest running conflict on the continent of Africa, yet no one seems to know about it.
I admit I was a bit dubious about a bikini fashion show and block party helping the cause, but with popular artists such as Fischerspooner and Kid Sister on the bill, I was hoping for a fervent crowd of people ready to pitch in and make a difference.
The New York Streets of Paramount were decked out with food trucks, step and pose red carpets, the Hit + Run t shirt silk screening stations, Carmichael art gallery auctions, live art stations and, of course a Lakers/Celtics screen so the Lakers fans could watch their team go down in flames.
Different sections had popular DJs like Classixx and Pase Rock spinning for the upwardly mobile hipster crowd who swilled drinks and noshed for the charity while they waited for the fashion show and upcoming musical performances.
As we sat awaiting the beginning of the fashion show, a film reel began, showing the Invisible Children efforts in Uganda…only to be drowned out by a DJ playing ‘Bust A Move’ by Young MC. Now, I’m a fan of busting a move and early nineties novelty songs. Who isn’t? But shouldn’t there be an ounce of gravitas given the nature of the film being shown? No? OK, moving on.
As a whole, the event was mildly entertaining. Billabong designed for humanity, if humanity is going to start dressing like the jail bait waifs on the new 90210.
Kid Sister was a little like watching your kid sister put on a show. Then, Casey Spooner led his Tharpy twitchy dancers in a revamped version of his show, Between Worlds, sans the musical albatross around his neck, “Emerge”.
After, my friend and I headed to the Invisible Children exhibit set up in a store-front across from the Carmichael gallery. There patrons could see the film reel, unfettered by MCs, rappers or movers, busting. There were also photographs of the children forced to fight in the war all around the room as well as the weapons they were forced to use, on display.
It was a sobering moment and one that makes you count your blessings.
Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a gaggle of girls in skin tight party dresses holding the guns, gangsta style, taking sexy pictures with their Iphones. One after the other, they posed with these weapons between their legs, licking the guns, humping them. I was immediately nauseated.
Then a few other hipsters picked up the hand grenades in the exhibit and mimed lobbing them at each other in a photo op frenzy. This went on for over twenty minutes. Dozens and dozens of different disaffected creeps played paparazzi with the weapons with the giant pictures of child soldiers looming over their heads. After fighting the urge to vomit on their American Apparel onesies, I asked a few of them why they were taking these pictures.
“Well, like, everyone else was doing it, and we thought it was fun.” Said one girl who clearly knew her spirit animal was a soulless cockroach.
I understand the need to entertain people for the money they plunk down for a ticket to a charity event, for it to be ‘fun’…but feet away there is a movie showing a genocide. So maybe a PARTY isn’t the way to raise money and awareness anymore. Maybe bikinis, Young MC, and cosmo martinis isn’t the way to get the message across that shit is rough in other parts of the world. Hell, shit is rough RIGHT HERE.
The problem is, these people think nothing about plunking down $30-$150 bucks to hang out with Kid Sister on the Paramount lot and ogle girls in bikinis. They didn’t really have to do anything proactive. Hell, they can even buy the tickets from their freaking iphone. That is, if they’re not already on the guest list.
What they don’t have to do is change. Anything. Their behavior, the laws, American foreign policy, Uganda, war, or they way humans treat each other. Which was evident by the pushing at the line for the bar.
I’ve been to a lot of Hollywood charity events. I’ve even participated in some. Some raise good money and are helpful. But most of them are a bigger PR push for the DJs and club promoters/energy drink sponsors that throw them. I guarantee if you polled the guests leaving some of these events that less than half could tell you the cause they were drinking for.
So maybe instead of throwing events for charity, how about we take the money and give it DIRECTLY to the charity. Or INVEST it in helping the people who need it.
I hope this event raised a lot of money. It seemingly failed, to raise ANY awareness or consciousness. In fact, I think that it proved the average Hollywood hipster’s devolution and frankly I’m disgusted.
If you would like to learn more about, donate to or get involved with Invisible Children, please visit INVISIBLE CHILDREN