“Give us your fucking money!”

“ Give us your fucking money!” These words are now famously associated with one man, caring about one cause. Would you believe that these words were shouted to help feed starving children in war torn Africa?

A cause that makes you picture well dressed white people asking for you to donate a small amount of money as you flip past that program to a different channel. Or perhaps remembering your youth when the good children from school would carry an orange UNICEF box around their neck to collect small amounts of change while Trick Or Treating on Hallowe’en. Perhaps even a protest march shouting “Save Darfur” or a campus school group raising funds with Rick Mercer to buy mosquito nets.

An effort that is typically forgotten, mostly due to its place in the past is LiveAid, the concert to end world hunger. Tag lined ‘The Day the Music Changed The World’ it was one of the biggest events of the year 1985 and was organized with one cause. To do more than any other organization/benefit/protest had done to bring awareness and solutions to starving children in Africa. Bob Geldof and Midge Ure designed the concept and followed through with organizing this huge event, even though neither were corporate officials, politicians nor had a background in event planning. They were rock stars, background knowledge in guitar chords and percussion sets.

The duo’s initial concept inspired others as well, many who would never have taken interest in political activism.  Other rock stars, musicians, actors and celebrities all wanted to be included and to lend a hand to the cause. The event grew exponentially so that on July 13, 1985 there were two major concerts held simultaneously, one in Wembley Stadium in London and the other at the John F. Kennedy stadium in Philadelphia. Thousands upon thousands of people attended, some to hear their favourite bands, others to support the cause. Millions watched it on television in over a hundred nations. After sixteen hours of music, speeches and anthems not a single person watching questioned whether something needed to be done for the children of Africa.

An amazing experience this concert must have been. Just look at Phil Collins, who performed in both shows by timing his flight just right. Or being Billy Connolly and being able to announce that over 95% of television sets in the world were tuned into the concert. Or perhaps the best Queen performance ever, with Freddie Mercury who got the crowd stomping and clapping with choruses of ‘We Will Rock You’. Or perhaps even the patriotic anthems of ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ by Band Aid and ‘We Are The World’ by USA For Africa.

These concerts achieved so much in sixteen hours and created a worldwide cry for justice. It left Geldof to forever be considered a political activist and one of the first in a long line of celebrity diplomats. It was his speech at Wembley stadium that showed his frustration in the lack of action taken by political and world leaders. When he shouted “Give us the fucking money!” he wasn’t looking for a profit for himself, but instead for world nations to care for their fellow man.

It was Live Aid and Bob Geldof who started this phenomena of celebrity diplomacy. Never before had a celebrity seen a cause and tried so much to help. There had been small scale celebrity visits on behalf of the UN to third world nations such as Audrey Hepburns visit to children in Ethopia, but never the outcry and promise of change that Geldof’s concert idea created.

Twenty seven years later Geldof’s amazing music themed political activism is struggling to remain in the minds of the nations. Geldof himself is all but forgotten in this new age of music. The man, his cause, and his concert are an important part of music history and need to be remembered for the good that they accomplished and the movement they created.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/702700.stm

http://www.unicef.org/people/people_audrey_hepburn.html

http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1504968/live-aid-look-back.jhtml

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