The international star takes community activism digital
There's something to be said for artists who step from behind the soundboards and rest their mics simply to take a pause for a cause and pay it forward. Singer and activist Akon has done just that with a social action network and resource website entitled istheresomethingicando.com.
The Senegalese and Konvict Music crooner who gained notoriety for chart toppers such as "Locked Up," joined forces with composer-turned-singer Peter Buffett on his socially-conscious anthem “Anything” from his 2007 album ‘Staring At The Sun.’ Inspired by his voyage to West Africa nearly two years ago, Buffet's melodic tribute to the war-torn Sierra Leone and Liberia was introduced to Akon by a mutual friend the two share. Upon listening to the urgency of its message to galvanize people worldwide to aid in the country's recovery, Akon was reached out to Buffet to lend his vocals to a remix of the empowering and inspirational song.
“I enjoyed the song and wanted to be a part of it,” the Grammy-nominee recalled. “We share a common cause as far as what we want to do with our foundations and wanted to take our gift and expand it to another level to help others.”
As the founder of Konfidence, a non-profit organization that has rebuilt elementary schools and is helping to build a hospital in Senegal, Africa, Akon was strongly convicted (pun definitely intended) to devote time to help educate potential and future activists about how to achieve their philanthropic goals by building an online community that will provide them with necessary information and resources.
"You might see a situation that just bothers you that you want to do something about,” said Akon, “but you don’t know who to call, where to go or even how to make that situation happen and I think this website will actually give you the information to be able to get to that foundation or do something to help that particular situation. It creates another outlet to help.”
Buffet who has more than 25 years in the music biz as a composer, founded the Spirit Foundation in 1999 (now known as the NoVo Foundation) to raise $15 million dollars through the next six years to support the International Rescue Committee’s work in West Africa. The humanitarian hopes their online crusade will increase more public service to promote and broaden activism as well as educate millions about economical, social and political crises domestically and abroad. “The site right now is focused on places where people can go and realize that with a text message that they might be able to make a difference,” said Buffett. “We’re just trying to bring it to everybody’s attention and people can make their own decisions about what they want to do.”
The newly remixed hip-pop collabo “Anything” will be available as a free music download on the website and featured on both of the artists’s MySpace pages. However, Akon predicts its heartfelt message amid infectious grooves will permeate airwaves in the near future. “Eventually, it’s going to make it to radio," he smiled. "Once we blow it up online, it’s going to happen.”
For now, Akon and Buffet are hoping for an unprecedented digital revolution of philanthropy. “The impact that we’re already creating just from our inner circles has been crazy, so I can only imagine when we go public how far it’s going to go.”
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Shore Fire Media