Celebrities Who Care
Words By – Josephine Agbonkhese
Beyond the glitz and glamour by which they are commonly associated, many celebrities are redefining what it means to be a celebrity. These celebrities have, consistently and passionately, worked to move the needle on causes they believe in, using their fame and status.
From anti-bullying to maternal health, better governance, improved welfare for the poor, youth empowerment, healthy living and more, such celebrities like Falz, DJ Cuppy, Williams Uchemba, Stephanie Okereke-Linus, to mention but few, are going as far as committing their resources to make a real difference in the world. Some, via their own organisations, and others, through partnerships with existing nonprofits seeking to advance similar causes.
Find out in todays Allure what causes some of your favourite celebrities are fighting for..
Cause: Womens Reproductive Rights
Ace actress, film maker and entrepreneur, Stephanie Okereke-Linus, has stayed true to her goal of restoring hope and putting smiles on the faces of women. Since the establishment of her nonprofit, Extended Hands Foundation, she has focused on helping women with Vesico Vaginal Fistula, VVFa serious disability that can be experienced by underage girls after childbirth, giving them a chance at living normal lives through free repair surgeries. Cases of VVF are especially prevalent in northern Nigeria where certain traditions, poverty or family pressure force hundreds of girls to get married and have children in their early teens before the pelvis is well developed and ready to handle childbirth.
Okereke-Linus also advocates against early child marriage, human trafficking and policies that do not protect girls and women. Her movie, Dry was also used to create awareness about VVF.
Since the foundation was founded, it has made donations to many Fistula hospitals and partnered various organisations in carrying out repair surgeries on women with VVF.
Cause: Social Development/Good Governance
Best known by his stage name Falz, Folarin Falana has commanded great attention for using his voice to speak out about social and political issues since he stormed the music scene. In 2017, the singer/actor released Child of the World, a song which highlighted the trauma of girls that are sexually abused. In 2018, he released This is Nigeria, a song which addressed a number of societal issues prevalent in Nigeria, including police brutality, codeine abuse, and unrestrained killings.
After releasing two protest songs, Hypocrite and E no Finish, in 2019 where he chided peoples lip service to the rule of law and corruption, in 2020, Falz was marching on the streets with thousands of Nigerian youths for the EndSARS protest, which sought an end to police brutality. His neutral role of encouraging the youths to vote massively in the 2023 general elections will remain evergreen.
Cause: Decent Living for the Poor
Though he began his career in the early 2000s as a child actor, William Uchemba has engaged in much more than just acting. The comedian and brand influencer has literally become synonymous with philanthropy.
Uchemba, who once revealed he was neither born nor raised with a silver spoon, established the Williams Uchemba Foundation in 2018. The foundation, which began with a program aimed at taking 1,000 kids out of the streets and returning them to school, strives to transform the lives of over 5 million people in 100,000 plus communities across Nigeria.
Precisely, it is dedicated to providing possibilities for a decent living for children, young people, women, and men through social welfare, literacy, poverty eradication, community development, and job creation.
To encourage more people to become involved in charitable acts, Uchemba had in 2017 started a Give Challenge Tour. The Williams Uchemba Foundation also strives to ensure that parents have the means to keep their children out of the streets in the future.
Cause: Child Protection/Education
Florence Ifeoluwa Otedola, popularly known as DJ Cuppy, has put child protection and education of girls and persons with disabilities children at the forefront of her philanthropy.
Since the launch of her nonprofit, Cuppy Foundation, in 2018, over 9,000 persons have been reached in various ways. It has engaged heavily in sponsoring several individuals with physical disabilities through higher institutions, treated children suffering from acute malnutrition in northern Nigeria, educated young mothers, refurbished several health facilities and supplied Personal Protective Equipment, PPE, and Infection Prevention and Control, IPC, materials for COVID-19.
Cuppy carries out her work by partnering other organisations and charities including Save the Children UK, Save the Children International Nigeria, Angel for Life Foundation, Aliko Dangote Foundation, the Kaffy Foundation and the Kupe Foundation.
In April 2023, Cuppy, who strongly believes education is key to improving ones chances in life, donated the sum of £100k to Oxford University, UK, to assist African students pursuing a postgraduate degree at the university, through her recently launched Cuppy Arica Oxford Scholars Fund which aims to support future leaders from the continent with the education they deserve.
Reality star, Alexandra Asogwa, aka Alex Unsual, has remained extremely vocal about bullying among children. Since her emergence to limelight following the Big Brother Naija Season 3 in 2018, she has not only partnered various child-focused organisations but has also created a major platform for amplifying her voice against the abnormally.
In 2022, the star who says she was herself a pathetic victim of bullying as a child, hosted Unusual Fest, a 2-day anti-bullying academic, social and personal enrichment event for children and their families. The event, which was part of the actress long list of initiatives designed to enrich the lives of children through social development, also sought to eliminate mean behaviour among children.
Olamilekan Moshood Agbeleshe, popularly known as Laycon, has stayed passionate about sickle cell, a genetic blood disorder he also lives with. The Big Brother Naija Lockdown Season 5 winner became a Global Ambassador for the Sickle Cell Foundation Nigeria in 2020 and has not ceased to promote awareness about the disorder ever since. Aside campaigning for an end to the stigma and discrimination associated with the condition, he also has been generous with his resources by donating funds to the Sickle Cell Foundation Nigeria.
These donations allow for the subsidisation of treatments and drugs for sickle cell patients who throng its Idi-Araba-based centre in Lagos daily.
Cause: Healthy Living, Social Activism
Over the years, star actress, Kate Henshaw, has morphed into a powerful advocate for healthy living and fitness. The actress, who is also committed to issues of domestic violence, child molestation and a broad range of social activism, regularly partners organisations such as Project Alert on Violence Against Women and the Women at Risk International Foundation, WARIF.
As an advocate for healthy living, Kate shows up regularly on social media with workout videos and photos that make exercising attracting to even the most unenthusiastic soul.
The multiple-award-winning actress, who once revealed she is not the kind to stay quiet about things that bother her, has consistently lend her voice to various campaign movements in the country. She was at the Lekki Plaza Toll gates protests on the 17th of December, 2011, as well as the week-long protests in January tagged Occupy Nigeria in 2012.