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FAME AND ISOLATION
The recent COVID-19 outbreak has most of us confined to our homes, practicing social distancing, and in some cases out of work for the time being. While this coronavirus disease has made it clear it is equally willing to infect the rich as it is the poor (Tom Hanks and Idris Elba have tested positive), there are notable differences in the way we deal with the sickness. The better-off one happens to be economically, the more advantages one has in combating the virus. Access to healthcare, the ability to leave work, and delivery options for food and services are all much more available to those with economic means.
As we all sit in relative isolation, many have become reliant on the internet for human connection. The masses are making use of platforms like Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, and live streaming not only more often, but in new and surprising ways. But while the demand for at-home entertainment has increased, the activity in television studios and movie lots has decidedly done the opposite. That affects the bottom line of professionals in the entertainment industry. While some appear to be content to ensconce themselves in their ivory towers to wait out the viral storm, other celebrities have stepped up to see what they can do to reach out in this time of crisis.
Here are just a few creative ideas that have come out of the spotlight:
Noel Fielding (@noelfielding11), the cheerful goth host of the Great British Baking Show, has turned his time toward hosting an art club instead. Each day, he presents a theme via his Twitter account and sets the invitation to send in artwork using #artclub. At the end of the day, he or one of his celebrity pals chooses a winner. There's no monetary prize, but the joy it seems to be spreading is priceless.
Chris Hemsworth (@chrishemsworth), the hunky star of The Avengers, Men In Black: International, and Thor is offering free access to his fitness app. Using a three-pronged approach to overall health (movement, nutrition, and mental fitness), Centr is being offered for six weeks free of charge. You do have to sign up for the app, of course, which is currently at the discounted rate of $10 per month, minimum. Unless you cancel, you'll be charged once the six weeks are over, so it's hard to say how much of this effort is altruism and how much is marketing.
Jennifer Garner and Amy Adams (#SaveWithStories) have called on their famous friends to help them raise money to benefit children. As schools close for fear of spreading coronavirus, not only are kids having to adjust to life without classes, many of them are losing out on meals too. To boost the efforts of Save the Children and No Kid Hungry, Adams and Garner started an Instagram trend where celebrities read a favorite kids book out loud. In return, they ask for a $10 donation that can be made via text. So far, Jeff Goldblum, Jimmy Fallon, Emilia Clarke, and Jake Gyllenhaal have joined the all-star roster of storytellers.
Zion Williamson (@zionwilliamson) who plays forward for the New Orleans Pelicans is recognizing the hardships being faced by stadium workers in the wake of the NBA season cancellation. He has generously announced that he will be covering all salaries for the workers of the local sports arena, the Smoothie King Center, for a month. The city has a long history of plagues and natural disasters, the latest of which residents are still recovering from. Williamson is hoping this economic helping hand will ease things in the Big Easy.
Krista Vernoff may not be known for her work in front of the camera, but behind it, she's produced Grey's Anatomy and Station 19. The studios are donating the much-needed N95 masks from those shows, as well as gowns and gloves, to their local fire stations. She joins the folks from The Resident (@theresidentonfox) who donated similar supplies to the Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.
Those are just a handful of outstanding examples of what some of those with means are doing to show support to their communities. There have been million-dollar donations from celebs to already-established charities in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak and a flood of streaming media from well-known outlets. Jimmy Fallon and Trever Noah have taken to broadcasting from their homes and are arguably more entertaining than they ever were in front of a studio audience. Perhaps one of my favorite, but maybe less impactful, efforts by the famous has come from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. In an entertaining PSA, they reprise some of their dialogue from Shaun of the Dead, warning, "do NOT go to the Winchester. The pub is out."
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels
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