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Dublin: 2 °C Sunday 18 March, 2018

In a year of horror, let's hear it for these 13 celebrities who used their power for good in 2017

More of this in 2018, please.

PastedImage-11232 Source: PA Images

2017 WILL LIKELY go down in history as a year of downfalls. After all, it was a year in which we saw famous men from a whole host of professions outed as sexual predators. The world of entertainment has been rocked in particular with multiple allegations leveled against the likes of Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman, Russell Simmons, Brett Ratner, Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose, among others.

As it’s Christmas, however, I have decided not to dwell on these horrific monsters, but to focus attention on some of the nice things celebrities did this year. I’m talking about celebrities who helped others and wielded their power to affect positive change. Nice celebrities, we salute you.


Adelechelsea Source: London Fire Brigade

Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, Adele visited the scene to comfort locals and bystanders. A few days later, she surprised firefighters at Chelsea Fire Station, bringing cake to thank them for their efforts and graciously posing for photos.

She has done her utmost to keep Grenfell Tower at the fore of people’s memories, imploring fans at her Wembley concert to donate £5 to Unite For Grenfell in lieu of spending it on “overpriced wine” at the venue. Last week, she shared a link to a petition calling on Prime Minister Theresa May to “build public trust in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry”. Yesterday, she attended a memorial service for the victims in St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Ariana Grande

inspired @reebok 🐣

A post shared by Ariana Grande (@arianagrande) on

On May 22nd, 23 people lost their lives in a terrorist attack at an Ariana Grande concert in the Manchester Evening News Arena. Many would have understood had the singer retreated from the public eye in the aftermath of such a traumatic event.

Instead, the 23-year-old found the fortitude to stage One Love Manchester, a star-studded concert that not only helped the city of Manchester to recover from the incident and raised much-needed funds for victims of the tragedy, but helped restore people’s faith in humanity in a moment of darkness. Just watch her sing Somewhere Over The Rainbow and try not to be moved.

Ashley Judd

When The New York Times published its first bombshell exposé on Harvey Weinstein, Ashley Judd was the only high-profile woman to speak on the record about her experiences with the powerhouse producer. Since then, women like Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Cara Delevingne, Salma Hayek, Lupita Nyong’o and Rose McGowan have made allegations against Weinstein. Without a famous name like Judd bravely speaking out, it’s hard to imagine that the #MeToo moment would have happened in quite the same way. Bravo.

Bruno Mars


A post shared by Bruno Mars (@brunomars) on

In August, Bruno Mars donated a whopping $1 million to assist with the ongoing Flint water crisis, which saw residents exposed to lead-filled water for two years and neglected by the authorities. “Ongoing challenges remain years later for Flint residents, and it’s important that we don’t forget our brothers and sisters affected by this disaster,” he said in a statement. “As people, especially as Americans, we need to stand together to make sure something like this never happens in any community ever again.”

Chris Martin

Sometimes it’s nice to know that certain celebrities are sound. Earlier this year, Chris Martin bumped into a fan who had paid above the asking price for a ticket to Coldplay’s Croke Park gig and reimbursed him €50. Nice one.

Chrissy Teigen

This year, Chrissy Teigen $5,605 to a fan who was crowdfunding for her beauty school tuition. “I’ve seen this be your passion for such a long time now,” she wrote. “So excited to see you fulfill your dream!” A reminder that sometimes it’s just nice to be nice.

Dolly Parton

Homemade presents are sometimes the most thoughtful of all. Don't you agree?

A post shared by Dolly Parton (@dollyparton) on

Last November, wildfires ravaged hundreds of homes in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Country singer Dolly Parton stepped up and gave $1,000 per month to each of the families affected by the fires for a period of six months.

At the end of the six months, the family received another $5,000 check, raising the total each family received to $10,000. A survey conducted among recipients of the checks found that this was a far more beneficial means of assisting families affected by natural disaster, and much more preferable to receiving other forms of donations or money with strings attached. Dolly Parton: hero.

Jermain Defoe

Millions were touched by six-year-old Bradley Lowery and his fight against cancer. During his all-too-short life, Lowery befriended Sunderland’s Jermain Defoe, who went above and beyond to show compassion to the little boy and his family. Just days before he passed away, Defoe visited Lowery to bid farewell.

“Late last night his best friend Jermain come to visit him and it was so heart warming seeing how Bradley reacted,” his family wrote. “He was so happy and laid for ages getting cuddles. Bradley was really relaxed with him.” A gorgeous, selfless act.

Lil Jon

liljon Source: Instagram

This year, Lil Jon helped fund and open a primary school in Ghana, and dedicated it to the memory of his late mother. There’s a sentence we bet you never thought you’d read, eh?

Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman at the CFDA Awards in New York on 5 June 2017 #nicolekidman

A post shared by Nicole Kidman (@nicolekidmanfan) on

With her performance in Big Little Lies, Nicole Kidman helped shed a light on domestic violence and gave a voice to the voiceless. In accepting her Emmy Award, she delivered a powerful message about domestic abuse.

Sometimes when you’re acting, you get a chance to bring a bigger message – we shine a light on domestic abuse. It is a complicated, insidious disease that exists far more than we allow ourselves to know. It is filled with shame, secrecy and by you acknowledging me with this award, it shines a light on it even more. So thank you, thank you, thank you. I bow down to you.

We bow down to you, Nicole.

Octavia Spencer

This year, Octavia Spencer starred in Hidden Figures, an inspirational and heartwarming film about the African-American female scientists and mathematicians who helped NASA send a man into space.

In January, she bought out a screening in the Baldwin Hills neighbourhood of Los Angeles to allow low-income families see the film. “If you know a family in need that would like to see our movie but can’t afford it have them come,” she wrote. “It’s first come first served. My mom would not have been able to afford to take me and my siblings.”


Remember Pitbull, the rapper who famously rhymed Kodak with Kodak? It turns out he’s a pretty decent skin. After Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria, the rapper allowed his private planes to be used to transport cancer patients from Puerto Rico to the United States. “Thank God we’re blessed to help,” he told New York Daily News. “Just doing my part.”


This year, Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation partnered with bike-sharing company Ofo to help hundreds of girls in Malawi to attend secondary school. Children in Malawi often have to travel long distances to attend school, so this campaign will give eligible students bicycles to help them ago to school.

I’m so happy about the Clara Lionel Foundation’s new partnership with Ofo because it will help so many young people around the world receive a quality education. And also help the young girls of Malawi get to school safely, cutting down those very long walks they make to and from school all alone.

More of this in 2018, please.

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