Kim Kardashian to Sting: 10 celebrities who used star power for good in 2019

Reality TV personality Kim Kardashian is seen ahead of the World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) which is held in Yerevan, Armenia, October 7, 2019. — Picture by Vahram Baghdasaryan/Photolure via Reuters
Reality TV personality Kim Kardashian is seen ahead of the World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) which is held in Yerevan, Armenia, October 7, 2019. — Picture by Vahram Baghdasaryan/Photolure via Reuters

LONDON, Dec 31 — Celebrities were out in force in 2019 to lend their names and star spotlights to causes ranging from homelessness to climate change and indigenous rights.

Here are 10 celebrities who took a stand during the year to make a positive impact:

1. Ellen Page

Ellen Page poses at the premiere of 'The East' at the Arclight theatre in Hollywood, California May 28, 2013. — Reuters pic
Ellen Page poses at the premiere of 'The East' at the Arclight theatre in Hollywood, California May 28, 2013. — Reuters pic

Hollywood actress and Juno Oscar nominee directed her first film in 2019 spotlighting “environmental racism” and the plight of indigenous communities in her native Canada. The movie featured communities battling to stop the construction of a new dump and pushing for the cleanup of a contaminated waterway.

2. Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren arrives for the 90th Academy Awards in Los Angeles March 4, 2018. — Reuters pic
Helen Mirren arrives for the 90th Academy Awards in Los Angeles March 4, 2018. — Reuters pic

Oscar-winning British actress hit out against the “exponential rise in homelessness” across the globe as she took part in a charity appeal to sleep outdoors for a night in winter. Known for playing The Queen, Mirren said the global scourge of homelessness was “becoming much too big” and encouraged people to do more to support rough sleepers.

3. Kim Kardashian

The reality star and influential trend-setter used a trip to her native Armenia this year to support the global climate youth movement headed by activist Greta Thunberg. The Keeping Up With the Kardashians star also made waves in 2019 for supporting reform of the US criminal justice system and winning clemency for incarcerated women.

4. Sting

Singer Sting attends a news conference before the annual Nobel Peace Prize concert in Oslo December 11, 2016. — Reuters pic
Singer Sting attends a news conference before the annual Nobel Peace Prize concert in Oslo December 11, 2016. — Reuters pic

The British rocker was awarded an international prize for his work to protect the Amazon rainforest and its indigenous inhabitants, where the battle over land became more deadly this year. The musician, along with his wife, were recognised for their charitable foundation, the Rainforest Fund, which supports indigenous people.

5. Elif Shafak

Turkish-British author Elif Shafak poses with her book ‘10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World’ during the photo call for the authors shortlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize for Fiction in London October 13, 2019. — AFP pic
Turkish-British author Elif Shafak poses with her book ‘10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World’ during the photo call for the authors shortlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize for Fiction in London October 13, 2019. — AFP pic

The Turkish-British author called for more to be done to prevent the destruction of cultural property during war, from museums to libraries, in order to preserve communities. The novelist said “turbulent” political times called for extra protection of physical property and cultural heritage during conflicts.

6. Jaden Smith

Jaden Smith arrives for the 60th Grammy Awards on January 28, 2018, in New York. — AFP pic
Jaden Smith arrives for the 60th Grammy Awards on January 28, 2018, in New York. — AFP pic

US rapper and actor Jaden Smith urged young people rallying to fight climate change to engage their parents. The 21-year-old son of actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith joined mass youth-led protests that took place in cities around the world imploring world leaders to confront the climate crisis.

7. Ken Loach

Director Ken Loach, Palme d'Or award winner for his film 'I, Daniel Blake', poses during a photocall after the closing ceremony of the 69th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 22, 2016. — Reuters pic
Director Ken Loach, Palme d'Or award winner for his film 'I, Daniel Blake', poses during a photocall after the closing ceremony of the 69th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 22, 2016. — Reuters pic

The British film director made headlines in 2019 when he released his film: Sorry We Missed You, which warned of the “extreme exploitation” of workers by big tech firms. The 83-year-old said such business models could be called slavery and urged companies to look at the human impact of the gig-economy.

8. Cyndi Lauper

Cyndi Lauper performs during the WorldPride 2019 Opening Ceremony, a combined celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots and WorldPride 2019 in New York June 26, 2019. ― Reuters pic
Cyndi Lauper performs during the WorldPride 2019 Opening Ceremony, a combined celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots and WorldPride 2019 in New York June 26, 2019. ― Reuters pic

The US singer was awarded a United Nations’ social justice prize for her work to end LGBT+ youth homelessness. Best known for her ‘80s-era pop hits, Lauper said LGBT+ rights were human rights.

9. Zoe Saldana

US actress Zoe Saldana. — AFP pic
US actress Zoe Saldana. — AFP pic

Hollywood actress, who starred in blockbuster movies Avatar and Star Trek, spoke out in May in support of women’s equal rights. The US actress urged Hollywood to dismantle old-fashioned stereotypes to inspire global audiences.

10. Gareth Thomas

The former rugby international sports star’s decision to come out as HIV-positive this year made him a role model for millions of people living with the virus. The former Wales captain said he hoped his decision to post a video on Twitter would lead to greater public understanding of the issue. — Thomson Reuters Foundation

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