Pop politics

Rock and pop have been linked to social protest since the 1960s. But the advocacy role of major stars took on a whole new dimension when Irish pop star, Bob Geldoff, successfully raised over $100 million for African famine relief by organising the all-star televised Live Aid rock concerts in London and Philadelphia in July 1985.

Since then, several pop stars have become icons for good causes, not to mention headline political ones, like animal rights, debt relief and biotechnology. Major stars like Bono from U2 are de rigueur guests at large business forums and even political summits.

The photo here shows former US treasury secretary, Paul O’Neill, accompanying Bono on a visit to a community fish-smoking project in Ghana, in May 2002. The unlikely travelling companions were on a four-country fact-finding tour, also visiting South Africa, Uganda and Ethiopia. Bono’s aim was to persuade Mr O’Neill of the need for debt cancellation and more aid for Africa. Mr O’Neill was said to be unconvinced, so Bono did not find what he was looking for.

©OECD Observer No 235, December 2002




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