DoSomething.org, the largest not-for-profit organization for young people and social change announces its eighth annual Celebs Gone Good list.
Celebs Gone Good recognizes the year’s top celebrities who use their star power for social change. This year’s biggest stars use their platforms to bring light to racial justice, transgender rights, feminism, gun control, and education.
There’s no doubt that Taylor Swift had a huge year. Her album 1989 dominated the charts and stadiums around the world. Just because Swift was busy touring the world with her #squad, doesn’t mean she stopped being charitable. Not only did Swift donate $50,000 to a young girl who had to miss one of her shows to undergo treatment for Leukemia, she also gave another $50,000 to the Seattle Symphony, another $50,000 to her backup dancer’s baby nephew fighting cancer, and donated 25,000 books to classrooms in New York City.
Miley Cyrus wowed us in many ways this year, but something that wasn’t surprising was she continued to use her platform to give back in a big way. Cyrus launched the Happy Hippie Foundation, an organization with a mission to rally young people to fight injustice facing homeless youth, LGBTQ youth and other vulnerable populations. Cyrus shared her large platform online and off with the most marginalized of LGBTQ youth, letting them take over her popular Instagram account and join her on the mainstage at MTV’s Video Music Awards.
Beyoncé prefers to do most of her charity in quiet, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t notice! Beyoncé and husband Jay-Z reportedly spent tens of thousands of dollars in bail money to help jailed protesters in Baltimore responding to the killing of the unarmed Freddie Gray, and also reportedly gave money to help expand #BlackLivesMatter.
Angelina Jolie Pitt worked tirelessly this year to help Syrian refugees. Jolie has been working with the UNHCR since 2012 and was recently promoted to Special Envoy for Refugee Issues. This year, she brought her daughter Shiloh on one of her humanitarian trips and wrote a stunning op-ed about the current refugee crisis in Syria for the U.K publication The Times that called on every nation to act. In addition, Jolie also followed up this year in the New York Times to her incredibly powerful piece about breast cancer and her double mastectomy.
In between his roles in Trainwreck and Sisters this year, WWE Superstar John Cena found time to grant wishes to Make-A-Wish kids. The Superstar holds the record for the most wishes granted through the organization, with more than 500.
This year, many celebrities used their platform to call out racial injustice and representation in the media. Zendaya's response to the discrimination she received for her hairstyle at this year’s Oscars sparked a national conversation about race and stereotypes. Viola Davis reminded us during her moving Emmy speech that “the only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity.”
Celebrities stepped up to support Planned Parenthood this year including John Legend and Chrissy Teigen who made donations after the mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado and encouraged fans to do the same. Lena Dunham was also very vocal about her support for Planned Parenthood and auctioned a sweater off of her back for the organization.
Newcomers to the list this year include Trainwreck star Amy Schumer who worked to promote stricter gun control legislation, Caitlyn Jenner who used her platform to raise a national discussion on gender and brought awareness to trans issues, and Shawn Mendes who helped boost self-esteem with his Notes from Shawn campaign with DoSomething.org and built a school in Ghana with Pencils of Promise.
The 2015 “Top 20 Celebs Gone Good” list:
Angelina Jolie Pitt
John Legend & Chrissy Teigen
In addition to the Top 20 Celebs Gone Good list, DoSomething.org chose five “Celebs to Watch in 2016” highlighting young talent using their platforms to give back. Star of Disney Channel’s Girl Meets World Rowan Blanchard used her huge following on Instagram to share an essay she wrote on intersectional feminism. Hunger Games star Amandla Stenberg called out cultural appropriation in her Don’t Cash Crop on My Cornrows. Star of ABC’s Black-ish Yara Shahidi is a vocal advocate for STEM education. Rapper Becky G is an avid supporter of the Salvation Army, and pop star Madison Beer uses her massive social following to activate her fans around issues including bullying and homelessness.
The “Top Internet Celebs” were chosen by fans for using the power of their online platforms for social good. This year’s winners are: Rooster Teeth, Yogscast, Andrea Russett, Hannah Hart, and ElloSteph.
The winners of Top Celebs & Celebs to Watch are compiled as a result of a three-part methodology (1) Votes and nominations from the public (2) Celebrities’ STARmeter ranking on Internet Movie Database and (3) Advice from Celebs Gone Good Advisory Committee.
DoSomething.org makes the world suck less. One of the largest global orgs for young people and social change, our 4.7 million members tackle campaigns that impact every cause, from poverty to violence to the environment to literally everything else. Any cause, anytime, anywhere. *mic drop