Venture past the smoke and mirrors of entertainment

Photo provided by Billions in Change

Photo provided by Billions in Change

Kate Lichter, Online Editor-in-chief

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While movie stars, big name athletes, singers and other entertainers alike are generating millions if not billions of dollars annually, most of them won’t put that money or time into lending a hand to those in need.

For instance when looking at the Kardashian family, Kim Kardashian has earned a sum of around $52.2 million in 2015 so far according to Forbes. Money coming in from the family’s television show, clothing store, book and app contributing to the income. While looking at other’s pay who help those in need, such as nurses, doctors or even a scientist, they will only generate a small portion of what Kim makes in a year. I understand that this will be a problem most likely for the rest of human existence, but giving attention to those who aren’t donating their time or money towards charitable causes only worsens the issue. Instead of focusing completely on them all the time, we should be distributing the attention.
Now I know a few weeks ago opinion editor and senior Casey Metcalf wrote a column about this topic but on the flip side, however I think this issue needs to be addressed. I’m not saying you need to erase crazy tumblr fandoms from your entire life, but every once in awhile take a look on a news site to see what’s going on around you today or who is helping out the world. These people are dedicating not only their wealth to beneficial causes for the future but their own time.

While watching Seinfeld on Hulu the other day, ironically a trailer for a documentary film called “Billions of Change” came up as the one commercial before the show. Immediately just because I’m a sucker for documentaries and intrigued by learning about others who change the world, I decided to naturally search for it on YouTube. The first video that popped up was the film in its entirety, approximately 43 minutes long, and pressed play.
Never in a million years would I guess the CEO and founder of 5-Hour Energy would be giving 99 percent of his 4 billion net worth away. Though I still wouldn’t say I’m a fan of the company’s product, Manoj Bhargava’s behind the scenes work struck a chord with me. First of all the guy funds an innovation center that works on finding technology to help with three major problems the world is facing today: water, energy and health. The small group’s main goal is to invent things that will make a long lasting change for those in need. And in my opinion that deserves a lot of attention.

Towards the end of the film after describing the not so complex technology innovations for each category, Bhargava surprisingly begins talking a bit about my opinion topic.

“The more wealth you get, the bigger your duty becomes,” Bhargava said. “which is to help those who have less.”

This quote is pretty much saying people with money, power and success should be using these assets to contribute something to the world. As human beings walking the Earth, it should be our main goal to give these people more than just a glance. They are asking society to take action and to help make an impact, not just sit behind our computer screens and like or share photos talking about an issue. They show how our job isn’t to continue feeding into all the smoke and mirrors of entertainment, even though it’s nice to escape every once in awhile. But now this escape that was created oh so long ago for the working class, has grown to become a curtain that we hide behind so we don’t have to face these big issues. And that is where we can begin to take small steps to slowly peek through that curtain, until paying enough attention to the people beginning this technology revolution.

Another example of those who’ve brought inspiration by using their time to help others is actress and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees special envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt. Her main involvement is with refugees from multiple places around the world such as Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Ecuador, Afghanistan and other countries across the globe. Not only does Jolie Pitt voice about the refugees but will go to the war torn countries to speak with refugees and give them help. The actress also created the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation which works on environmental security, creating peace and stability in communities environmentally, lessening food insecurities, healthcare and education. With this foundation she and others have been able to help impoverished countries with the main problems listed above.

If you think about how people like the Kardashians earn their money, a majority of that is from people across the globe buying into apps, books, merchandise, concerts and etc. Instead of investing into these products, our money and time can be just as valuable to ourselves and create an impact around us. Even I would say I’m a culprit of falling into the entertainment trap that’s been created over the past few decades, but researching about others who’ve made a difference in the world has opened my eyes dramatically. So before going out and spending too much time focusing on how amazing One Direction looks and buying a life size Harry Styles cut out or paying to see a blockbuster movie twenty times – remember to step back and pay attention to those creating a footprint on the world that could potentially revolutionize the future, even if it takes away from your T-Swift shrine.