YPIA Announces its 2012 Top 5 Young Hollywood Celebrities (Under 40) Helping Africa

April 24, 2012

YPIA is happy to announce its 2012 top five young Hollywood celebrities who take time out of their busy schedules to assist the African continent. This is an annual award and serves as a precursor to the May release of YPIA’s top 35 under 35 project.

YPIA is happy to announce its 2012 top five young Hollywood celebrities who take time out of their busy schedules to assist the African continent. This is an annual award and serves as a precursor to the May release of YPIA’s top 35 under 35 project.

These under 40 years old ‘megastars’ often help shine light on topics that would otherwise go unnoticed by most of the general public. And for that, we thank you.

The winners are (in no particular order):

Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie, Blood Diamond. Source: Celebitchy

Leonardo Dicaprio

Leonardo Dicaprio (37): Superstar ‘Leo’ was hoisted back into the spotlight with the recent release of Titanic 3D, but he continues to have a strong connection to Africa.

Leo told the world in 2007 that he was profoundly changed by his experience in Africa while shooting the movie Blood Diamond.

Since then, Leo has mainly focused his attention on climate change. He co-wrote and narrated the documentary entitled The 11th Hour, and was scheduled to be in Durban for the United Nations climate change conference (COP17) in late 2011. Often rumored guests that made global newspapers were Angelina Jolie, former Californian governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former US vice-president Al Gore and Bono from U2.

Leo didn’t make it, but it didn’t matter. The world’s eyes were already focused thanks to his star power.

Leo himself knows our governments and big businesses can do more to combat climate change. “The environmental movement is the biggest peoples’ movement in the world. Unfortunately, our governments and corporations haven’t responded to protect our planet’s natural resources,” Leo said in November 2011.

Through his Foundation, Leo is focusing a lot of his current energy on animal conversation. This includes wild tigers, rhino horns and shark fins, so be on the lookout for Leo in an African country near you.

Oxfam Ambassador Scarlett Johansson visits The Newly Arrived Centre in Dadaab camp, Northern Kenya. Photo by Andy Hall/Oxfam

Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson (27): Scarlett aka ‘ScarJo,’ is part of the new blockbuster The Avengers, but many do not know that she has been an ambassador for Oxfam since 2004.

She played a crucial role in publicizing the food shortages in East Africa in 2011. ScarJo visited Kenya in September 2011 to see the devastating impact.

Oxfam is a leading UK charity fighting global poverty. It currently focusing most of its time in Africa on both the West and East Africa food crisis’ as well as the conflict in Sudan/South Sudan.

ScarJo recently co-starred with Matt Damon in We bought a Zoo. The latter would have made the list if he wasn’t so old (Matt is 41) due to the great work he is doing to create clean water in Africa. Sorry Matt, but we had to ‘bump’ you, but congrats on the sexist family man alive award.

Chalize Theron, UN Ambassador for Peace, visits Panzi Hospital (which specializes in sexual violence against women) in Bukavu, South Kivu, DRC. Source: Orange County Center For Living Peace

Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron (36): Charlize is one the world’s most famous South Africans.

Growing up in Benoni, South Africa where the YPIA founder Scott Firsing currently resides, Charlize helps keep African youth safe from HIV/AIDS through her Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP).

CTAOP has partnered with the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), which is a leading charitable organization of the entertainment industry distributing hundreds of millions of dollars to charitable initiatives addressing critical health, education and social issues. Charlize’s organization also previously teamed up with Oprah’s Angel Network on a project that provided lead funding to create a mobile health and computer clinic designed for improving the health and social development of Umkhanyakude district youth in the KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa.

Charlize, also a United Nations Messenger Of Peace for her work towards ending violence against women, recently made the news (April 16, 2012) for donating dresses in order to raise money to help Africa.

Keep up the good work Charlize! Africa is very proud of you!

Mena Suvari

Mena Suvari at the Children Ward in Gulu Hospital, Uganda. Source: MenaSuvariFan.com

Mena Suvari (33): Mena became a huge name in the late 1990s after her roles in American Beauty and American Pie. She is now back in the spotlight thanks to the 2012 comedy American Reunion.

Mena’s links to sub-saharan Africa date back to February 2008 when she visited Kechene, Addis Ababa – one the poorest slums in Ethiopia. As a goodwill ambassador for the African Medical and Research Foundation (Amref) Mena toured the slum to see small-income-generating and water-and-sanitation projects, which the organisation helped put up for the living there. She also went to Amref’s headquarters based in Nairobi, Kenya

Amref is the largest health development organization based in Africa. AMREF’s staff, which is made up of 97% African citizens, develops and implements innovative and sustainable solutions to critical health challenges facing the continent.

In addition to her work at Amref, Mena urged her fans in July 2011 to donate UNICEF’s campaign to end the famine in East Africa. “Help Humanity Half a million children are going to die of malnutrition if we don’t act,” Mena tweeted.

50 Cent aka 50 aka Curtis Jackson in Somalia. Source: Young People in International Affairs

50 Cent aka 50 aka Curtis Jackson

50 Cent aka 50 aka Curtis Jackson (36): 50 met with Nelson Mandela in 2008, but it was his recent trip to Africa that grabbed even more worldwide headlines.

During a field visit to Somalia and Kenya in February 2012 that was hosted by the United Nations food relief agency (the World Food Programme or WFP), he witnessed thousands of individuals living in refugee camps due to the drought and conflict.

“What I am seeing is devastating – these women and children have risked everything to come to this Somalia camp, just to get food,” he said. “They need our help.”

50 also visited a school in a slum in Nairobi, where he met children, many of them orphans.

“To meet those kids was so inspiring. They have nothing, yet they are so positive and optimistic. I want to do my part so they get food and an education. I hope more people will join me to help end this devastating situation,” he said, reaffirming his determination to fight hunger in the region and raise awareness about this cause.

In line with his statements, 50 launched his global movement called Street King in September 2011. The movement’s goal is to provide one billion meals over the next five years, through the sale of its energy shot. For every unit sold, he has pledged to donate 10 cents, which covers the typical cost of a WFP meal.

A huge congratulations to our 2012 winners!

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