Four years ago this weekend, 276 schoolgirls were abducted by an African Islamic-Terrorist group called Boko Haram in the middle of the night from their dormitories in the Borno State of Nigeria. This kidnapping prompting international outrage and the widely popular #BringBackOurGirls hashtag, a campaign shared by leading celebrities such as Michelle Obama and Ellen Degeneres as well as major hip hop artists such as Diddy, Leona Lewis, Alicia Keys, and more.
Almost half a decade after the event, the majority of the girls have been returned home and reunited with their families. Yet, the Nigerian government has received harsh scrutiny for not securing the safe return for the almost 100 girls who are still in the clutches of Boko Haram.
While the initial outrage was great, it has since slowed down in the mainstream media. This happens a lot for girls and women in third world countries. But there are organizations out there that have a real focus on shedding light on these issues.
With support from the United Nations as well as key Hip-Hop artists, Girl Up is just one of many charities that is helping girls in developing nations get the tools, skills, and resources that they need to improve their quality of living.
While the hashtag’s popularity may have waned over the past five years, Girl Up challenges the Hip-Hop industry to not forget about the commitment to make the world a better place for disadvantaged girls.
John Legend, Nick Cannon, Queen Latifah, and Swizz Beats are among the celebrities that have shown real commitment in their work to impower adolescent girls around the globe by providing education and job training opportunities, preventative healthcare screenings, specialty camps and workshops, and more.
Queen Latifah, well-known in celebrity circles for being incredibly charitable sums up her theory on charity as such:
“Giving, to me, starts in your heart and then it extends to your purse and your wallet. I know I made a difference in someone’s life, even if they haven’t met me. It’s an opportunity to bless someone else.”
In addition to Girl Up, other hip-hop artists have contributed greatly to a number of charitable causes that either directly or indirectly focus on making the world a better and more equitable place, proving that hashtags will never replace true activism.