LONDON, England – The British boy band One Direction has become a worldwide sensation in the past few years. Consisting of 5 members – Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, and Louis Tomlinson – the band has been hugely successful since their debut in 2010.
While filming a video in January, the band visited the underprivileged areas of Ghana. What they discovered shocked and moved them to tears. The suffering of the children in the area was painfully obvious.
“We all had moments. If you get involved in it and you don’t cry, you’re superhuman,” Harry told British newspaper The Mirror.
The boys all agreed that although they had seen documentaries and promotions about the area and poverty overall, they were not prepared for the reality of it.
“We thought we knew what it’s like,” said Harry. “But when you’re there and you get the smells, your eyes hurt from the smoke, you cough, you’re feeling it all. It’s crazy how quick you get connections with children and people who live there. You feel upset leaving them and saying goodbye to them.”
After that experience, the boys knew they wanted to help. They teamed up with Comic Relief, a UK-based charity that strives to eradicate global poverty. Since the charity’s establishment in 1985, its mission has been to drive positive change through the power of entertainment. Its first event on Christmas Day in 1985 featured comedic skits and routines while simultaneously raising money for the Ethiopian famine.
2013 marks the 25th anniversary of Red Nose Day, which is Comic Relief’s biannual fundraising telethon. The idea centers around the typical “red nose” on a clown; it is supposed to make people laugh while also bringing attention to the issue of poverty. By bringing together the best of British comedy and entertainment, the first Red Nose Day in 1988 raised £15 million (around $23 million US).
This year’s Red Nose Day raised an incredible £100,331,808 (about $160 million US).
One Direction also recorded the official 2013 Red Nose Day charity single (a unique cover of Blondie’s “One Way or Another”) and decided to forego any royalties, meaning that the band received no profit from the sale of this single. It was released on February 17, 2013.
“We just want people to buy the single and help raise as much money as possible,” Liam said.
“By buying the song, together we’ll change people’s lives,” said Louis. “What an amazing thing to do. Buy music that you like and change lives.”
Along with their partnership with Comic Relief, One Direction also supports the ONE campaign. Co-founded by U2 singer Bono, ONE aims to help eradicate extreme global poverty. The band filmed a short promo clip for the organization to encourage fans to visit their website and help the cause. One Direction continues to work with this campaign in order to fight extreme poverty all over the world.
– Samantha Davis