Fairfax, VIRGINIA — Born between 1997-2012 in the golden age of technology, Gen-Z is keeping up both with the latest world issues and ways to help those less fortunate. In particular, Gen-Z celebrities are using their social media reach and wealth to give back to the world in impactful ways. Here are five Gen-Z celebs who are making a difference:
Since her debut on Disney Channel in 2012, Zendaya has become one of the most famous actresses in the world. She rose to fame with her work in acclaimed films like “The Greatest Showman” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” However, she is also a philanthropist, donating to charities around the world since she was 16. First, she used her social media platform in 2012 to ask her fans to text $10 to Convoy of Hope after Hurricane Sandy. Convoy of Hope is a nonprofit dedicated to providing food, supplies and services to areas affected by disasters. Convoy of Hope provides services in 127 countries. In 2014, Zendaya donated the proceeds of her song, “All of Me,” to Convoy of Hope. Then again, in 2016, to celebrate her 20th birthday, Zendaya raised $50,000 for the organization. Zendaya continues her connection with Convoy, and currently is also an ambassador for Friends for Change, an initiative to guide youth to make positive changes in their communities and on earth.
One of the top tennis players in the world, 24-year-old Naomi Osaka became the first Asian player to ever hold a number one ranking. Impressively, the Gen-Z celebrity has also used her incredible tennis skills to help underprivileged people around the world. In 2021, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake left at least 1,297 people dead in the Caribbean, with thousands more displaced and injured. Osaka donated her winnings from the Western & Southern Open to relief funds in Haiti, her father’s home country. With a matching gift from Western & Southern, she raised $50,000.
Nineteen-year-old Olivia Rodrigo is a singer-songwriter and actress who rose to fame after starring in the Disney television show “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.” Her success skyrocketed in 2021 after her debut album “Sour.” It made the number one spot on the Billboard 200. In 2021, the artist sold special themed merchandise to benefit the nonprofit She’s the First. The organization is dedicated to women’s education and giving girls around the world the chance to go to school. Rodrigo donated 100% of the proceeds of special “spicey Pieces” t-shirts to She’s the First.
The Kid Laroi
Eighteen-year-old Australian singer The Kid Laroi won “Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year” in 2021. He continues to make hit songs that have made his name a staple in music culture. In May 2022, the Gen-Z celebrity donated $100,000 to The Fact Tree Youth Service, a muli-functional center in Sydney that offers counseling, court support, housing application assistance and job training for Australians ages 11 to 25 living in poverty. The rapper revealed that he had grown up in relative poverty near the center, thus it is a cause close to his heart.
Millie Bobby Brown
British actress Millie Bobby Brown rose to fame after playing Eleven in the hit Netflix original series “Stranger Things.” Since then, she’s acted in film versions of “Enola Homes” and a “Godzilla” sequel. Importantly, the actress also makes time to help the less fortunate. In 2018, Brown became the youngest Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF. Prior to that, she supported the organization by hosting its 70th-anniversary celebration in 2016 and World Children’s Day in 2017. As the Goodwill Ambassador, she raises awareness of global youth issues. These include the right to an education and a safe place in which to learn. In 2020 Brown also donated 15,000 British pounds to National Hospital Service (NHS) staff members to thank them for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a generation clouded by social media platforms and constantly emerging trends, these five Gen-Z celebrities have made it a point to be charitable. Importantly, each takes time to support organizations dedicated to keeping people safe and healthy. Furthermore, their donations and involvement in supporting humanitarian organizations set an example for other celebrities and their fan bases. As Zendaya said, “My generation has the opportunity to change the world.”
– Yashavi Upasani