WASHINGTON (AFP) - US celebrities are rallying their fans to raise money for survivors of the massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan, with Lady Gaga leading the charge and raising $250,000 in 48 hours.
The larger-than-life pop icon announced her plan Monday to raise money for Japan by selling red and white wristbands bearing the message "We Pray for Japan" for $5 a piece via her online merchandise website.
Forty-eight hours later, Gaga posted a new tweet praising her fans for ordering 50,000 of the wristbands.
"Monsters: in just 48 hrs you've raised a quarter of a million dollars for Japan Relief," Gaga said Wednesday on Twitter.
On the same day that Gaga launched her wristwear, rock band Linkin Park began taking orders on its website for T-shirts to raise money for Japan, where 13,000 people are dead or missing after a 9.0-magnitude quake and tsunami.
Both the shirts were designed by band member Mike Shinoda, whose father is Japanese-American. One featured an origami butterfly against a black background and the other has the words "Not Alone," the name of a song by Linkin Park.
The T-shirts cost $25 each and 100 percent of proceeds from sales will be donated to Music for Relief, a group of artists, industry professionals and music fans that works to support disaster relief, Shinoda said on Twitter.
Shinoda tweeted that he is also working on a single to raise money for Japan.
Popstar Katy Perry joined several celebrities who have tweeted to their followers to either pray, shop or donate money for relief efforts in Japan.
Perry tweeted to fans in Germany ahead of a concert there on Tuesday, urging them to buy a light-up wand at the show's merchandise stand.
"All proceeds will go to #Japanredcross. And when I play Firework, let's ignite the light for them tonight," she wrote.
Canadian teen idol Justin Bieber tweeted within hours of the quake on Friday: "Japan is one of my favorite places on earth...it's an incredible culture with amazing people. My prayers go out to them. We all need to help."
The television and cinema worlds are also mobilizing for Japan, with Warner Brothers pledging part of proceeds of DVD sales of its movie "Hereafter" to relief funds for Japan, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The movie starring Matt Damon and Cecile de France was pulled from cinemas in Japan after Friday's quake because it opens with scenes of death and devastation caused by a tsunami.
Other movies have also been deemed inappropriate for screening in Japan in the wake of the disaster that has hit the country, including one called "Aftershock," directed by Xiaogang Feng and originally due to be released next week.
The movie is about the 7.8-magnitude quake that struck the city of Tangshan, China in 1976, killing a quarter of a million people and reducing most of the city to rubble.
Meanwhile, hip-hop stars the Black Eyed Peas have appended a message to the end of their new music video, urging fans to donate to the Red Cross to help victims of the catastrophe in Japan, according to US media reports.
The video for the Black Eyed Peas' song "Just Can't Get Enough" was shot in Japan a week before Friday's massive quake.
"Our heart goes out to all of the Japanese people who have been affected by this natural disaster," Black Eyed Peas' Fergie was quoted as telling the Entertainment Tonight television show, which will air the new video on Thursday.
Celebrities have the potential to raise millions to help the victims of the quake and tsunami in Japan by harnessing their fan bases.
If every one of Lady Gaga's eight million-plus Twitter followers were to buy one of her wristbands and if every Linkin Park follower bought one of Shinoda's T-shirts, $47 million would be raised for Japan.
<관련 한글 기사>
<日대지진>가가의 日 구호기금 마련 팔찌, 이틀만에 2억원 훌쩍
자신이 디자인한 팔찌를 팔아 일본 지진 구호 기금 모으기에 나선 팝스타 레이디 가가가 2일 만에 25만 달러(2억8275만원)에 이르는 기금을 모은 것으로 알려졌다.
레이디 가가는 일본 대지진이 발생한 다음날인 지난 12일 자신의 트위터에 “일본 구호를 위해 팔찌를 디자인 했다. 모든 수익은 이번 지진과 쓰나미 피해자들을 위한 구호 활동에 사용된다”고 밝혔다. 팔찌엔 흰색 바탕에 빨간색 글씨로 영어와 일본어로 ‘우리는 일본을 위해 기도합니다’ 라는 문구가 쓰여 있다.
레이디 가가의 공식 홈페이지를 통해 판매되는 팔찌의 가격은 5달러. 5만명에 이르는 사람들이 ‘가가의 팔찌’로 ‘착한 뜻’을 모은 셈이다. 가가는 15일(현지시간) 트위터를 통해 “여러분 덕분에 48시간 만에 25만 달러를 모았다”고 밝혔다. 이렇게 모은 수익은 모두 일본에 전달될 예정이다.
일본에서는 인기 가수 하마사키 아유미가 17일부터 구호 기금 마련을 위한 티셔츠 판매에 나섰다. 그는 “지금 할 수 있는 일에 최선을 다하고 서로를 격려해 밝고 건강한 일본의 미래를 만들어 가고 싶다”며 “티셔츠 판매 수익금은 모두 지진으로 피해를 입은 이재민들에게 전해질 것”이라고 밝혔다.
하마사키 아유미의 티셔츠는 온라인상으로 오는 31일까지 판매될 예정이다. 이에 앞서 하마사키 아유미의 소속사 에이벡스는 구호 기금으로 1억엔(14억원)을 기부했다.