Additional reporting by Cynthia Hass
Selena Gomez, Seth Rogen, Big Sean and other celebs were out in full force this week for one very good reason: inspiring youth to change the world. The celebs rocked California’s first We Day event, which is the world’s largest youth empowerment event of its kind.
More than 16,000 students from 400 schools attended the educational event, co-chaired by Natalie Portman and Magic Johnson. The event featured speakers and musical guests all tasked with motivating the young people in the room to take action on local and global causes that inspire them.
Cynthia Hass, GimmeMo’s COO, was on the red carpet for Microsoft, where she talked exclusively with Rogen, Big Sean and Orlando Bloom for MTV Act.
Rogen said “it’s amazing” that the event is “putting on a show that feels like something they would see on MTV.” It’s a great way “to incentivize kids to do something that a lot of culture is telling them isn’t cool.” Rogen admitted that although he “didn’t do anything charitable” until his mother-in-law was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, he realized that as a famous person he could be bringing attention to the cause.
Bloom wants young people who are afraid of expressing themselves or being themselves to know that he’s “been afraid, too” and “being afraid of who you are is something that you can overcome.” Bloom calls “any challenge or obstacle you come across … the learning lessons. They are the things that teach you on the journey that you’re on.” Bloom says that when you learn to “embrace them instead of be afraid of them, then it makes life so much easier.”
When asked who inspired him when he was growing up, Big Sean gave credit to his grandma. She was “one of the first female black captains in World War II … a true soldier.” The musician knows that “no matter what level of success” he achieves, he’ll “never have an epic story like hers.” He also gave credit to Kanye West for discovering him, calling him one of his heroes.
Because Big Sean has always gone after his dreams, he wants young people to know that it’s important to “never let fear hold you back.” They need to “use it as motivation and something to break through,” he said. Looking back, he would tell his 16-year-old self to “not worry so much” and to “trust in yourself.” Most importantly, he stressed not worrying about “the wrong things … the right pair of shoes and clothes.” There are “so many more important things” that he feels he missed out on because he was focused on the wrong things.
We Day is part of a family of organizations that includes Free the Children and Me to We. To find out how you can get involved in these world-changing organizations, check out the action widgets below.
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