Six celebs who’ve advocated for Africa in Washington

Leaders of African nations are streaming into town this week for the multi-nation summit the White House is hosting, but the official delegations should rest assured that their interests have long been well-tended to here in the U.S.

A legion of A-listers, from Oprah to Madonna to Brangelina, has Africa’s back, making the continent one of the hottest causes in Hollywood. Here are six celebs who’ve taken their glam-advocacy to Washington:

 

Ben Affleck, founder of the Eastern Congo Initiative testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on CapitolHill, February 26, 2014 in Washington, DC. The committee was hearing testimony on prospects for peace in the democratic Republic of Congo and Great Lakes Region. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Ben Affleck makes a point during testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Ben Affleck — The actor has serious chops on Congolese issues, having traveled extensively in the region and founded the nonprofit Eastern Congo Initiative. Earlier this year, though, the GOP-controlled House Foreign Relations Committee reportedly deemed him not sufficiently expert to testify. The Senate counterpart, on the other hand, welcomed his testimony on Congo’s challenges.

Bono dropped by the Hill in 2001 to meet with Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah and Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C. (AP Photo/Dennis Cook)
Bono dropped by the Hill in 2001 to meet with Sens. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) (Dennis Cook/AP)

Bono — Perhaps the continent’s biggest celebrity advocate, Mr. Paul Hewson, has visited Capitol Hill multiple times urging debt relief and AIDS prevention, dating back to the days before Africa advocacy was a boldface cause. The founder of the ONE campaign is such a regular that he counts at least a few senators (including Vermont Democrat Pat Leahy and Utah Republican Orrin Hatch) as actual pals.

Actor George Clooney arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 14, 2012, to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Sudan. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
George Clooney charms the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2012. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

George Clooney — The debonair actor last classed up the joint (that would be the Capitol building) in 2012, when he testified in the Senate about his first-hand knowledge of the violence along the Sudanese border. Swooning (if not enlightenment) ensued.

charlize
Charlize Theron waits for an event to begin on Capitol Hill last year. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Charlize Theron — The South Africa native offered star power (but little sizzle — her performance was reportedly rather flat) when she came to the Capitol last year to talk AIDS prevention in Africa.

 Actors DonCheadle, left, and George Clooney, take questions from the media after Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation Monday to end state investments in Sudan to pressure the nation to halt genocidal violence in its Darfur region, Monday, Sept. 25, 2006, in Burbank, Calif. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Don Cheadle, left, and George Clooney in 2006 after California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation to end state investments in Sudan to pressure the nation to halt genocidal violence in its Darfur region. (Damian Dovarganes/AP)

Don Cheadle — In 2005, the “Hotel Rwanda” actor traveled with five members of Congress (in a delegation headed by California Republican Rep. Ed Royce) to refugee camps on the Darfur border region. Upon their return, Cheadle came to Capitol Hill to brief the media on what they saw. 

Actress JessicaAlba is seen on CapitolHill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2009, during a meeting with Sen. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., not shown. Alba, honorary U.S. co-chair for 1GOAL, is in Washington to lobby U.S. leaders to support 1GOAL, a campaign to make the lasting legacy of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa education for every child. (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)
Jessica Alba came to the Hill in 2010. (Harry Hamburg/AP)

Jessica Alba — When South Africa hosted the 2010 World Cup, Alba took to Washington to talk up 1GOAL, an initiative linked to the games aimed at universal education in Africa.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.
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