Celebrities are often criticized for being negative role models — showing kids all the wrong things to do. We often hear stories of stars drinking and driving, partying all night, or taking pictures with a gun in their mouth and putting it on Twitter (thank you, Lindsay Lohan). Although entertainers do not always do the right thing, a crisis often brings people together, and the goodness inherent in all of us shines through.

Nashville, Tennessee is trying to recover from the devastating storms that flooded a large portion of the city just over a week ago. Rain waters dumped more than thirteen inches on Music City over a two day period. “That nearly doubled the previous record of 6.68 inches that fell in the wake of Hurricane Frederick in 1979.” According to reports last updated on May 6, at least ten Nashville residents died in the floods. In addition, initial estimates reveal billions of dollars in damage resulted from the destruction of homes, schools, and businesses.

Many country music stars intimately felt the impact of the flooding in Music City. However, instead of waiting for FEMA assistance to arrive, many stars decided to head some flood relief efforts themselves or contribute substantial financial assistance.

For example, on June 22, Nashville residents Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are hosting “Nashville Rising: A Benefit Concert for Flood Recovery.” Taylor Swift is contributing both her money ($500,000) and talent to help raise funds for the flood relief effort. “Swift will be joined by fellow teen queen Miley Cyrus, as well as country stars like Carrie Underwood, Brooks & Dunn, LeAnn Rimes, Miranda Lambert,” and Martina McBride. McGraw and Hill described the damage as “unimaginable,” and are eager to help their community. Pop star Ke$ha will also hold her own benefit concert on June 16. She notes that she will help out in any way she can because, “Nashville helped shape [her] as an artist and as a person.”

Sometimes entertainers are quick to remark that they are not role models. Some do not believe they have any obligation other than to make money — and lots of it. However, this author believes stars do have obligations outside of themselves. Entertainers are role models, whether they want to serve as one or not. Entertainers are community leaders, and have the responsibility of stepping up when disaster hits their area; that is exactly what the entertainers in Nashville have done. Their willingness to serve and give wholeheartedly is noteworthy. So, if kids want to imitate something they see on television, a good characteristic to follow is the spirit of selfless giving and community caring.

Yoshana Jones

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