Jay-Z Battles a New Problem: Water
Thu, 10 Aug 2006 16:53:06
Jay-Z may be "retired" from rapping, but that's not stopping him from embarking on another world tour. This time, however, he'll be accompanied by a different kind of entourage. The United Nations and MTV will be following along with Hova to make the documentary The Diary of Jay-Z: Water for Life, which will premiere on MTV on November 24th.
The impetus for the social activism was Jay-Z's recent visit to Africa, one of the major contributors to a pair of alarming global figures: 1.1 billion people live without clean drinking water, and 2.6 billion live in areas lacking minimal sanitation.
"As I started looking around and looking at ways that I could become helpful, it started at the first thing -- water, something as simple as water," said Jay-Z. "It took very little, very little to see these numbers… If you see a problem like that and do nothing about it, there's something wrong with you."
When his tour hits Africa, Jay-Z plans to donate money for villages to build "play pumps" -- water pumps with merry-go-round-like devices build atop them, so children can actually pump water into storage tanks as they play. Jay-Z hopes to help erect 1,000 play pumps across the continent.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan hopes that the tour and documentary will inspire even greater efforts, recalling John F. Kennedy's prediction that anyone who cured the world's water shortages would win a pair of Nobel Prizes -- one for science and one for peace.
"Together, we may yet inspire a young viewer to take up President Kennedy's challenge, and claim both those Nobel Prizes," said Annan.
--The ARTISTdirect Staff