July Fourth is a reminder of our forefathers, whose great minds and independent thinking helped build the nation we have today. I wonder what George Washington would have thought of Flava Flav? Would Betsy Ross have blushed at the antics of Lauren Conrad and her crew from "The Hills?"
In the past decade, Andy Warhol's theory about everyone getting "15 minutes of fame" has come into play more than ever. But it seems it's not the fame and the 15 minutes that really matter. It's what use those 15 minutes are put toward.
Some stars use their platform for nothing but themselves: the out-of-control teen queens and the self-serving Hollywood hunks. Kim Kardashian gets her behind insured. Heidi Montag blabs about how she and boy-toy Spencer Pratt are finally ready to marry.
So, on this Independence Day, let's refocus our A.D.D. mindset on some celebrities who are actually making a difference. In the past few years, I have come to know, love and respect quite a few, not just for their luscious Louboutins, their darling De La Rentas, or their beautiful Burberrys, but because they are movers and shakers making a conscious effort to make a difference in our society.
The other night at Crustaceans in Beverly Hills, my girl Vivica Fox and I were chillaxin' with the one and only Queen Latifah, an everyday hero whose generous spirit is only surpassed by her talent. Several years ago, Latifah and I were on tour through the Midwest, and every day, as we did the rounds of the way-too-early morning shows, we would hear of some local disaster. Without batting an eye, and certainly not for the press, Latifah would donate that day's salary to the victim of each tragic story. It was truly remarkable and I saw it myself.
Latifah has also been influential in raising funds and gaining support for celeb chef James Beard's charity Meals On Wheels, an organization that delivers more than three million meals to the sick and elderly, who would otherwise be unable to feed themselves.
Another of my fave friends is the always picture-perfect supermodel and supermom Christie Brinkley. Her charitable work is extensive and widespread, everything from giving back to the USO by entertaining the troops, to being a dedicated activist for many causes including, UNICEF, handgun control, breast and ovarian cancer and the environment.
Brinkley has raised more than $500,000 and brought her poise, infectious enthusiasm and knowledge to Senate sub-committees, where she has testified about the dangers of the nuclear industry, and shows like "The View."
As we all know, no celebs worth their weight in Oscar gold do more good for others than Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. This glam squad is almost as famous for their films and acting as they are for their never-ending charity work, from the rebuilding of New Orleans to advocating the rights of war refugees with the United Nations High Commission. I find that a whole lot more inspiring than whether they are having twins or getting a divorce -- depending on the tabloids' spin of the week.
One of my favorite leading men is Pierce Brosnan. Before he ever dreamed of starring and singing alongside Meryl Streep in the soon-to-be-released movie version of "Mama Mia," he and his stunningly captivating and incredibly generous wife Keely Shaye donated proceeds from their wedding coverage to help fund a Tibetan school.