Marissa Whitby Midterm Project

Coldplay: A Kaleidoscope of Charity

Thesis Statement: 

Coldplay has used a majority of its money and fame to the benefit of charitable causes, demonstrating the urge that the band feels to serve society and make an impact. The organizations that the band supports illustrate the most important issues in European society today, namely associated with globalization and the wellbeing of children.

Who is Coldplay?

Coldplay is a British rock band that was formed “in 1998 at University College, London”(Jeff Wallenfeldt, 1). This band consists of four members, “pianist-vocalist Chris Martin, guitarist Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman on bass, and Will Champion a guitarist who later switched to drums”(Jeff Wallenfeldt, 1). They first hit the charts in 1999, reaching the top 100 for their single “Brother & Sister”(Jeff Wallenfeldt, 1). Later in 2000, the band received their first Grammy award for the song, “Yellow.” Coldplay currently has seven albums released named Parachutes, A Rush of Blood to the Head, X&Y, Viva La Vida, Mylo Xyloto, Ghost Stories, and A Head Full of Dreams

Why does Coldplay give to charity, organizations and programs?

Many different articles have expressed differing opinions as to why Coldplay gives so much money to charities, organizations, and programs. Yet the answer is so simple. In an article, Martin starts to talk about an organization called Migrant Offshore Aid Station and proceeds to explain why he supports them, making it clear. Martin said, “Every year, MOAS rescues thousands of people who risk death at sea while searching for a better life. But for an accident of geography, those people could be us and we could be them. For this reason, we’re proud to support MOAS’ life-saving work”(Patrick Butler,1). Alone, just thinking about being in that position is scary, so what better way to help charities, organizations, and programs than to raise money for the foundations that try to help these people? What better way to advertise it and get others involved than through a very well-known and respected rock band? Coldplay gives to others to help others’ lives because it’s the only way they know how. Guy Berryman also speaks for himself and his band members when he said, “Anyone in our position has a certain responsibility. Odd though it may seem to us, a lot of people … read what we’re saying, see us on TV, buy our records and read the sleeves, and that can be a great platform. You can make people aware of issues. It isn’t very much effort for us at all, but if it can help people, then we want to do it”(Coldplay,1). These four bandmates are not just thinking about themselves while being a part of this group, but everyone. They show that they care about others by opening opportunities for other charities, organizations, and programs. They are genuinely ready to make a difference in the world we live in. 

What charities or fundraisers have Coldplay been a part of? 

Coldplay has been a part of many organizations, supported causes, and donated either money or art to charities. There are two major organizations that the band has helped raise money for and made donations to. First is the War Child, which is an organization that aims to “work towards a world in which no child’s life is torn apart by war”(War Child,1). This organization’s goal is to give support to kids who have been affected by violence, more specifically war violence. War Child gets the resources to help these kids not to grow up in fear and help them live a “peaceful future”(War Child,1). The second organization is Kids Company, which provides “practical, emotional and educational support to vulnerable inner-city children”(Kid Company,1). This organization is also for kids living in underserved neighborhoods. Kids Company supports over, “36,000 vulnerable children, young people and families across London, Bristol and Liverpool”(Kid Company,1). In addition to Coldplay helping children through these organizations, they also help other people in other situations. Global Citizen Festival is a very popular music festival that raises money for the global poverty project, which has a goal to help “end extreme poverty”(Neha Shah and Pia Gralki,1). Finally, the band has also supported Make Fair Trade, a campaign that is “calling on governments, institutions, and multinational companies to change the rules” on trade (Eldis,1). The campaign wants to create fair trade policies to help decrease poverty.

How did Coldplay contribute to the “War Child” Organization?

In this case, Coldplay helped the organization War Child by performing an intimate show. This was to take place in 2016 at Indigo at the O2 Arena. Coldplay expressed, “We’re delighted to play this special show for War Child”( Alistair Foster,1). The tickets for this event were £75 and £4.50 to enter a contest to win tickets( Alistair Foster,1). Below here is a clip of coldplay performing one of their most famous songs, Yellow, at the War Child concert. 

Coldplay Performing there song Yellow for the War Child Organization in 2016

How did Coldplay contribute to the “Kids Company” Organization?

Coldplay decided they wanted to donate and fundraise money to Kids Company. They started to become involved with this organization back in 2009. Coldplay actually kept it a secret to the world that they had been donating money to the organization for four years. The only reason they decided to tell the world they were donating money there money to this organization was because they wanted to organize a show to fundraise more money for them. This demonstrates the genuine nature of the band in their desire to make a difference in the lives of children without it being a publicity stunt to do so. Martin stated that “Kids Company is a phenomenal organisation that is very close to our hearts”(Amelia Hill,1). Since the band members didn’t grow up rich, they know what it feels like to live on the poor end of London, which is why this issue is closer to the heart for them. Coldplay donated £1million alone to this organization. They have used the money they have been saving for ten years “to fund the creation of the Kids Company’s TreeHouse Centre in North London”(Amelia Hill,1). They are not only donating money, but they are also socially interacting with the kids in this program by not only giving them a free private concert, but also playing sports with the children and donating instruments. On top of all of this, in 2014 they had a gallery showing of their album artwork to sell and donated that money to Kids Company

Camila Batmanghelidjh (left) is a representative of the Kids Company

How did Coldplay contribute to the “Global Citizen Festival?”

Not only does Coldplay support this project, but they also performed at the festival and Martin, the lead singer, has been the “festival’s curator over the full 15 years”(PR Newswire,1). This festival takes place in New York City’s Central Park every year. Martin also has plans in the works to take this festival to different countries. He expressed his excitement by stating,I, and we as a band, are so excited to be working with Global Citizen. They are passionate about putting equality, fairness and compassion into the world, and improving the quality of life for millions of people around the world whose needs are sometimes overlooked. We are joining their cause because we believe in it, and in them, very much” (PR Newswire, 1). In 2014 alone, the Global Citizens Festival positively affected 259 million lives (PR Newswire,1). Martin claims he will “use his rock-star stature to spread word”(PR Newswire,1). His words were true about his status helping to spread the word because not only was Billboard talking about his impact on Global Citizens Festival, but so was Rolling Stone. This article informed the world about Martin joining the Global Citizens Festival team but also about the importance of this festival. 

Coldplay performing Adventure of a Lifetime at the Golden Globes festival in 2017

How did Coldplay contribute to the “Make Fair Trade,” Campaign?

This campaign was brought to the attention of Coldplay back in 2001 by “OxFam, a British humanitarian organization”(Austin Scaggs,1). Once they were told about this campaign, they decided to do research and see for themselves first hand the negative effects of global-trade policies”(Austin Scaggs,1). According to the Rolling Stone article, after seeing first-hand the negative effects of poverty in Haiti, Martin said, “Trade regulations around the world need to be improved drastically, or else we’re fucked”(Austin Scaggs,1). In my opinion, it sounds like the “we” in this statement is talking about the world, and how we are all doomed if we don’t do something about it now. Coldplay helped this cause by gaining signatures for a petition, “seeking reform trade rules”(Austin Scaggs,1). According to the article, Coldplay collected more than 30,000 of these signatures at their shows alone. Coldplay also advertised this campaign by putting Make Trade Fair,” on the side of Martin’s piano. 

Why did I specifically choose to talk about groups that Coldplay contributed to ? 

There are a few specific reasons as to why I decided to talk about these four groups. First, each one of these organizations has helped and is still helping shape the lives of many people, specifically in Europe. All these organizations affect European lives in many different ways. These organizations are so different yet similar to one another. They are all organized to help better someone’s life. Coldplay contributed to many of these lives in different ways, from helping to raise money by performing at events at the War Child and at the Global Citizens Festival, to selling original album artwork to fundraise money for the Kids Company, and even doing something as political as gaining signatures for the Make Fair Trade campaign. Coldplay has done so much for these four groups alone, so imagine what more they have done with the other charity groups they have helped over the years. Coldplay has proven through these four charity organizations alone what big of a difference one rock band can make if they use their money and fame for the benefit of others. 

Bibliography

Butler, Patrick. “Coldplay Throw Support behind Refugee and Migrant Charity.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, February 2, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/feb/02/coldplay-chris-martin-migrant-offshore-aid-station-charity.

“Coldplay Biography.” Encyclopedia of World Biography. Accessed October 16, 2019. https://www.notablebiographies.com/news/Ca-Ge/Coldplay.html.

Eldis. Accessed October 16,2019. https://.eldis.org/organisation/A35515.

Fischer, Reed. “Global Citizen Co-Founder on Chris Martin’s 15-Year Job.” Rolling Stone, June 25, 2018. https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/global-citizen-co-founder-on-chris-martins-15-year-fest-curating-gig-69874/.

Foster, Alistair. 2016. “Coldplay Take to Stage for Intimate Charity Concert.” Evening Standard, February 4. 

Hampp, Andrew. 2015. “Chris Martin’s Bono Moment.” Billboard 127 (6): 9–10.http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=buh&AN=101295654&site=eds-live.

Hill, Amelia. “Coldplay Go Public: Four-Year Children’s Charity Role Revealed.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, December 2, 2011. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2011/dec/02/coldplay-childrens-charity-kids-company.

“Kids Company.” Linkedin. Accessed1996. https://www.linkedin.com/company/kids-company

PR Newswire. “Global Citizen and Coldplay’s Chris Martin Announce Global Citizen 2015.” PR Newswire US, February 13, 2015. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bwh&AN=201502130939PR.NEWS.USPR.NY31934&site=eds-live.

Scaggs, Austin. 2003. “Coldplay’s Global Fight.” Rolling Stone, no. 933 (October): 30. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=12314001&site=eds-live.

“Vision.” Vision | War Child. Accessed October 16, 2019. https://www.warchild.org/vision

Wallenfeldt, Jeff. “Coldplay.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. Accessed October 16, 2019. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Coldplay.

“Your Actions for 2019 Global Citizen Festival Led to Almost $1B in Commitments to End Extreme Poverty.” Global Citizen. Accessed October 16, 2019. https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/impact-report-2019/.