This weekend I attended the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park. While it was energizing to see so much passion and enthusiasm for solving many world problems, I couldn’t help but get a little cynical. My cynicism grew as they avoided discussions of race, contraception (they talked extensively about pre-natal care, but conveniently avoided any discussion of preventing pregnancy), only called to youth as problem solvers, and even any mention that poverty and gender inequality exist in the U.S. What finally pushed me over the edge to join the rest of the apathetic crowd, was the distinct absence of female musicians. The only diversity of musicians existed in the first act of K’Naan, an artist who immigrated from Somalia and whose group contained the only (singular) woman the whole night, along with the only POC.
This leaves me wondering, who exactly is the “Global Citizen”? Between acts, a large diversity of powerful people came to talk about the causes and organizations they represent and care deeply about, and it presented a stark contrast of what they were calling for us to do, who we were supposed to be helping and who are the helpers. How can we expect others to rise to this call of action if those who put on this event cannot even model that very action?
For more about the event check out this New York Times article and note their brief one liner about how “ It was a narrow, old-school, all-male slice of rock, with a hint of internationalism.” Well at least I wasn’t the only one who noticed.