United Nations Equality Champions
A number of celebrities – leaders in their respective fields with a commitment to the cause of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality – have pledged their support to the Free & Equal campaign by becoming United Nations equality champions. Over the coming months, they will help spread campaign messages and materials through social media. Some may also participate in campaign-related initiatives, including recording public service announcements (PSAs) for television, radio and the web.
Learn more about the campaign’s celebrity supporters below. Additional equality champions will be announced as the campaign unfolds.
Yvonne Chaka Chaka is a renowned South African vocalist, performer, and human rights advocate. Dubbed the “Princess of Africa,” she has been at the forefront of South African popular music for more than two decades. Yvonne was born in Dobsonville, Soweto, and became the first black child to appear on South African television. She started singing at 19 and joined Dephon Records, where she released her debut album, “I’m in Love with a DJ”. In 2012, Yvonne became the first African woman to be awarded the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award for her commitment to health and social development issues. She serves as a Goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, advocating for malaria prevention, education, and treatment.
Celina Jaitly is an acclaimed Indian actress, human rights and animal welfare activist, brand ambassador and writer. A former Miss India and Miss Universe runner-up, Celina has starred in series of highly successful Bollywood movies and other cinema film productions. She is the recipient of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) humanitarian award. Outside of her acting career and role as a social entrepreneur, Celina has devoted most of her time to advocating for the rights of members of the LGBT communities in India. She played an important role in bringing to the public eye the case for repeal of Section 377 of India’s criminal code, a colonial era provision that criminalized same-sex relationships. She continues to focus her boundless energy on her quest for greater respect for the rights of LGBT people in India and beyond.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have been collaborating since 2008, releasing the highly-acclaimed, best-selling album, “The Heist” in 2012. So far this year, the duo has been recognized with three MTV Video Music Awards, two American Music Awards, a Billboard Music Award and a YouTube Music Award. Their lead single “Thrift Shop” reached number 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and the video for the song has been watched by more than 450 million people on YouTube. Another single, “Same Love,” become an anthem for LGBT equality in several countries, and won an MTV Video Music Award for ‘Best Video with a Social Message.’
Ricky Martin is a Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter and the leading Latin music figure of his generation. He has sold over 60 million albums and has played to capacity crowds around the world. He is also a writer, an actor, and a dedicated global advocate for tolerance and the well-being of children. His extensive charitable work is spearheaded through the programs of the Ricky Martin Foundation. Martin has campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness of the horrors of child trafficking and serves as a global ambassador for UNICEF . He is also widely heralded as one of the most influential Latino voices on social media – using Twitter, Facebook and other platforms to maintain an often-daily conversation with more than eight million followers.
Daniela Mercury is a Latin Grammy Award-winning Brazilian singer, songwriter and producer. With album sales of more than 20 million, she is one of the most internationally recognized Brazilian artists performing today. Daniela is also the Brazilian female performer with most Number One hits in the country. She has been a strong and consistent supporter of United Nations efforts to protect the rights of women and children for many years through her work as an ambassador for the UNICEF, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the United Nations Education and Scientific Organization (UNESCO).
fun., comprised of Nate Ruess, Jack Antonoff, and Andrew Dost, earned two Grammy wins for their 2012 album Some Nights, including Best New Artist and Song of the Year for the 5x-RIAA platinum “We Are Young.” Bolstered by the massive global success of “We Are Young,” as well as the 4x platinum title track, “Some Nights,” and 2x platinum song “Carry On,” Some Nights debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200 and has since been certified platinum. The band, known for its captivating live shows, continues to perform to sold-out crowds around the world. In 2012, fun. partnered with designer Rachel Antonoff to create The Ally Coalition. The Ally Coalition raises awareness about LGBTQ equality and provides resources for people to take action.