If you see headlines this Wednesday about [artist id="3061469"]Lady Gaga[/artist] and [movieperson id="493757"]Kim Kardashian[/movieperson] giving up on social media, don’t be alarmed. Along with Usher, Elijah Wood, Justin Timberlake, Khloe Kardashian and Jennifer Hudson, they’re participating in a stunt to promote World AIDS Day in which they will kill off their cyberselves for one day as part of a Digital Life Sacrifice.
The idea was hatched by singer Alicia Keys to raise money for her charity, Keep a Child Alive , and as part of the Buy Life promotion the celebrities will urge fans to donate to the charity in order to buy back their online presence. Fans can text the first name of the celebrity they are mourning to 90999 and $10 will instantly be donated to the cause.
Kardashian is among the participants who have posed for a poster to bring attention to the effort. In it, she lies in a casket while wearing a cocktail dress and clutching her cell phone. Celebrities such as mega-tweeter Ryan Seacrest have agreed to sign off all social networks on Tuesday until they raise $1 million for World AIDS Day. Seacrest has even videotaped a “Last Tweet and Testament” representing his digital death for his Facebook page that will be linked to from his final tweet early Tuesday morning.
In another taped plea, Jennifer Hudson says, “Come on, y’all. Buy my life back. Go on a shopping spree and buy as much of it as you can.” Keep a Child Alive helps provide money for medical care and support services for children and families impacted by HIV and AIDS in Africa and India.
Janelle Monáe and Keys’ husband, producer Swizz Beatz, have also filmed “Last Tweet and Testament” clips and been photographed in coffins.
“It’s so important to shock you to the point of waking up,” Keys told The Associated Press. “It’s not that people don’t care or it’s not that people don’t want to do something, it’s that they never thought of it quite like that. … This is such a direct and instantly emotional way and a little sarcastic, you know, of a way to get people to pay attention.”
Keys founded Keep a Child Alive in 2003, and on September 30, she and co-founder Leigh Blake launched Buy Life. As part of the campaign, they’ve issued a $35 gray T-shirt with a barcode on it, and users who’ve uploaded the Stickybits or Wimo applications to their smartphones can donate $10 to the charity by scanning any Buy Life shirt with their devices.
“This Shirt Fights AIDS,” reads the back of the shirt. “Scan the bar code or text ‘BUYLIFE’ to 90999 to join the fight.”
It’s unlikely that Gaga and the others will be digitally deceased for long — Gaga has 24 million Facebook fans, and collectively, the celebs have nearly 29 million followers on Twitter.