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Videos and Songs >> Pat and her social commitment

If you go to Los Angeles don't miss the chance to visit  the Grammy Museum and to "feel the power of music" as the brochure emphasizes. The most interesting section of the visit certainly is the space dedicated to how the songs can change the world.

In the first introductive caption here is what is written: "Some people see pop songs as nothing more than packaged entertainment, offering escape into a world of romance, dreams and good times but history proves otherwise. The infectious pleasures of pop frequently challenge conventional attitudes and behaviours. And pop's involving rythms and spectacle create unexpected opportunities for bringing people toghether and inspiring new ideas. Such qualities make it a powerful force for democratic expression."

Continuing the visit we'll find out that Pat Benatar in 1985 took part in the important project Sun City created to denounce and condemn the apartheid that at that time tormented Sudafrica.

Thereby the Grammy Museum writes:"In 1985 musician Steven Van Zandt and journalist Danny Schechter established Artists United against Apartheid and produced "Sun City" to condemn South Africa's violently racist social system. Its MTV video featured fast-moving shots of diverse stars marching together, including Run-Dmc , Bonnie Ratt. Bruce Springsteen, Miles Davis, Jocy Ramone and Pat Benatar. Despite receiving little airplay and being denied an airing on PBS, the song video raised more than a million dollars and spearheaded the 1980's anti-apartheid movement. 

Thank's to this project all the proceeds were donated to "The Africa Fund", philanthropic institution founded by the American Committee on Africa to help Africans struggling for freedom and independence. The takings produced benefits for political prisoners and their families in Sudafrica, for the educational and cultural needs of the Sudafrican exiles and for the educational activity of the anti-apartheid groups in U.S.A..

But come back to Pat Benatar and discover an other her presence, even if almost completely unknown here in Europe. We are talking about the song Jimmy says included in the album Marlo Thomas and friends  Free to be...a family (1988). Here the project, promoted by the "Free to be foundation", turns to protect the extraordinary talents of the children from prejudices linked to sex, race or poverty. Between the artists who gave their time and talent we remember apart from Pat Benatar, Mel Brooks, Marlo Thomas, Steve Martin, Whoopi Goldberg, Cristopher Reeve and Robin Williams.

In the album Letty Cottin Progrebin writes:" Now is the time to talk about families - all kinds of families - because some people believe there is only one kind - only one correct way of living together as a household. Unfortunately, the people who believe such things are often allowed to define family issues for the rest of us. But the fact is, the majority of families do not conform to anyone's rigid model of "the right family", and they do not want other people telling them what a "real" family  should be. We believe that whatever it looks like, wherever it lives, whomever it contains, each family is the "right" kind of family if it knows how to nourish, nurture and love its children. ..."

 

Whoever attended a Pat Benatar concert can't forget Hell is for Children, song that Pat persists in including in every performance to denounce the scourge of the child abuse.

 In 1980 when the song was released, the violence on minors was still a dark calamity that Hell is for Children brought to light with the gratefulness of all who were suffering or survived the abuse. All the royalties were donated for the creation of a fund for the protection of children.

 

An other song of denunciation is Somebody's Baby (1993) that places in the centre the indifference to the pain and the suffering around us. Here the protagonists are the apparent children of nobody, judged by the majority with disgust or apathy and who, actually, when they were young, as a child were loved and cuddled by somebody.

 The video of Somebody's Baby is sublime and touching but didn't received the luck deserved, with the deep dejection of Pat that hopes to give in the future a new chance to the song.

 

Every year we can see Pat Benatar engaged to support personally charity institutes, for example "The Orphan Lyrics Company" and "The Children's Charity and The Will Rogers Institute". The commitment that Pat invested in social troubles was as continuous in the course of the years as spontaneous, or better, maybe partially inherited by a big person of the American music, Harry Chapin.

Pat herself underlines so in this message on behalf of the Long Island Cares, Inc. - The Harry Chapin Food Bank.

Luca Ansaldo

I'm glad to add the following contribute of Edward Pinnix from USA, a dedicated Pat fan since 1980, that well integrates this page:

I'd like to tell you about more of her social commitments. She was invited to participate in the We Are The World project, but declineed because of her pregnancy. So she gave them a large portion of her royalties from "We Belong".

In her home town of Long Island, NY, she has performed with the choir of her former high school to raise money & awareness for the arts program. She's given money & heading a program to restore & save an old theater in town.

After 9/11 she & Neil recorded the song & made the video for "Christmas In America" & all the proceeds were given to benefit that tragedy.

In 2001 she headlined the second annual Women Rock concert, performing with Cheryl Crow, Dixie Chicks & others. All the proceeds were given to breast cancer research. (Neal's mother died of breast cancer).

In 2003 she performed with Lisa Marie Presley as part of the VH1 Divas Duets concert to raise money for the arts programs in public schools.... I hope you find this information to be of interest. Keep up the good work. Best wishes,Ed.

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