Jay-Z and the Water for Life Campaign

Rapper JayZ and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan

In my picks for last week’s Top 10 blog posts, I mentioned that rapper Jay Z was getting involved with the UN Water for Life Campaign.

Check out out video from his recent trips to Luanda, Angola and Durban, South Africa. Note: The video player on the MTV site works best in IE.

One thing that the videos show that is very striking is just how long water collection takes. In many countries, water (and firewood for that matter) collection are women’s work. The young Angolan girl interviewed spends four hours a day – between 6am and 10am – fetching water. Access to nearby clean water sources would not only reduce disease rates, but would also free up time that could be used for other purposes like school, work or just plain old play.

The other thing I appreciated was JayZ’s realization that all the bombast and bluster from rappers about being from the hood was absurd in the face of far greater hardship. “We’re not from the hood, by no means,” he says, “not even close”.