Is there anything pop icon Cher can’t do? Nearly 30 years after becoming an unlikely Oscar winner, the diva has taken on the role of hero for Flint, Michigan, residents reeling from a water crisis that has drawn national headlines and put Republican Gov. Rick Snyder in the hot seat.
The city of Flint has been coping with a lead-tainted water supply after state officials decided in 2014 to switch the city’s water source from Lake Huron to the an infamously unsanitary local river in order to cut costs until a new supply line was established. Researchers have since determined that the water in Flint is corrosive. Now, the National Guard has been deployed to give clean water to residents and there have been widespread calls for Synder’s resignation.
Cher, who has been outspoken in her opposition to Synder, has teamed up with Icelandic Glacial to finance the distribution of 180,000 bottles of untainted water to the residents of Flint. “This a tragedy of staggering proportion and shocking that it’s happening in the middle of our country,” she said in a statement. “I am so grateful that Icelandic Glacial has come on board to help the city of Flint. I cannot wait for the water to get there to help these people who have been poisoned because the water they’ve been getting out of their taps has been polluted for so long and remains that way without the state or the federal government stepping in with any substantial plan to resolve this problem.”
But the “Believe” singer is not the only famous figure who has been trying to bring more attention to the water crisis in Flint. Hip-hop artists Big Sean and Puff Daddy have also lent their voices to the cause:
Comedian and actress Sandra Bernhard, who was born in Flint, has been one of the early voices on the issue:
Documentary filmmaker and Flint native Michael Moore, who has frequently revisited his hometown in his films, has also joined the chorus of critics pointing fingers at Gov. Synder. And recently, he has called on President Obama to make a personal appearance in the city:
The president has declared the Flint situation a federal emergency. Meanwhile, Rev. Jesse Jackson has used even stronger language, calling the site a “crime scene”:
Oscar-nominated actor Mark Ruffalo has doubled down on the theme of criminality:
And environmental activist Erin Brockovich whose battle against water polluters in the early ’90s was dramatized in the Oscar-winning 2000 film which shares her name, has perhaps unsurprisingly been a social media tear since early last year about what’s been happening in Flint: