It’s Just Obscene: Celebs Drop the ‘F’ Bomb for Famine Awareness

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What has Bono, George Clooney, Michael Bloomberg and Jessica Alba spewing profanities?

In a word: Famine.

These celebrities, along with Ewan McGregor, Colin Farrell, Annie Lennox and Kristin Davis, among many others, have teamed up with anti-poverty group ONE to make a statement about the famine that has killed more than 30,000 children in the Horn of Africa in less than three months.

The campaign turns “famine” into an unspeakable obscenity by black-barring the mouths of the biggest names in movies, media and politics as they proclaim the word. When uncensored, the celebs speak to rally support for an urgent response to the situation in Somalia, as well as for development of strategies that will prevent similar catastrophes from occurring in the future.

(PHOTOS: The Catastrophic Famine in Somalia)

“Droughts don’t have to result in famine,” said Bono, the co-founder of ONE, about the campaign. “There are things that can be done, and if we really believe the life of a child in East Africa is worth the same as the lives of our own children, we have to act.”

While using the ‘F’ word in a PSA might be unorthodox, the ONE campaign counters that the situation in Africa is anything but ordinary, and asks viewers to sign the petition asking politicians to meet the unfulfilled pledges of more than $600 million in aid to help stop the famine.

As the worst drought in more than 60 years continues to threaten the 12 million people who live in the Horn of Africa, it may take a lot of star power and a little bit of cursing to the get the world’s attention. But so far, it seems to be working.

Erin Skarda is a reporter at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @ErinLeighSkarda. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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