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Vanity Fair "Africa Issue" 2007

Vanity Fair

The African-themed July issue of Vanity Fair is being guest edited by U2 frontman Bono — the biggest July issue ever. 20 covers, all shot by Annie Leibovitz reflect Africa and its supporters — Bono, Brad Pitt, Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney, Jay-Z, Djimon Hounsou, Chris Rock, Alicia Keys, Warren Buffett, Desmond Tutu, Muhammad Ali, Bill and Melinda Gates, Iman, Don Cheadle, Barack Obama, Madonna, Maya Angelou, Queen Rania of Jordan, President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Here’s a sampling of the celebrities involved:

BRAD PITT Brad Pitt’s activism in New Orleans, Haiti, and Africa has received worldwide attention. His involvement in Africa began in 2004 with visits to Ethiopia and South Africa; in 2005 he helped launch the One Campaign to Make Poverty History. He is also a co-founder of Not on Our Watch, which teamed with the International Rescue Committee to hold premieres of Pitt’s current film, Ocean’s Thirteen, to benefit Darfur. He interviews Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

DJIMON HOUNSOU Once a year, actor Djimon Hounsou visits his family in Benin, where he recently helped rebuild his childhood home. “The goal of the African people is to become self-sufficient,” says Hounsou, who served as a consultant on our portfolio, otherwise “sometimes it does feel like the white man’s burden. Some of the efforts need to be implemented by Africans who do good for the continent. Then people can see that their own people can really make a difference. We are not looking for a handout.”

GEORGE CLOONEY In 2005, George Clooney was going through the Oscar process when he read about the crisis in Darfur: “I wanted to take all the attention I was getting and do something positive with it. [But] you can’t just talk about an issue, you have to understand it fully, you have to be there.” With his father, Nick, Clooney traveled to Chad to film the 2007 documentary A Journey to Darfur. “The more time you spend with the people in the camps, who are holding on by a whisper and still believe that their lives will be better,” he says, “the more you believe that anything is possible.”

OPRAH WINFREY Through her Angel Network, the public charity she founded in 1998, talk-show host and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey has helped fund 28 schools in five African countries as well as personally creating the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, in South Africa, in 2007. She says, “Education is freedom; it’s the only way out. Despite the poverty and despair many of these young African children face every day, they have a fierce determination to get an education. I want to help give them the chance they deserve.”

Check out the full slideshow at Vanity Fair. All 20 covers will be on display in the windows of Barneys New York on Madison Ave through June 19.

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