Local News

Clay Aiken Reflects on Charity Trip to Mexico

Posted February 4, 2008

— Before making it to the finals of Fox TV's "American Idol," Raleigh native Clay Aiken gave a good deal of his time to helping local kids with disabilities. Since American Idol, he has been helping kids worldwide.

WRAL Anchor Lynda Loveland sat down with Aiken about his trip to Mexico with UNICEF.

After his Christmas tour and before beginning his stint on Broadway in "Spamalot," Aiken took his mother and brother south of the border. Instead of Christmas in Raleigh, they spent the holiday touring flood-ravaged parts of Mexico with UNICEF.

In some places, 70 percent of the land was under water. More than 1 million residents were affected, one-third of whom were children.

“Floods are a horribly powerful natural disaster, and people in the eastern part of this state can attest to it more than anyone else can,” Aiken said. “You lose everything with a flood. Even with a tornado, you can run down the street and hopefully grab something that you lost.”

Aiken said one of the most amazing things he witnessed was when kids ran up to him, hugged him and pointed at his shirt – not because of who he was, but because of what was written on that shirt, “UNICEF.”

“How powerful that is, that kids all around the world know what UNICEF means, and they see that T-shirt,” he said.

Aiken has been all over the world with UNICEF. He said the outpouring of support was overwhelming, except when it came to Mexico.

“There is, unfortunately, a lot of negative connotation that Americans get when they hear about Mexico, and I think that there’s apathy there. I think people just don’t really care that much,” he said. “As much as I understand it, it’s painful when you go down and you see these kids who don’t have shoes and they’re walking around on horribly contaminated ground, and all they want for Christmas, literally, they wanted shoes.”

After working with UNICEF, Aiken traveled to New York for “Spamalot,” the Monty Python stage production. He also plans to record his next CD while he’s in the city.


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  • NCSU2004 Feb 5, 2008

    People just post negative things to make them feel better about themselves. Who cares if you aren't a fan, just be glad that a Raleigh native is doing good things with his fame.

  • gt_football Feb 5, 2008

    Why is this news! Nothing to report on concerning the GREAT John Edwards or Brittany Spears? Please give us a break!

  • Ripcord Feb 4, 2008

    I gave at the IRS.

  • maxpower Feb 4, 2008

    Hey Mr.Unicef Ambassador. See if some of this money from the money tree can be spent on your native North Carolina "poor. hard hit, povety stricken areas that were hit by tornados last year in Leland. Thats the way you described these good people when you were "co-host" on Regis and Kelly live last spring. Remember?

  • aclsman21 Feb 4, 2008

    "well whop de fregin doo"

    about sums it up for me!

  • Timetogo Feb 4, 2008

    You DON'T KNOW how much $$ he's contributed to charity and his sexual preference is HIS businss so stop showing your ignorance and get a life!

  • dukebbfan Feb 4, 2008

    lttr- Your comments have nothing to do about what this article is about.
    shine- we have no idea what or how much celebrities donate of there own money and if there celeb. status can cause awareness to a charity than so be it. Those who want and can will donate if they want to. I donate to Duke's radiothon every year if I can but I dont do it just because Bill and Sherry endorse it I do it because I want to.

  • morebeerforme Feb 4, 2008

    well whop de fregin doo

  • Pineview Style Feb 4, 2008

    From the looks of that picture, it looks like Ole Clay had put on some weight. He kinda looks like the bassest for REM in that shot....

  • Air Biscuit Feb 4, 2008

    To those of you throwing in our faces, "what have YOU done for disaster relief?"

    Some of us have done a great deal, like spending time ourselves on the Gulf Coast helping rebuild, like donating coats and blankets to homeless shelters, like giving to Operation Christmas Child, and other things.

    Unlike Clay, we do it for the sheer joy of helping others, not to have our faces plastered all over WRAL's website for doing the right thing.

    My biggest complaint is that with all the pain and suffering int the world, Clay Aiken gets more charity and more PITY from some of the people on this site and from WRAL than anyone, and it bothers me.

    P.S> It IS turning into another Brittany story.