While the Carter-Knowles continued to settle the score in an unlikely war of words with singing and acting legend Harry Belafonte earlier this week, the topic of social responsibility revealed an interesting link among researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), one that may even support claims that arose out of Beyonce's camp.
In a study conducted at UIC, researchers found that people with an active interest in the arts contribute more to society than those with little or no interest in it. That means if you sing, dance, draw, or act -- and especially if you watch others do so -- you're more likely to have an altruistic streak, the researchers said in a release.
Lead investigator Kelly LeRoux, an assistant professor of public administration at UIC, explained how they came to this conclusion.
"We correlated survey responses to arts-related questions to responses on altruistic actions -- like donating blood, donating money, giving directions, or doing favors for a neighbor -- that place the interests of others over the interests of self," she said. "Even after controlling for age, race and education, we found that participation in the arts, especially as audience, predicted civic engagement, tolerance and altruism."
On the tolerance front, researchers measured participants' responses to various racial and ethnic groups, including African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans, as well as gender tolerance and whether respondents would agree to having gay persons speak in their community or teach in public schools.
What they found: Altruism among art lovers prevailed.
In response to Belafonte's claims that she and husband Jay-Z have turned their back on social responsibility, Beyonce's team released a statement via The Wall Street Journal detailing some of her altruistic endeavors. "The list included co-founding The Survivor Foundation “a multi-purpose community outreach facility in downtown Houston”; donating “100K in 2008 to the Gulf Coast Ike Relief Fund to aid Texas victims of Hurricane Ike”; ... among many other charitable activities," the statement said.
Earlier this year, The Giving Back Fund released its annual list of celebrities who made the largest donations to charity the previous year, a list that included actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith.