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Interview:
Cher hopes water donation will help Flint through its crisis
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

» See more SOUND CHECK

Cher's got a message for the residents of Flint.

I've got you, babe.

The entertainer's donation of 181.400 bottles of water -- in partnership with Los Angeles-based Icelandic Glacial -- are slated to arrive on Wednesday at the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, which will be distributing it to citizens affected by the city's ongoing public water crisis. "It was nothing -- I mean, it wasn't nothing because it was so...to get accomplished, but I felt like I needed to do something," Cher, 69, said by phone Tuesday from her home in Los Angeles.

"I mean, people have known that (Flint) river was polluted forever. Why would they go to that as the water source? It's mind-boggling."

Cher said she learned about Flint while watching Rachel Maddow's program on MSNBC, which led her to research the situation "extensively" -- including talking to Flint Mayor Karen Weaver on the phone. Having grown up poor herself in Los Angeles, she's concluded that it's something of a class issue.

"There's so much rancor between the two different (political parties) that they spend more time trying to keep each other from getting anything done, and poor people are just left to hang out in the wind," she said. "They have no resources. They have no one sticking up for them. There will never be any kind of equality until there's the ground-up kind from nurturing and schooling and just basic things -- like water."

And Cher doesn't mince words about her feelings for Gov. Rick Snyder, who's under fire for neglecting the crisis.

"He's wearing the wrong kind of pinstripes; they should be going the other way," Cher says of Snyder, describing a jail uniform. "He's just trying to save his ass now. He's only talking now 'cause he's at the end of his lie rope.

"I mean, how do you have a $457 million surplus? Why didn't that money go back into the people? It's such a gigantic problem, and the government is doing the wrong thing."

Cher -- whose last scheduled appearance in Michigan, a November 2014 concert at The Palace of Auburn Hills, was canceled due to health reasons -- has no plans to visit Flint herself at the moment. But she is hoping her donation may spur others into action, including fellow celebrities.

"I hope I can do something more," she says. "This is something. It's more than they had before. I would like if we can form some sort of posse and look at some of the things we can do. Even what rich people can do is so little compared to what needs to be done. I'm doing extensive reading and trying to see what's possible."

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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