The United Nations announced today that hip-hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis will be joining its Free & Equal campaign as “equality champions.” With this title, the rappers will help to spread campaign messages about equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people via their social-media networks. The UN launched the platform in July, and other champions include Ricky Martin, South African singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Bollywood actress Celina Jaitly and Brazilian singer Daniela Mercury.
“We’re so honored to be working with the United Nations and Free & Equal to help spread a message of equality and respect,” Macklemore said in a statement. “Ryan and I have always believed that human rights are for everyone – no exceptions.”
Previously, Macklemore has lent his voice to the similarly themed You Can Play campaign, which fights homophobia in sports, music and entertainment. For that, he released a video in which he said, “Don’t let being gay hold you back, if you’re straight don’t hold others back. Anti-gay language has no place in sports or music. If you can play, you can play.”
Equality has been front and center during Macklmore and Ryan Lewis’ rise over the last year. This past weekend, they took home two American Music Awards and used their acceptance speech to address racial inequality. “I want to acknowledge Trayvon Martin and the hundreds and hundreds of kids that are dying due to racial profiling and the violence that follows it,” he said. “This is really happening [to] our friends, our neighbors, our peers, our fans, and it’s time that we look out for the youth and fight against racism and the laws that protect it.”
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Macklemore also recently told Rolling Stone that he’s looking forward to making music again next year. “We’re going to make music again [in 2014],” he said, “because we haven’t really had time to do that all year.”