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Giving Clay Aiken His Due

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NOTE: American Idol Worship would like to apologize for its previous remarks about Clay Aiken that some fans have taken exception to. While it was never our intent to disparage Clay, we realize that our attempt at humor was in poor taste and we would like to formally apologize to both the singer and his legions of fans.

Clay Aiken: UNICEF Ambassador

It has been suggested by one fan that we highlight Clay's charitable work, and it is our pleasure to give the 27-year-old his due.

Apart from his music career, Clay has dedicated himself to education and children's causes across the world. Few people can match his amazing record of giving and we feel all American Idol fans should be made aware of it, as he is helping make the world a better place.

His interest in autism issues led him, along with Diane Bubel (whose son Michael is autistic, and was tutored by Aiken), to found the Bubel/Aiken Foundation (BAF), which supports the integration of disabled children into the life environment of their non-disabled peers. The BAF, which was given a $500,000 grant from the U.S. government, runs summer camps which reflect this mission, and also presents awards to volunteer efforts of children with physical and mental disabilities.

Aiken has often donated his time and voice to benefit events and concerts, including the 2004 Rosalynn Carter Benefit, the America's Promise Benefit, and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and the "Arthur Celebrity Audiobook (Stories for Heroes Series)," which benefits the BAF and other charities.

Clay was a proud spokesman of the 2004 Toys for Tots drive, and remains an ambassador for the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC). In addition, Aiken donated his clothes from his American Idol performance on March 11, 2003 to the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh.

In 2004, he was appointed UNICEF National Ambassador by the U.S., with a mission to help ensure that children everywhere are afforded a primary education. Through his work with UNICEF, Aiken participated in the NBC4 telethon, which raised over $10 million, and recorded public service announcements in support of South Asian tsunami relief.

In March 2005, UNICEF sent Aiken to tsunami-stricken Banda Aceh area to raise awareness for the need to restore education quickly to the children who survived this disaster, in order to provide stability in a time of great loss. In April 2005, on behalf of UNICEF, he appeared before the United States House of Representatives Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs of the Committee on Appropriations.

In May 2005, UNICEF sent Aiken on another mission, to northern Uganda, to witness the plight of children called "night commuters," who flee the villages each night to sleep in streets and shelters in hopes of avoiding being kidnapped by the Lord's Resistance Army [LRA]. Aiken was the 2005 spokesperson for the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF drive.

Aiken continues to devote his time and energy to some of the world's most important causes and we at American Idol Worship would like to commend him for his efforts.

You da man, Clay.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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What a fantastic article, thanks for that!

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As to not blowing his own horn and taking media with him to "events"; he participated at a YMCA event recently; only one fuzzy photo has turned up. Someone asked him if he was Clay and he replied he was Clay's twin brother "Clint", (snarky boy).

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Thank you AI! Apology accepted...for me, all is forgiven! Let's move forward and see what 'shock & awe' Clay and his team hand us next. His success - personally & musically - are amazing. Clay is loved by many...in A Thousand Different Ways. Blessings....Sandra

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Thanks for this apology, to Clay and to his very loyal fanbase. NOW, maybe some others will start to take him more seriously and finally learn what we've known all along.

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Thank you, I agree with all that has been said about Clay. As he is living his life it make us all know we can reach higher and do more for others. His voice and life has touched us deeply, not just his sing voice but his spoken voice as well, also his example. He does use his voice for good. May God bless you for speaking out about the true man. May He keep on blessing Clay!
Thanks again

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I have no idea what note of yours prompted this but out of it came something good...your honest research into Mr. Aiken's dedicated work to help children everywhere, promote education, awareness and inclusion for people with disablilities, open minds and hearts and your article has helped to do this too so thank you for being man enought to open your mind and heart and create awareness with facts. Clay is a wonderful versatile singer who owns the stage and an amazing human being who humbly cares and gives and teaches by example. He is intelligent, funny, open to learning, true to himself, he has a vision and fame has never made him forget it. He has touched so many hearts and souls and has brought so many to tears...AI should know ...remember the finale of AI 05 ...Clay shined by letting another young man shine and by caring more about making Michael happy than promoting his own upcoming CD... Love and respect is not given freely and Clay has earned our love and respect time and time again. In a world where so many bend for fame Clay can be proud of himself for standing tall and true to his principles. He has made me hear music with my heart and he is a true inspiration and a gift to this world. He is not perfect but neither are any of us but he has a right to his privacy and to the respect he earned and a right to failure too but as Clay has taught us so well...its not failing that counts but how you rise from it...and Clay never stops trying or caring regardless of the mean things said ...his spirit cannot be broken and he is a beautiful person inside out. This young man has accomplished more in his young years than some men do in a lifetime and nobody can take that away from Clay...Actions speak louder than words and Clay is a man of action and of HEART.... Again thank you.

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You did the right thing. Kudos to you for stepping up to the plate and apologizing. I didn't see the original article that prompted this but maybe there is a bigger lesson to be learned here. You catch more flies with honey...maybe many of his fans (myself included) will visit more often now. Why is it that the media, tabloids, night time talk show hosts, etc. think people will listen to, view, or read their papers more regularly if they take cheap shots at the expense of others.

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Rick, well said. I always thought he had a killer voice, never knew that much about him. My girlfriend got me interested in what Clay is all about. I respect him and I really do hope the sewer dwellers lay off of him and look at what he is really about. They might learn something useful. He doesn't deserve it. I actually got to meet him at a concert with my girlfriend. He was a riot. Good article. Thanks

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Comment #11 by Linda illustrates perfectly exactly the kind of blind, ignorant, unwarranted hatred that Clay & his fans have had to endure for the past 3 years. It seems that whenever someone comes along who truly wants to do good in the world, there will, unfortunately, always be evildoers slithering out of the shadows to try to run that person down, twist everything he or she does into something dark, & attempt to stop or at least taint the goodness being done. Thank God that Clay is a man among men who stands proud & tall above it all & doesn't lower himself to respond to the slimeballs. He is a true class act & example for us all. There are many more charities & simple acts of every day kindnesses you could add to that list of Clay's philanthropic heart, most of which never get any publicity at all & his fans only hear of them after he fact, or witness them for themselves. He has been doing this kind of work since his teens, long before any cameras would ever follow him around, so his sincerity & commitment will never be in question to anyone with a brain.

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Thank you very much for this great article focusing on Clay's humanitarian efforts and his work for children around the world.