Bono, Beyonce Knowles & Others To Play AIDS Benefit In South Africa

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10.22.03 - Launch

U2 frontman Bono and Beyonce Knowles have signed on for an AIDS benefit concert called 46664 at Green Point Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, on November 29. They'll be joined by Western artists including Eurythmics, the Coors, Anastacia, and Queen, and African stars like Youssou N'Dour, Ladysmith Black Mombazo, Angelique Kidjo, and Johnny Clegg. The concert, which should be released on CD and DVD early next year, is named for the prison number former South African president Nelson Mandela wore while he was a political prisoner in Cape Town for 18 years.

The 46664 show will air live over the air and on the Internet. It will also be made available free of charge to all TV and radio outlets for broadcast on December 1, which is World Aids Day.

Besides the concert, funds will be raised through a special telephone campaign. In the U.S., callers to the toll-free number 866-614-6664 will be asked to make a credit-card contribution after a brief statement from Mandela or another celebrity, which could be Knowles, Britney Spears, Pink, Shakira, 50 Cent, Paul McCartney, David Bowie, or actor Robert DeNiro. Callers will also be able to buy and listen to a new song called "46664 (Long Walk To Freedom)," which was written by Bono, Stewart, and the late Clash singer-guitarist Joe Strummer, and which was recorded by Bono, Stewart, Youssou N'Dour, and Abdel. The track is only available by phone for now, and it will also be sold eventually through the website 46664.com, where phone numbers for other countries can also be found.

Mandela was joined in London yesterday (Tuesday, October 21st) by Queen's Brian May and Roger Taylor, Eurythmics guitarist Dave Stewart, and British hip-hop artist Ms. Dynamite to announce the campaign, which is subtitled "Give One Minute Of Your Life To Stop AIDS." The goal is to direct world attention to the effect AIDS has had and continues to have in Africa. Among the statistics noted in the launch is that there are currently 30 million Africans living and dealing with infection with the HIV virus, on top of the 17 million Africans who have already died.

For years, Bono has been speaking out about the AIDS crisis in Africa. At a United Nations event in New York City two weeks ago (October 8), he said it's up to everyone to defeat the problem. "We have to act collectively to be effective here," Bono said. "The scale of the response has to match the scale of the problem. I've got this song that I am singing, and I keep thinking that if I sing it loud enough and insistent enough, well then, popes or presidents, bankers, bureaucrats, heads of extraordinary corporations, will join the growing chorus of the sane response to what is an insane situation."

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on October 22, 2003 3:16 AM.

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Bono at the Canadian Liberal Convention (November 14, 2003) is the next entry in this blog.

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