Oprah, Bono spree to support 'Red' HIV cause

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Like two best friends on a shopping date, Oprah and Bono hit North Michigan Avenue Thursday morning, turning heads and stunning fans as they zipped in and out of stores.

"So, wow, this is the Magnificent Mile," the U2 frontman marveled to Winfrey as they walked together in a freakish October snow, each clutching packed shopping bags.

"Here we come, walking down the street, get the funniest looks from . . ." Bono sang, doing a Monkees impersonation.

The high-wattage shopping spree was taped to air on Winfrey's talk show today. Winfrey is lending her support to the Product Red campaign led by Bono and Kennedy clan member Bobby Shriver. The effort sends proceeds from certain products to fight AIDS in Africa.

Kanye, Penelope, Christy join in
Bono will help launch the U.S. version of the campaign on Winfrey's show. On Thursday, he and Winfrey stopped in at participating Michigan Avenue stores: Gap, Apple, Armani and Motorola.

Along the way, they teamed up with other celebs helping the cause: Chicago-raised hip-hop star Kanye West, actress Penelope Cruz and supermodel Christy Turlington.

The Gap at Michigan and Ohio was Bono and Winfrey's first stop. With Winfrey behind the wheel and Bono riding shotgun, they pulled up in a cherry red Ford Thunderbird to a chilly but roaring crowd.

They loaded up on Gap's Red products before walking north on the Mag Mile.

"It's a beautiful mile," Bono said as he walked. "And it was a blessing on us today. It started to snow. It felt like Christmas."

Winfrey played the role of tour guide. "One of my favorite stores over here, Crate & Barrel," she told Bono. "I was thinking, driving this morning, you've got to get Crate & Barrel to go Red."

At one point, Bono stopped to talk to a girl about 6 years old.

"Kids, just like you, they can't get the medicines that we can get over here," he told her in a fatherly voice. "So we're going to get them the medicines. Is that good?"

The Red campaign is consumer friendly, Bono said, because you can help just by shopping.

"It's incredible to get these gigantic corporations to get involved in the fight against AIDS," he said. "We're not going to let 6½ thousand Africans die every day of a preventable, treatable disease. We're not going to do it. It's not American. It's not Irish. It's not English. It's not acceptable."

Scores of fans snapped photos and shouted for Bono and Winfrey, who drove to some of the stores in the T-Bird.

Carl Lokko, 43, a Ghana-born Lincoln Park resident, said Bono's fight against AIDS is "an inspiration."

"I'm very, very, very, very happy about" the Red campaign, he said as Bono and Winfrey greeted tourists passing on a trolley.

'I can't believe it'
Outside Armani, a woman offered Bono a drink of her pumpkin chai drink -- with lipstick on the lid. He obliged with a swig. Winfrey passed. "I can't believe it," said the woman, Luz Maria Nicholas of Streeterville. "It's so cool."

Penelope Cruz and Kanye West also encouraged customers to go Red. Cruz wore a $150 Gap denim jacket that's part of the campaign.

"I think everyone should get involved," West said. "It's important to everybody personally because AIDS is killing the world."

By the end of the shopping spree, the snow had stopped -- and Winfrey was still beaming.

What's it like to shop with Bono?

"It's, it's," Winfrey said, apparently fishing for the right word, "euphoric."

Copyright © 2006 Sun-Times News Group. All rights reserved.

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on October 13, 2006 7:11 PM.

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