Bono launches US Red campaign for Aids in Africa

Irish rock star Bono went on a shopping spree and appeared on the influential Oprah Winfrey TV chat show on Friday to launch his latest campaign to fight HIV/Aids in Africa.

Saying he was convinced that “this generation can be the generation that says ‘no’ to extreme poverty” in Africa, the U2 singer and activist urged Americans to buy “Red”-branded clothes, cell phones, shoes and iPods and see a portion of the profits channeled to fund HIV/Aids programmes.

The Red campaign—brainchild of the U2 singer and Bobby Shriver, nephew of the late President John Kennedy—has already raised about $10-million in Britain since its launch there earlier this year.

In the United States, Gap is offering T-shirts and jeans, Motorola a red cellphone, Converse a series of limited edition shoes, Apple a red iPod nano and Giorgio Armani a collection of clothes and accessories—all of which will carry the Red trademark and channel up to 50% of profits to the programme.

“Not everyone has the time to be an activist or put on marching boots,” Bono told a studio audience decked in T-shirts bearing the slogans “Empowe(red),” “Inspi(red)” and Uncenso(red).”

But “when you buy a Red product, the company gives money to buy pills that will keep someone in Africa alive. We have these drugs. They are not that expensive.”

Bono, who has used his fame to raise money for Africa through concerts and campaigns to press rich nations to do more to eradicate poverty, said the purchase of one Red limited edition denim jacket from Gap could provide two months treatment to an African HIV/Aids patient.

Singer Kanye West, actress Penelope Cruz and model Christy Turlington joined Bono and Oprah on a shopping trip to participating stores in Chicago.
Singer Alicia Keys and the Irish rocker performed their Don’t Give Up [Africa] duet in the studio.

The money raised by the Red campaign will be sent to the United Nations-backed Global Fund. It was established in 2002 to channel government and private-sector funding into the fight against HIV/Aids, malaria and tuberculosis—the big killer diseases of the developing world—with a focus on Africa. - Reuters 2006.

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