LIFEbeat, the Music Industry Fights AIDS, will launch UrbanAID 2, a concert designed to increase awareness of HIV prevention and AIDS issues in the urban community. Co-chaired by Russell Simmons and Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, the concert will take place April 9th at the Beacon Theater and will be taped by BET. In addition to co-chairing, P. Diddy will join Jay-Z and R. Kelly as one of the concert performers, as well as comedian/actor Jamie Foxx, who will serve as the evenings host. Additional artists will be announced shortly.
UrbanAID 2 will be the cornerstone of a campaign aimed at reaching urban communities nationwide about the urgency of battling the AIDS crisis. In the months prior to the concert, LIFEbeat will facilitate celebrity visits to schools, clinics, hospitals and other community facilities around the country to speak with young people about HIV prevention and self-esteem issues. The visits will be videotaped and included as part of the April 9th event. Details on artist visits to follow.
Of all the new HIV infections occurring in the United States, half are occurring in young people under the age of 24. LIFEbeat has, over the past several years, been at the forefront of reaching America's youth about HIV/AIDS prevention. Through its Outreach program, LIFEbeat staff and volunteers reach over 100,000 at-risk youth annually in clubs and concert venues throughout the metropolitan area. Nationally, LIFEbeat has participated on such tours as the Dave Matthews Band, Jay-Z, Ozzfest, Area:One, Outkast, TRL and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, among others. Many of these artists also help fund HIV prevention programs through ticket sales donations and a $.25 surcharge from each ticket, which goes toward expanding the work of LIFEbeat and youth AIDS organizations around the country. Special events like "The Beat Goes On" and "World AIDS Day" concert series have helped enhance LIFEbeat's education and fundraising efforts. Last year's World AIDS Day show was broadcast by MTV to over 240 million households worldwide. And LIFEbeat's PSA Campaign has greatly helped the organization educate young people about HIV. Artists such as *NSYNC, Britney Spears, Jay-Z, Linkin Park, Kittie, Monica and Papa Roach, among others have participated in this campaign, reaching over 76 million households.
"Looking at the sheer numbers of new HIV infections in the urban community, it is apparent that the message of prevention needs to be stronger and more direct," commented Alan Fields, Executive Director of LIFEbeat. "Working with Russell Simmons and Sean Combs is especially powerful because these are people who have shaped and influenced youth culture in everything from what kids wear to what they listen to. We're hoping this alliance will send a strong message to our young people that high self-esteem and practicing safe sex is not only critical, but cool."
"The hip-hop community is one of the most powerful voices in America today," commented Russell Simmons. "The devastation of AIDS in our community means one thing – we have to use our strong voice to mobilize. We need to take that voice into our neighborhoods and reach our families, our friends. We need to take that strong voice to Washington and impact on legislation and fundraising. If we don't take responsibility for helping ourselves, no one will do it for us. UrbanAID2 is a means to take that work to the next level and I'm honored to be a part of it."
"HIV/AIDS is the most serious issue facing the urban community today," says Sean "P. Diddy" Combs. "When more than 50 percent of the new HIV infections occur in young people under the age of 24, you have to take action to educate and protect our youth and our future."
LIFEbeat, the Music Industry Fights AIDS, is a national non-profit organization dedicated to reaching America's youth with the message of HIV/AIDS prevention. LIFEbeat mobilizes the talents and resources of the music industry to raise awareness and to provide support to the AIDS community.