New York takes world center-stage next month when the city hosts the inaugural ‘Mandela Day.’
Centered around a massive music headliner concert at New York’s Madison Square Garden on Nelson Mandela's 91st birthday, July 18, the event is designed as a call around the world for people to honor Nelson Mandela’s inspiration and values, and observe the day annually as a celebration, not as a holiday, but as a day to opt in.
Joining Dave Stewart for this concert celebration will be Aretha Franklin, Wyclef Jean, Queen Latifah, Josh Groban, TLC, Cyndi Lauper and Jesse McCartney, sharing the stage and performances with Angélique Kidjo, Baaba Maal, the Soweto Gospel Choir, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Chris Chameleon, Freshlyground, Emmanuel Jal, Loyiso, Sipho Mabuse, Vusi Mahlasela, Thandiswa Mazwai, Suzanna Owiyo and many more.
Further invited guests will include France’s First Lady, Carla Bruni making a rare concert appearance, as well as Italy’s Zucchero, a 46664 ambassador artist who has given support at each of the prior 46664 concerts. Adding to the star value of the day, Hollywood legends and 46664 supporters Forest Whitaker, Sharon Stone, Susan Sarandon and many others have all committed to attend.
President Bill Clinton, who will host a fundraiser dinner with Mr. Mandela’s wife Graca Machel at New York’s Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall earlier in the week on July 15 said, "More than any other human being, Madiba has been the great inspiration for the life I lead and the work I do, especially in the area of HIV/AIDS. The philosophy of my Clinton Global Initiative – which has inspired 1,400 commitments improving 200 million lives in more than 150 countries – was built on his enduring example that the power of public good does not require public office, just a well-placed heart and a determined mind. In return for everything Madiba has taught us, we each owe it to him to support his work and legacy by doing and living our own as best we can, not just on this day, but throughout our entire lives."
“The City of New York is honored to host the inaugural Mandela Day,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “Nelson Mandela has spent a lifetime fighting injustice and it is fitting to set aside a day each year to celebrate and recognize his legacy. I am especially pleased that service is playing such a large part in Mandela Day and encourage all New Yorkers recognize this day as a chance to give back to their communities.”
As Robert De Niro said, “When Nelson Mandela speaks we all must listen.”
Tim Massey, International Director of 46664, said, “Mandela Day is about creating a movement for positive change and establishing one day to reflect upon, celebrate and make manifest the values that guide Nelson Mandela.”
Adding his voice of support, 46664 founding ambassador, Queen's Brian May said, “It is Nelson Mandela’s ability to forgive that is an inspiration to us all. If Mandela Day can help the world to reconcile its differences then it will have succeeded in its purpose.”
Raising support from friends in the musical community, including Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor and Bono, Dave Stewart helped launch the 46664 global campaign which has since been carried across three continents. A series of historical concerts have taken place in South Africa, Spain, Norway, and most recently in the UK, with last year’s massive outdoor concert in Hyde Park which celebrated Mr. Mandela’s 90th birthday, playing to televised audiences that can be counted in the billions.
To date, the 46664 campaign has raised millions of dollars which have been applied to supporting projects in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa where current needs are deemed greatest, particularly in assisting those infected or affected by HIV/AIDS.
New York’s concert for Mr. Mandela will not only further spread the message of 46664 but aims to have a longer lasting purpose – to mark a day in each year as one of which we collectively reflect on Nelson Mandela’s inspiration and guidance and individually strive to make our own contribution.
Many of 46664’s ambassadors will form part of the concert bringing together leading U.S. artists with many of Africa’s foremost performers for Mandela Day, a celebration for Mr. Mandela’s 91st birthday which will be seen as a meeting in music between the U.S. and Africa in a concert for the world. Further artists will be joining the growing line-up and can be expected to be announced in the lead up to the concert.
The concert is the culmination of a week-long series of events in New York City in celebration of the first-ever Mandela Day. The activities include a Ralph Applebaum designed exhibition of Mr. Mandela’s life and the work of his many 46664 ambassadors, as well as the gala fundraising dinner, both at Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall.
Mr. Mandela has been making an imprint on the world for 67 years since he actively became involved in campaigning for the human rights of every South African and now ‘Mandela Day’ calls upon each of us to give 67 minutes of our time to helping others, with the idea that each individual has the ability to make an imprint and make the world a better place.
Drawing its numeric title from Mr. Mandela’s Robben Island prison number (prisoner 466/incarcerated in 1964), 46664 was founded in 2002 when Mr. Mandela gave over the number, under which he served 17 of his 27 years incarceration, to Eurythmics’ founder Dave Stewart, to use call attention to finding solutions to critical social issues such as HIV/AIDS and the social injustices that impact the disease such as poverty, gender inequality and the lack of education.
46664 will also be working with partner organizations, other city authorities and community associations and volunteers across the globe to create a worldwide series of Mandela Day events to honor Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy.
‘46664 – Mandela Day Celebration’ Madison Square Garden concert tickets prices range from $50-$350, with VIP packages at $1,000 and up. All tickets are available beginning Friday, June 5, 9am EST at http://www.ticketmaster.com, livenation.com, thegarden.com and charge by phone: 800-745-3000 For VIP packages visit ticketmaster.com.