By Regina Walton on
On November 11, Broadway East in Lower Manhattan was crowded with the hip and stylish to kick off the MTV Staying Alive Foundation's push to their World AIDS Day campaign.
On World AIDS Day, Staying Alive will release a song made exclusively for the cause by Travis McCoy, front man for the popular indie/hip-hop band Gym Class Heroes and one of the foundation’s celebrity ambassadors. The name of the song is One at a Time, and you can get a preview of the song and learn more about the campaign here.
The event highlighted McCoy’s travels – he recently visited grassroots HIV and AIDS prevention projects around the world – and was officially kicked off when Stolz spoke about her support of the foundation’s goals. Two grant recipients were also at the event: Tyler Spencer of the Grassroot Foundation/Athletes United for Social Justice and Natalia Cales of the Carolina Empowerment Group, Inc.
“MTV gave us our first big grant,” Tyler Spencer told Look To The Stars. “Before winning the SAF Award, we were funded almost completely by out of pocket expenses. The grant really put a solid ground under our feet.”
McCoy made the keynote speech at the event and, in a moment of spontaneity, he decided to speak from the heart rather than read prepared index cards. He talked about his travels across the globe where he visited grassroots, youth HIV and AIDS prevention projects, and discussed the challenge of writing a song to convey the enormity of his experiences.
In an exclusive interview with Look to the Stars’ Myrlia Purcell, Travis talked about his inspiration for working with the foundation. It all started when he was asked to ask celebrities questions about safe sex and HIV/AIDS awareness at the European Video Music Awards. He felt he should be doing more because “felt a strong connection with the foundation.” Travis lost someone close to him from AIDS when he was young but never told his friends because of the stigma. After the European VMAs, he approached MTV about how he could do more to help.
He talked about the things he noticed during his travels. “When I was in South Africa, I went to this township…, there was no running water and there were all these really, really horrible conditions but, you know, these kids were just so happy and just the biggest brightest smiles I’ve ever seen. These kids are playing soccer out of makeshift ball from plastic bags. And you know seeing that and thinking about back home, you know we just don’t realize how good we have it. We take it for granted the small things like having running water. We have kids that throw fits and cry when they don’t get the newest video game.”
He also talked about stepping up to the challenge of having to write a song. “Well, for one thing, there was a tremendous amount of pressure. All the proceeds from downloads go back to Staying Alive. Of course, I want to raise as much money as possible. So there is this part of me that wants this song to appeal to a lot of people and also to keep the cheesiness to a bare minimum. When you’re going into something like this and you’re making a song that you want to appeal to a lot of people, at the end of the day, it’s a pop song. … You want to make sure that the people who inspired the song are well represented and you get your point across. I’m very, very proud about how the song turned out.”
When asked what his fans could do to help, he responded decisively, “Download the song on December 1st when it comes out. Check out the Staying Alive website to see what you can do to help out. You don’t need to be an impressive figure (a celebrity) to do your part. As much time as our generation spends on the Internet you can take 5 to 10 minutes of your time to check it out to see what you can do.”
Copyright © 2009 Look to the Stars