By Tim Saunders on
Nobel Peace Prize nominee Bono has received an award at an AIDS charity event in New York.
The U2 frontman was honored for his humanitarian work at The Black Ball, a ceremony held at the Hammerstein Ballroom on October 25 to raise money for the Keep A Child Alive foundation, a non-profit organization that provides treatment to AIDS victims in Africa.
The sparkling evening of cocktails, dinner, and rare musical performances was organized and co-hosted by Alicia Keys, a Global Ambassador for the foundation, who described Bono as “an amazing man [who] works tirelessly at really having a cause and fighting for it. He is an inspiration and single-handedly made it cool to have something to speak about.”
“Rock stars always want to do two things,” said Bono, who was honored to accept the award but insisted he would rather be giving out the accolades. “They want to have fun and change the world. If you can do both at the same time, you’re OK.”
The event, which featured performances by Gwen Stefani and Sheryl Crow, as well as by Bono and Keys, attracted a host of celebrities who are both known for their support of the foundation and who wanted to show their respect for Bono’s work. David Bowie, Jay-Z, P. Diddy, Petra Nemcova, and members of Green Day were all spotted during the evening.
“This is an awesome opportunity to step up out of compassion and try to do the smallest of things,” said Crow, a few minutes before performing a duet with Keys. “Just to play some music and raise some money. I’m really proud of Alicia for doing it, and obviously I’m a huge fan of Bono and all the work he’s done.”
“I love Bono,” added Keys, who teamed up with the Irish singer in 2005 to record a version of Peter Gabriel’s “Don’t Give Up” for Keep A Child Alive. “I really respect what he has done for Africa, and how he has used his fame to do good in the world. I hope I can do half as much in my life. Keep A Child Alive is my passion and heartfelt mission. I believe AIDS is the most important issue we face, because how we treat the poor is a reflection of who we are as people. I urge everyone to recognize the extreme disaster Africa is facing.”
Africa currently has 12 million AIDS orphans, and less than 5% of the population has access to life-saving anti-retroviral treatment. It is estimated that there are 40 million people infected with the disease, 3 million of them children, with 700,000 more children becoming infected every year. Through its fundraising, Keep A Child Alive has funded several AIDS clinics in Africa, saving lives in Kenya, Durban, Johannesburg, Kigali, Rwanda, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Uganda. They also provide funds for the Agape Orphanage and the Go Go Grannies in South Africa. Keep A Child Alive is a partner of the ONE Campaign, which aims to help Americans to work against the worldwide emergency of AIDS and extreme poverty.
“I am a Global Ambassador for Keep A Child Alive,” said Iman, who co-hosted the Black Ball with Keys. “So it is something I have been doing for quite a while. I am from Africa, and there are a lot of orphan children in Africa whose parents have died from AIDS, and also there are a lot of kids infected with HIV. So we want to provide the drugs that are available in the West, and to make them affordable for poor countries as well, especially the continent of Africa.”
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