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Annie Lennox: Singing Out Against HIV

By Becky Allen

August 26, 2009

Annie Lennox speaking at AIDS 2008

Annie Lennox speaking at AIDS 2008

After you've won four Grammys, eight BRIT Awards, put out multiple platinum and gold albums and even won an Oscar for your music, what's left to do?

For Annie Lennox, the answer is become an HIV advocate.

Inspired by a Nelson Mandela speech, in 2007 Lennox founded SING -- an activist group that uses music to raise both awareness and money to help women and children living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa. She brought together Madonna, Celine Dion, Faith Hill and 20 other internationally acclaimed female musicians as well as members of the South African AIDS activist group, Treatment Action Campaign, to back her on a powerful HIV-awareness anthem titled "Sing." It was released as a single from Lennox's Songs of Mass Destruction album and sales of the "Sing" record and merchandise have raised over £100,000 so far.

Profits from the HIV-awareness anthem and Lennox's other appearances go to help Treatment Action Campaign, one of the most vocal and important HIV/AIDS activist groups in South Africa, funding its efforts to provide access to HIV testing, treatment and education. Treatment Action Campaign is also a strong advocate for women's rights, and 80 percent of its members are women, which fits perfectly with Lennox's goal of helping women in particular.

SING is not Lennox's first involvement with HIV activism. In 1990, she recorded a version of the song "Ev'rytime We Say Goodbye" for the compilation Red Hot + Blue, put out by the Red Hot Organization to raise money for HIV.

SING also records awareness videos, showing personal stories of women and children affected by HIV in South Africa. You can see SING's activist videos at its YouTube channel. Click here for SING's official Web site. To purchase "Sing" from the iTunes store, click here.

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