Today is World AIDS Day, and I stumbled accross this all star music video version of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin On?” from 2001.
The video by Artists Against AIDS Worldwide features all of the biggest names of the 2000s: Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, Mary J. Blige, Sean “Puffy” Combs, Destiny’s Child, Jermaine Dupri, Fred Durst, Eve, Gwen Stefani, Nelly Furtado, Nona Gaye, Darren Hayes, Wyclef Jean, Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys, Aaron Lewis, Jennifer Lopez, Nas, Ja Rule, Nelly, NSYNC, Usher, Lil’ Kim & Michael Stipe.
The song, written by Marvin Gaye in 1971, was originally inspired by themes of police brutality, whereas in this R&B celeb packed version (if Bono isn’t a dead giveaway) the artists are pleading for an end to the humanitarian crisis of HIV and AIDS in Africa primarily.
For me, it was a good reminder about the global issues of HIV and AIDS on World AIDS Day. It is a day for those of us in the gay community, and for people who work in AIDS organizations, when we remember our local and national histories primarily, engage in conversations about stigma, transmission, prevention, and criminalization. For the most part this has been the bulk of the conversation leading up to WAD and the theme of most events today in the city. Maybe AIDS in Africa is what comes to mind for most of you, but for me, it was a welcome reminder that while the disease is the same, the issues are vastly different.
I also totally get that AIDS in Africa is a “sexier” issue to get behind, and is much less of a controversial issue for stars to be involved in. I also totally get that AIDS in Africa is an “over there” issue, and that it often overshadows our HUGE issues at home. I also totally get that celebrities often raise money and awareness in complicated and often time uneducated ways. All of those things admitted, it got me out of my local/national box for a few minutes. Wow, and it totally made me nostalgic for destiny’s child and Back Street Boys!!!
Artists Against Aids Worldwide is an entertainment and artist-led non-profit organization dedicated to raising the awareness and money needed to bring direct care to those affected by AIDS, especially in Africa. AAAW is dedicated to raising money from the general public, governments, corporations and through debt relief to stop the humanitarian crisis of AIDS. AAAW aims to campaign against the causes of AIDS especially extreme poverty.