U2’s Bono, Other Pop Artists to Rerecord Marvin Gaye Classic to Raise Funds for Africa AIDS Fight
More than 20 popular recording artists and bands will gather today in New York City to rerecord Marvin Gaye's 1971 single "What's Going On" in an effort to raise funds for AIDS treatment and prevention in Africa, as well as to lobby Congress for a $1 billion appropriation this year to the Global AIDS and Health Fund, the Boston Globe reports. U2 lead singer Bono is spearheading the project, which includes pop artists Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Destiny's Child, 'N Sync, No Doubt and Christina Aguilera. The single will be released by World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, with proceeds going to build health clinics in the areas of Africa hardest-hit by the disease. A postcard will likely be included with each copy of the single, allowing record buyers to lobby congressional members in support of the AIDS fund. Further plans for the record will be announced at a press conference today. Global AIDS Alliance Cofounder Paul Zeitz, who is collaborating the grass-roots congressional campaign, said, "Everyone says it's a long shot, but then again everyone in the Bush administration keeps saying, 'We're still working on our policy.' The bottom line is what we do. If we get the grass-roots mobilization going, we can make a serious push for the money." He said the lyrics of Gaye's hit "fi[t] the urgency of the situation in the developing world," where an estimated three million people died last year of AIDS-related complications. So far, governments, organizations and individuals have pledged about $1.3 billion to the AIDS fund created by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in April -- including a $200 million pledge from President Bush -- but the amount is still significantly short of the $7 billion to $10 billion Annan has estimated the fund needs (Donnelly, Boston Globe, 9/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.