Vanity Fair To Partner With Product RED; Bono To Guest Edit July EditionVanity Fair magazine on Tuesday announced that it will sign on as a partner with Product RED -- a project created by Irish musician Bono and DATA co-founder Bobby Shriver that aims to raise money for the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria by donating a portion of profits from a range of branded products -- the AP/London Free Press reports (AP/London Free Press, 3/6). According to Global Fund Executive Director Richard Feachem, Product RED to date has raised more than $20 million for the Global Fund (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/6). Bono, who will be the first-ever guest editor of the magazine, will be in charge of Vanity Fair's Africa-themed July issue (AP/London Free Press, 3/6). "Bono will make a different issue about Africa than we would," Vanity Fair Editor Graydon Carter said, adding, "We plan on making this an event with more separate cover treatments than the magazine has ever had" (Carr, New York Times, 3/5). Bono said, "As guest editor, I want Africa to appear (as) an adventure, not a burden, and put faces and personalities to the statistics we read elsewhere." He added, "If Graydon, his team and I succeed, the reader will care more about the daily squandering of these noble, entrepreneurial, optimistic lives ... people who are familiar to us in every other way than circumstance" (AP/London Free Press, 3/6).
"It says everything about our current climate -- the sense of global connectedness through the gift of technology, plus the dependence of slick advertising and seriously styled celebrities -- that (Product) RED's ambition is huge yet deceptively accessible and acquisitional: Shop so the unfortunate can live," Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Karen Heller writes in an opinion piece. "Bono is correct when he says donors want to feel that whatever gesture they make, no matter how small, improves ... lives, diminishing the AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria pandemics," but it is "reductive to make blanket statements about a continent of 900 million" people, according to Heller. "Let Bono and Vanity Fair try telling better stories," Heller writes, concluding, "In the meantime, it seems prudent to forgo shopping RED for the T-shirt, the iPod, the Motorazr. Instead, give all the green directly to" the Global Fund (Heller, Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/7).