For Destiny’s Child, The Reason For Live 8 Is Crystal Clear

Group has witnessed Africa's problems firsthand.

The artists performing at Live 8 this weekend have their various reasons for participating, but for Destiny’s Child, it’s a simple one — to stop their hearts from breaking.

“To actually see it right before your eyes, you feel it,” Kelly Rowland said of the poverty in Africa. “You cry. Your heart hurts. I don’t think we really knew how in-depth [poverty] was in Africa until we went over there.”

Beyoncé visited Cape Town, South Africa, two years ago to perform a benefit concert for AIDS awareness (see “Britney, 50 Cent, Beyonce, Bono To Perform For AIDS Awareness” ), and during that trip, Bono gave her a tour of the townships, orphanages and hospitals so she could see how people lived and died there.

“Any person, any human being, that can see the poverty, and see how many people are infected there, you have no choice. You want to do something,” Knowles said. “You want to give them the clothes off your back, literally. I mean, we were pulling everything we had out of our purses and were giving them to everybody, because the people out there are much less fortunate than you are. You don’t think about that, because we’re a little …”

“Spoiled,” Rowland and Michelle Williams chimed in.

Beyoncé said the problems in Africa are so complicated and widespread, from poverty to disease, it’s hard to know where the starting point to help might be. But she has a few ideas, based on what she witnessed there. First, she’d like to see more orphanages — and assistance for orphanages — for children with AIDS, “because these kids have no homes, they’re just walking around, stranded.” One of the orphanages she visited, she said, was run by a woman using only her own resources (her own money, her own home), and it just wasn’t enough to meet the demand.

Live 8 artists stress debt relief, critics of the plan sound off and the G8 summit is explained in “Live 8: A Concert To End Poverty” on Overdrive.

Second, Beyoncé said she’d like to see an education campaign about the effectiveness of condoms, since too many people aren’t using them to protect themselves from AIDS. “A lot of the women still don’t believe that condoms work,” she said, “which is really crazy, but they’re scared that because the condoms are free, they’re scared that people are giving them condoms to infect them.”

Despite the vast array of problems in Africa, Destiny’s Child said it would be a mistake to think of the countries there as being weak, or to cast any aid as a belittling act of a neo-colonial superpower. “I think we owe Africa,” Williams said. “We take their diamonds, we take their resources. We may be richer in economics, but they are richer in their strength. America would not be able to handle what they’re handling.”

The girls might not broach these topics onstage (“It’s really important not to preach too much,” Beyoncé said), but that doesn’t change the message behind their performance.

“It’s a serious thing,” Knowles said. “I know when you see us performing onstage it seems like a celebration, but we’re celebrating what we’re going to change in the world. And that’s really the reason we’re there. I think people will definitely get it.”

For our full coverage on Destiny’s Child, check out “Destiny’s Child: A Look Back.”

MTV will be bringing you all of the Live 8 action — including live performances, interviews and more — starting at noon ET on July 2. More details will be announced soon.

Get involved: Learn about the poverty crisis in Africa, the proposed solutions, and how you can help. Plus find all of our coverage of the international Live 8 concerts and more at our thinkMTV Live 8 hub.