NEW YORK — Read Estelle's lips. Better yet, look at what the British songstress has applied to them, because it's probably the Body Shop's Guarana Lip Butter. For every sale of the limited-edition, $8 lip balm, $5 will be donated to the Staying Alive Foundation — a charitable partnership between the chain and MTV to increase AIDS awareness and education the world over, all part of the "Move Your Lips" campaign.
It's an effort "close to my heart," Estelle — who has signed on to be a Staying Alive spokesperson — explained earlier this month at a Manhattan Body Shop (while seated in a chair shaped like a giant pair of lips, natch). "I've seen people physically die from AIDS." The outreach is especially vital now: According to the foundation's Web site, nearly half of all people infected with the disease last year were between the ages of 15 and 24.
"We just want you to be around until it's time," she said, citing that the most important form of prevention is in "giving them enough info to not be ashamed." Estelle also said the effort is as much "for people going through the situation ... this keeps the support going."
Support is an operative word for the 27-year-old West London native. Her smooth-as-butter (pardon the pun) song, "American Boy," featuring Kanye West, has been dominating the #1 spot on the British singles chart, and she's poised to garner just as much success on this side of the pond. Her newest single, "No Substitute Love," boasts production by Wyclef Jean and already has a following in the clubs. "It's simple," she says of the track. "People who don't know it or know who I am just sing along."
Both songs appear on her sophomore effort, Shine, which is scheduled to drop on April 29, and also includes cuts produced by Mark Ronson, Will.I.Am and John Legend — who signed Estelle to his label, HomeSchool Records.
Until then, Estelle continues to spread her message, and stay humble about her rising star. "I'm happy that people are giving me the time of day," she said with a laugh.