About a decade ago, a 19-year-old Alicia Keys visited Africa, an experience she said "totally changed [her] life." In 2010, she plans on going back, and she wants to share the experience with five fans. Tonight, Keys will officially announce a contest that will seek to raise money for Keep a Child Alive, a foundation that seeks to provide AIDS relief to African children that Keys has done a great deal of work with in the past. Fans who donate $5 to Keep a Child Alive via text or their official Web site will be eligible to win one of five spots on a five day trip to Africa with Keys some time in 2010.
"I was able to see the great separation between have and have not," Keys told the Associated Press. "I was able to see the incredible spirit of people. I was able to learn firsthand about the AIDS pandemic of Africa." Since today is World AIDS Day and Keys is playing a concert in her hometown, it seems only right that she announce this contest now.
Keys expects that the winners will have as profound an experience as she had when she visited Uganda and South Africa. "Some will probably not want to come back, some will totally want to stay so that they can be a part of just all this beauty that we're spreading and light that we're spreading," she said. "And some will come back and say, 'I'll never turn my back,' which is what happened to me."
Keys' new album The Element of Freedom — which features the singles "Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart" and "Empire State of Mind (Part II)" — hits stores on December 15.