Watch the entire Alicia Keys Unplugged concert on MTV Overdrive.
Long known for her talents as a songwriter, singer and performer, Alicia Keys has become a passionate activist in the fight against HIV/AIDS, the pandemic that kills 6,000 individuals and infects another 8,200 people, every day. After a visit to Africa, and seeing children either infected with or orphaned by HIV/AIDS, Alicia stepped up her involvement to raise awareness and funds for women and children living with the disease.
Alicia Keys in her own words argued that Africa's AIDS Crisis Requires A Global Response: (Commentary published in Billboard Magazine)
"Most of us already know something about AIDS in Africa, despite the shocking lack of press coverage. I recently traveled there and loved the people so much, but was devastated to meet so many who will not survive because of the AIDS pandemic.
Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day, and I have decided to get involved and lend my voice to what is being called the most important moral issue of our time. I'm writing this to you, the industry and my fellow artists--something I normally never do--because it affects all of us.
Just for a moment imagine the media hysteria and global outrage if 25 million Americans, many of them children, died from a treatable disease because the medicine was too costly. Imagine if another 42 million people were infected and had no hope of paying for life-saving treatment. Imagine the call to action if 14 million American children were orphaned by this horrific disease, wandering our streets alone and unloved, with no one left to care for them. This is exactly what is happening throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
You probably already know that antiretroviral treatment has transformed the lives of those with AIDS here in the West, returning them to health. But did you know that less than 1% of Africans with AIDS have access to this life-saving treatment?
UNAIDS estimates that there will be 100 million people infected with AIDS by the end of this decade, and without antiretroviral medicine, they cannot survive.
The disease is more than a humanitarian catastrophe; it is a moral crisis that is beginning to destroy whole countries. I believe this should be as important as the war on terrorism; as important as rebuilding impoverished countries like Afghanistan or Iraq; as important as peace in the Middle East. This should be as important as if our own daughters and sons were dying. Think how we would feel if the drugs that could save our loved ones' lives were unavailable to us because of cost!
Africans continue to fight the pandemic with tremendous courage, effort and compassion. Make no mistake, incredible work has been done by such countries as Uganda and Senegal to contain their epidemics. Many African nations have excellent plans in place but lack the resources to implement them.
I want to take this opportunity to introduce you to an organization that I have been working with, Keep a Child Alive. This group offers an emergency response to the deadly "treatment gap" that is destroying Africa.
Keep a Child Alive is a key player in a dynamic coalition that is rapidly becoming a powerful global movement to stop the dying. These organizations are dedicated to action.
With every dollar raised, Keep a Child Alive enables individuals to pay for medicine for a child or family member who could not otherwise afford it. The organization has established treatment programs in Kenya, South Africa, Uganda and Rwanda.
But now, we ALL need to get involved. We need to use our talent and individual and professional power and privilege to help create and fuel a global movement. Otherwise, we'll be known as the generation with everything except compassion.
Keep a Child Alive is a new way to help: You can provide the medication that will keep a child alive. And if you look closely enough, we will all realize that the true hero of the narrative is YOU."
Read the MTV News article on Alicia Keys Unplugged.