Irish rock star Bono went on a shopping spree and appeared on Oprah Winfrey's influential TV chat show on Friday to launch his latest campaign to fight AIDS in Africa.
Saying he was convinced that “this generation can be the generation that says ‘no’ to extreme poverty” in Africa, the U2 singer and activist urged Americans to buy “Red”-branded clothes, cell phones, shoes and iPods and see a portion of the profits channeled to fund AIDS programs.
The Red campaign — brainchild of the U2 singer and Bobby Shriver, nephew of late US President John F. Kennedy — has already raised about US$10 million in the UK since its launch there earlier this year.
“Not everyone has the time to be an activist or put on marching boots,” Bono told a studio audience. But “when you buy a Red product, the company gives money to buy pills that will keep someone in Africa alive. We have these drugs. They are not that expensive.”
Bono, who has used his fame to raise money for Africa through concerts and campaigns to press rich nations to do more to eradicate poverty, said the purchase of one Red denim jacket could provide two months treatment to an African AIDS patient.
Singer Kanye West, actress Penelope Cruz and model Christy Turlington joined Bono and Oprah on a shopping trip to participating stores in Chicago.
The money raised by the Red campaign will be sent to the UN-backed Global Fund. It was established in 2002 to channel government and private-sector funding into the fight against AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis — the big killer diseases of the developing world — with a focus on Africa.
Paul McCartney is also engaged his own brand campaign. The former Beatle sought on Friday to cash in on his name by registering it as a trademark for use on everything from waistcoats to vegetarian food.
Sir Paul, an outspoken vegetarian, is also seeking permission for the name on meat, fish, poultry and game.
The application has been made by McCartney's company, MPL Communications, and if successful will give it the exclusive right to use of the name McCartney on clothing, footwear, headgear and a variety of other goods.
Meanwhile in Malawi, human rights groups will seek a court injunction today to stop pop star Madonna from proceeding with the adoption of a one-year-old boy in the impoverished African nation.
Malawian law prohibits adoptions by non-residents, but officials are granting an exemption or waiver to Madonna, who has confirmed her intention to adopt the child who lives in a dilapidated orphanage near the Zambian border.
The legal challenge would come less than a week after Malawi's High Court granted the entertainer and her filmmaker husband Guy Ritchie an interim order allowing them to take custody of a boy identified as David Banda.
After these laws were waived to accommodate Madonna, the Eye of the Child group and others raised concerns about the implications of allowing foreign nationals to adopt local children.
Eye of the Child is seeking the implementation of laws that give adopted children formal legal rights. “At the moment children have no rights under Malawi law,” executive director Maxwell Madewere said. “Today its a celebrity adopting a child. Tomorrow it may be a trafficker seeking to adopt.”
Grammy Award-winning singer Freddy Fender, whose country and Hispanic-flavored music reached across ethnic boundaries to find a broad audience, died of cancer on Saturday at his Corpus Christi, Texas home, a family friend said.