December 2nd, 2009
12:59 AM ET

Alicia Keys launches more than an album

Alicia Keys doesn't mince words when it comes to the legacy she hopes to leave. "I want to be known as an incredible global citizen, and a person who has made their mark in an inspiring, positive way," she told CNN this year.  That desire was fueled by Keys' first trip to Africa, which prompted the Grammy-winning singer/songwriter to co-found Keep A Child Alive.  The charity is dedicated to providing life-changing treatment, care and support to children and families affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa and India.  So far, the group says, it's helped 250,000 people.  That sounds like a lot – and it is – but when you consider an estimated 22 million people in sub-Saharan Africa have HIV/AIDS, you realize how much more needs to be done.

Keys knows you can't solve such a problem merely by throwing money at it, and she knows first-hand the power of actually seeing the problem, and the victims, up close.  So Tuesday – World AIDS Day – as she launched her new album, "The Element of Freedom," she announced a contest through Keep A Child Alive: five winners will get to travel to Africa with her.  Fans can enter online at the foundation's Web site, or by sending a text.  The $5 text fee will be donated to the charity.

When we cover international relief efforts in this blog, we hear from some readers who think our resources should go to solving domestic problems, not overseas.  Often, there's merit to that argument.  But in this case, the severity of the crisis is unquestionable, and unparalleled in the U.S.: more than 13 million Africans have been orphaned by AIDS.

I congratulate everyone who enters this contest.  Even if you're not one of the five winners, you've volunteered to meet a problem head-on, and "risk" letting it change your life as it changed Keys'.  That kind of spirit, more than donations, is what's needed to solve all manner of problems, foreign and domestic.


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soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Ebere Chummy

    Still its beter to get married than to be alone. loneliness sucks. thanks to her for what she is doing, helping the downtrodden.Blessed is the hands that give than the hands that recieve.God loves a cheerful giver.

    December 4, 2009 at 6:41 am | Report abuse |
  2. Dessi

    So... it appears that some do not like Alicia. I've noticed that we have a fascination with dishing up about other's personal lives. The media has spurned a nation of brother's keepers, always focusing on one another's dirty laundry. The media hunts celebrities down, circle and ambush them to get the dirt. Well, there is more to a person than the crap in their underwear when their hearts are filled with charity and love. Do unto others, you could be famous one day and then... what's in your underwear? Hee, hee!

    December 3, 2009 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Denise

    It is very encouraging to see an entertainer use their money to better the lives of their fellow man; especially in a time where there is not enough emphasizes placed on disease killers. I would much rather see entertainers use their money towards these issues as opposed to finding water on the moon!

    Her personal life has nothing to do with helping to sto HIV/AIDS in Africa and India. STAY FOCUSED!!

    December 3, 2009 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Faatimah

    Kudos to Alicia Keys for not being afraid to tackle such an enormous issue and put her money and time where her mouth is. I'm not interested in judging people's personal lives. That's for God and their own conscious to weigh in. I don't live in a glass house. I've entered the contest because at the end of the day the topic of AIDS is bigger than the tabloid-like assaults.

    December 3, 2009 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Whitney D

    Honestly, Selina, while it is a shame that she got involved with a man who was married at the time, or getting a divorce – it really shouldn't reflect on her trying to help real people in need. There are plenty of philanthropists who have made mistakes in their own lives. She should be applauded for really trying to make a difference in someone else's.

    December 3, 2009 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Selina Taylor

    Isn't Alicia's boyfriend – the producer Swizz Beats – married? I guess since she aspires to be a great global citizen then it doesn't matter eh?

    December 3, 2009 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
  7. Debra R

    Good job Alicia, with all the self centered entertainers out there it's good to see one who wants to make a real difference.

    December 2, 2009 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |

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