John Legend takes a stand against AIDS

The aim of World AIDS Day is to raise awareness and support for people living with HIV, and John Legend has done just that through his latest campaign with Belvedere.

Legend teamed up with Esther Mahlangu, a South African artist, humanitarian and royal of the Ndebele tribe, to create the latest line of Belvedere RED vodka. The result is a stunning rich, creamy vodka with notes of almond.

Mahlangu’s vibrant tribal art creates a beautiful bottle connected to the communities which are most in need of support. Mahlangu is deeply committed to broadening the education systems in her home region of Gauteng and to eliminating the HIV virus.

For every bottle of Belvedere RED sold, 50% of the profits are contributed to the Global Fund to help fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. The campaign has raised over $US 350 million so far.

As the ambassador for the Belvedere RED campaign this year, Legend also played a big role in this process. He helped to create the new core values for the campaign: security, change, support and unity, and is using his high profile to speak out about the problem of AIDS.

‘I’ve known people with HIV and AIDS,’ he told Remix. ‘I don’t know of anyone super close to my family that we’ve lost from the disease but I know enough people who have and that is an issue that we can solve if we come together as a global community. We have the medicines, we have the know-how and the technology to solve these issues, so if we put our resources behind it then there’s a lot of communities that can benefit from that.’

In September, Legend played at the Apollo Theatre in New York City, debuting his single ‘Love Me Now.’ The song will be used for the Belvedere RED campaign. ‘[The song] was based on trying to write a good song that’s connected to my own personal emotions,’ Legend told us. ‘I wasn’t writing it specifically for this campaign but we ended up using it for this and giving it to the campaign. The song is called ‘Love Me Now’ and the idea behind the song is that we don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow so it’s important that we love the ones we love now.’

‘Love Me Now’ sold 35,000 digital download sales in its first week of release and hit number 41 in the US Billboard Hot 100. The soulful video clip features people from Northern Iraq, Florida, the Dominican Republic and North Dakota, as well as John’s beautiful wife Chrissy Teigen and their daughter, Luna. It is everything a love song should be.

The song, then, is perfect for the Belevedere RED campaign. As World AIDS Day encourages, we need to accept people with AIDS as we would anybody, and eliminate the stigma surrounding the disease. ‘We have to see each other’s humanity,’ Legend tells Remix, ‘and regardless of colour, regardless of religion, we need to love each other despite our differences.’ Regardless of health status, too, we need to love one another.  

Picture: Remix Magazine and Belvedere Vodka