Annie Lennox: ‘I’m a Passionate Person’

[ 0 ] August 10, 2015 |

Legendary singer Annie Lennox uses her celebrity to help those in need, but says about today’s obsession with fame and fortune: ‘We can do so much better than that’

Singer, songwriter, activist Annie Lennox firmly believes that far too many fortunate people in the world forget that there’s a whole other world of those less fortunate and in need. As someone who is helping those is need combat HIV and AIDS infections, the legendary musician says the more global attention is placed on the problem, the more it can effectively be addressed. And when it comes to fame and the music industry – something that could be used in good ways to help others around the world – Lennox says the incessant focus on celebrity and fame instead is a blight on our culture.

Watch Annie Lennox talk to genConnect about “connecting” to her HIV/AIDS cause, “the language” of music, and why we are all “just human”:

Lennox is a passionate voice for HIV/AIDS advocacy in Africa. In 2007, she founded SING, an organization that raises “global awareness about the impact of HIV on women and children – particularly in South Africa, Malawi and the UK.” Lennox says she was moved to begin her work after hearing South African leader Nelson Mandela address the problem as “a genocide” on his people.

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Annie Lennox and her organization ‘SING’, dedicated to HIV/AIDS advocacy

Lennox recalls asking, “Well where are the headlines? Who is talking about this? This should be everywhere.  We should all know this. Why aren’t people doing something about this?”

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Women, in particular, are “right in the coalface” of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa. This struck a cord with Lennox: “For my own sense, I woke up. I said, ‘I’m a mother. I’m a woman. I must do something.'”

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According to Lennox, so far the progress has been palpable. The United Nations launched a strategic plan to combat HIV and AIDS infections, and 22 countries signed up in support of it. Lennox says that since then, access to treatment has double” and mortality rates have gone down by half. “We can do it,” she say. “That’s what’s so important. We can see the end…”

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Lennox holds the same love and reverence for music. Her passion for it stems from its power to move and connect people. “I think music is a phenomenal language of the heart, the mind, the intellect … everything,” she says. “It connects us, from all cultures, from all backgrounds, from all walks of life, music is the language of the soul.”

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Annie Lennox

Lennox has used music to strengthen her advocacy work and vica versa. So with music industry’s current obsession with fame and fortune, Lennox is not impressed. “It shouldn’t be necessarily about fame and celebrity … all these things that we’re so focused on. We can do so much better than that.”

Above all, Lennox is self-effacing when it comes to where she comes from and what we can do to help those that are less fortunate. Says Lennox of her work: “Westerners, like myself, are so hugely resourced – we have so much, and the rest of the world – billions of people – have so little. That balance needs to be addressed.”

And her number one piece of advice? “Breathe.” But not just while singing. “I think it’s very, very important to stay grounded. To remain human … Because that’s what you are.”

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Category: Aspen Ideas Festival 2013, Giving Back

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About Annie Lennox: One of the finest and most outstanding musical voices of our time, singer, songwriter, campaigner and activist, Annie Lennox is celebrated as an innovator, an icon, and a symbol of enduring excellence. Annie’s music career [...]
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