Mega superstar musician Wyclef Jean used his celebrity clout and freestyle rap to rev-up a crowd of thousands that gathered on the mall of Washington Monument, urging them in the words of Bob Marley to “Get Up and Stand Up For Their Rights.” He was among other artists during a day of activism and March on Washington to end the AIDS pandemic.
Jean took to the stage wearing a white shirt, and later stripped down to all black as he sweated under the swelter heat on July 22, singing his hits, “Shakira Hips Don’t Lie” to “Ready Or Not” and others.
The Grammy award artist waded into the crowd singing “Everything Is Gonna to be Alright,” and continued with Marley’s “Trench Town” and “No Woman No Cry.”
Jean encouraged the spectators to “Keep the Promise” – the theme of the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington that opened with the live concert, and speeches by prominent politicians, activists and talk show hosts.
Hosted by comedian, and TV personality Margaret Cho, the afternoon was punctuated by Jean’s loud support for the AIDS community. He broke into his native Haitian patios, as he wowed the crowd, and told them to demand that the U.S. and other governments keep their promises to fund global relief programs in an effort to end AIDS.
The sea of red umbrellas that blanketed the mall were hoisted in support of the myriad of speakers like the Ambassador Andrew Young, the Reverend Al Sharpton, TV personalities, Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West and Global Advocate Michael Weinstein, who all called on the crowd to pledge to hold the government accountable for the cuts in funding for AIDS program.
Sharpton said, “We must march for those that stand up; we are not marching in silence and shame. Civil rights are for everybody, or no body.”
World-renowned AIDS advocate and apartheid fighter, the Archbishop Desmond Tutu delivered a powerful message of hope via satellite.
The International AIDS Society, located in Geneva Switzerland hosted the XIX AIDS conference in Washington DC, where 26000 delegates from around the world convened until July 27.