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George the Poet and Sentebale team up for Charity gig

Category : Artists

George the Poet (George Mpanga) is set to perform to an audience of 3,000 people at Hampton Court Palace in aid of the HIV support charity, Sentebale, for which he is an ambassador.

The spoken word performer and Aston artist took time out to discuss his work with the organisation and the upcoming concert, billed as a celebration of African and Western culture.

 “I work with Prince Harry, I’m an ambassador for his charity Sentebale, which provides emotional support for young people dealing with HIV and AIDS in Africa. They are putting together a concert on the 11th June at Hampton Court Palace, where myself, Rita Ora and a couple of other people will be performing.”

“I just came back from Botswana last week. I was out there with them meeting some of the young people we work with. I’m always a cynic, ready to just be slightly underwhelmed by these kinds of things, but when I connected with those young people out there, I had some unforgettable conversations. We shared some timeless insight and I realised how important it is to take on this job of destigmatising HIV.”

The thing is, 36 million people around the world are living with HIV. Now in that whole group everyone’s rates of infection are declining apart from young people. The reason is stigma. They are embarrassed about acknowledging their status and taking the medication. Back in the day HIV used to be a death sentence, but with today’s medication you can live a relatively normal life. But it is still such a big problem on the African continent, given that a lot of African societies struggle to talk about sex, let alone HIV, because of the stigma that surrounds it, which is so tragic.

I would really like people to know why I am involved with this concert… HIV is the most persistent issue in Ugandan society. Uganda has been a leader, a world leader, in progress in terms of treatment. However, it still continues to be a problem among young people in sub-Saharan Africa. Price Harry reached out to me around this charity. He first saw me perform for his dad’s charity, ‘Business in the Community’ who again were doing something around sustainable community development back in 2014. There is great synergy with what Sentebale is trying to do, and the fact that I want to show my audience that you can have a social agenda front and centre of your whole career, and still have an exciting life. So stuff like this, a concert at Hampton Court Palace that is around fundraising for support for young people and HIV, that is just me, that is exactly the example I’m trying to set for the next generation in terms of using your artistry to be an advocate.”

Proceeds raised from the evening will help Sentebale address the mental health and wellbeing of many more children and young people whose lives have been affected by HIV in Lesotho, Botswana and Malawi and contribute to Historic Royal Palaces' conservation and education programmes.

Find out more about Sentebale, their mission and how you can be a part of it: https://sentebale.org/

Buy tickets to the concert: https://www.axs.com/uk/events/374293/sentebale-audi-concert-tickets

Buy tickets to the concert: https://www.axs.com/uk/events/374293/sentebale-audi-concert-tickets

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