On 27th November 2018, we kicked off our 20th anniversary celebrations with an inspirational gala at Guastavino’s in New York City. The event recognised 20 years of campaigning around HIV and sexual/reproductive health and rights, and empowering young people in the global fight to end HIV.
Georgia Arnold, Founder & Executive Director of MTV Staying Alive, opened the evening by shedding a light on the foundation’s impactful mission,“Twenty years ago MTV Staying Alive stood up and said, we will protect the next generation by investing in them; we will give them the power to use their voices, their experiences; to influence their own universes.”
We were honoured to put a spotlight on two MTV Staying Alive grantees, Tyler Spencer and Shirley Oruko. Spencer founded the Grassroots Project, a Washington, D.C. based organization that uses sports as a way to teach children about HIV. Oruko, who is from Nairobi, Kenya, works for Partners in Action, an organization that works to empower young people to make better, safer choices by educating them about all facets of their sexual health.
Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter Swati Dlamini-Mandela was in attendance to celebrate MTV Staying Alive Board Vice Chair Henry Luyombya. It was Luyombya’s meeting with her grandfather as part of the MTV documentary Meeting Mandela that inspired the launch of our grants programme.
Brooklyn-based musical group Phony Ppl kept the crowd buzzing through dinner with a five song set, including their hits ‘Why iii Love the Moon,’ and ‘Before You Get a Boyfriend.’
Grammy award-winning artist and AIDS activist Alicia Keys presented the award to Viacom President and CEO Bob Bakish for their founding support of the MTV Staying Alive. Keys shared with guests that her own AIDS activism was inspired by a trip she took to South Africa on behalf of MTV Staying Alive in 2002. “That trip to Cape Town literally changed my life!,” she shared.
The program closed out with a musical performance from Jack Antonoff, lead singer of Bleachers, who played a four-song acoustic set, including Bleachers fan favorite ‘I Wanna Get Better.’
We want to thank all those in attendance for supporting such an incredible night!