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Goapele + Raheem DeVaughn team up with AHF + WORLD for ‘RISE Above’ [PHOTOS]

Raheem DeVaughn, Goapele with Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell

It was all about female empowerment last night during the “RISE Above” Campaign at the Fabulous Fox Theater’s Egyptian Ballroom. The event was free and open to the public and featured live performances from soul music star Goapele and Grammy-nominated R&B crooner Raheem DeVaughn. There was also poetry, giveaways and an insightful conversation about women’s health and wellness, HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.


“RISE Above” is an initiative that was developed between AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and Oakland-based WORLD (Women Organized to Respond to Life Threatening Diseases). It was launched in March 2017, during National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness month, and has since traveled to Oakland, CA; Chicago, IL; and Cleveland, OH. It culminated last night in Atlanta, GA.


Credit RayCornelius.com
Goapele singing her hit song, "Closer"

  Inspired by the powerful and impactful poem, “Still I Rise”, written by the iconic artist, educator and author, the late Dr. Maya Angelou, the “RISE Above” campaign, also focused on eliminating HIV related stigma by educating and empowering women of color about healthy relationships and responsibilities. One of the evening’s highlights was a PSA featuring Emmy-winning “Greenleaf” star Lynn Whitfield reciting Dr. Angelou’s famous words.


According to current statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1 in 4 individuals living with HIV in the United States are women. Black/African American and Hispanic/Latina women continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV, compared with women of other races/ethnicities. Of the total estimated number of women living with diagnosed HIV at the end of 2013, 61% (137,504) were African American, 17% (39,177) were white, and 17% (38,664) were Hispanics/Latinas.


Credit RayCornelius.com
Raheem DeVaughn performing some of hit songs

  “Across our country, women of color, from all backgrounds, continue to be impacted disproportionately by HIV and other sexually transmitted infectious diseases. As the world’s largest HIV/AIDS service organization, celebrating 30 years of positive impact around the globe, AHF is pleased to collaborate with our other partners to present this powerful evening of music, conversation and inspiration with these two amazing artists. Bringing together black women, and inspiring them to break through stigma, and become both sexually educated and empowered to Rise Above HIV is a goal we all share,” stated Samantha Granberry, AHF Vice-President of Marketing and Sales.


Another highlight of the evening was Atlanta City Council President, Ceasar Mitchell, presenting AHF and WORLD with an official proclamation declaring  November 3 as “RISE Above Day” in the city.


Check out more photos hereclick here to find out how you can “RISE Above” HIV!

Ray Cornelius is one of Atlanta’s newest entertainment writers and media personalities. His arts and entertainment website, www.raycornelius.com spotlights the latest in “positive” African-American celebrity news and was established in 2012. Since that time Cornelius has covered a myriad of red carpet premieres, award shows and Atlanta-based films including Tyler Perry’s Temptation, The BronzeLens Film Festival, The Trumpet Awards, and The Steve Harvey’s Neighborhood Awards just to name a few. He has also interviewed a who’s who list of today’s top singers, actors and reality stars. With nearly 20 years of media experience, Cornelius has also worked as an associate producer for the Emmy-winning public affairs program, ATL Insider and with such award shows as The Soul Train Awards, The Trumpet Awards and BET Hip-Hop Awards.