BRITISH SPOKEN word artist George the Poet has been appointed an ambassador for Prince Harry’s charity.
As part of his new role with the royal’s African charity Sentebale, the Brit Award-nominated poet will join a host of other performers at a fundraising show taking place on June 28 in London.
Born to Ugandan parents in northwest London, the critically acclaimed recording artist and social commentator, real name George Mpanga, began performing rap and grime at the age of 15.
It was at university where he decided to adapt his rap to spoken word in order to communicate more effectively with his audience.
He has won a social enterprise competition called The Stake, organised by Barclays and Channel 4, earning him a £16,000 grant to deliver poetry workshops to disadvantaged young people.
Shortly after graduating, George embarked on a music career, culminating in the 2014 release of his debut EP, The Chicken & the Egg.
The EP earned George a string of nominations, including the Brits Critics’ Choice Award, MTV ‘Brand New’ Award and BBC Sound of 2015 Shortlist.
The Sentebale concert, in partnership with The Handa Foundation, and supported by Quintessentially Foundation, will raise funds and awareness of the challenges faced by adolescents living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.
Rock band Coldplay, British singer/songwriter Laura Mvula and the African-Norwegian duo Nico and Vinz will also perform to the 3,000-strong audience against the backdrop of Kensington Palace.
The money raised from the event will go towards Sentebale’s monthly Saturday clubs, caregiver days and residential week-long camps at the newly opened Mamohato Children’s Centre, delivering psychosocial support to children living with HIV in Lesotho, and later this year in Botswana.
Over the past 20 years, progress has been made to reduce the number of new HIV infections globally and ensure people living with HIV access treatment. However stigma, discrimination and lack of education surrounding HIV/AIDS, means young people in Africa are increasingly dying when HIV- related deaths are decreasing for all other age groups. HIV is the number one cause of death in 10 to 19 year olds in Africa; it will only get worse unless we act now.
Founded by Prince Harry and Prince Seeiso of Lesotho in 2006, Sentebale delivers psychosocial support to adolescents living with HIV, as well as providing care and education to orphans, children living with disabilities and young shepherds, know as ‘herd boys’, whose cultural obligation of tending livestock prevents them accessing education.
WORDS: Rykesha Hudson