Did Alicia Keys’ ‘Digital Death’ Stunt Do More Harm Than Good???

- By Bossip Staff

This may come as a surprise to you, but that “Digital Death” campaign launched by A. Keys-Dean and her Beaky Boo wasn’t very well planned out. Oh, we said that already? Here’s something else they didn’t think about.

A young AIDS activist is asking Alicia, Lady Gaga, Serena Williams, Ryan Seacrest and the other celebs who took part of the illfated World AIDS Day Campaign to take a look at what they’re actions have actually done.

Here is his World AIDS Day experience:

I remember telling these youth that HIV/AIDS was not and is not a death sentence! Sharing the story of when my mother had asked me, “David, do you want to live or do you want to die?” I remembered saying with tears in my eyes “Momma I want to live!” And the reason why I was in front of them was because I knew at that moment that I was not given a death sentence but a chance to help educate those who were sexually at risk . My ending message to those 1500 youth was not death rather, “GET TESTED KNOW YOUR STATUS” , because there is HOPE! I gave them all my “Call Me” number to Call Me if they had any questions about HIV/AIDS and or STI’s and they did…

This pilot program launched by The University of Chicago’s Comer Hospital called; “Call Me” was created to provide peer support that educates and empowers young adults in the South Chicagoland and NW Indiana areas to acquire ACCURATE information about sexual wellness and testing for HIV and sexually transmitted infections. That day I received myriads of texts messages and phone calls concerning was HIV/AIDS a death sentence. A few calls I received that evening asking me, “Why did Kim Kardashian, Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Hudson, Lady GaGa and Alicia Keys etc then take pictures in a coffin on World Aids Day and say they were digitally dying?” The young lady said, “All of my friends now really believe AIDS is a death sentence.” Stunned and numbed I could not form a sentence. I reassured her that there are medications to help sustain those who have been infected by the virus.

This media campaign is an atomic bomb to those in the prevention and education sectors of HIV who are on the ground level everyday not sacrificing our lives, but living selflessly to disseminate pertinent HIV information to high school and college students worldwide. These celebrities put a 1 million price tag on there digital dying and moreover made HIV a fashionable thing. What about 1 million people getting tested, what about 1 free song download to every person who got tested? Why so reactive and not proactive?

As a spokesperson, advocate, activist, and person living with HIV and brother of a person who lives with AIDS, I’d like to have these questions answered specifically by those celebrities who laid in those coffins in order to beautify such a nasty disease more over to ask them how many deaths can one really have i.e. digital? Especially when talking about an infectious disease that the CDC reports that every 9 ½ minutes a person is infected with HIV.

Moreover, I’d like to know how the U.S Government (PEPFAR) feels about this since they have extended 7 billion dollars to the prevention and research for HIV/AIDS. This marketing stint has done the polar opposite of prevention. It has given many youth and adolescents the fear factor, some the understanding that you can buy back your life and a myriad of other ram shackle thoughts.

Do you think these celebs caused more miseducation and panic than anything else with their little charity stunt?? Should they kick off a new campaign focused on educating the teens who follow them??


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  • if anything be noble

    A NOTHER campaign? Please just stop.

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    • kalifa

      alicia keys is a fool. who doesn’t know this?

    • New in Town

      Thank you! Just stop already. And this whole article is a BIG stretch. The “digital death” was to bring awareness back into the spotlight and raise money so those who don’t have access to the meds this young man does can get the medication he is using to live a full life. I don’t believe that anyone with HIV/AIDS was mentally hurt by this. I work in with mental ill/drug addicted clients and some have the disease, and not one had a bad thing to say about this. Over the top and a way to launch another campaign. And if some young people w/o HIV/AIDS were shocked and scared…GOOD! Maybe they will use protection and/or stop “hookin” up with everybody.

  • Hannibal


    • Dottie

      Someone send an ambulance to my house! I actually agree with something Hannibal said. Send a medic!

    • korvette

      lol, u guys are funny (an ambulance)

    • EskwyreTheDog

      why dont u stay and live their when ur ad it, their will be more comments to come lolz

    • lara

      Be Glad for Celebs

      The Campaigns should strengthen youths and others in their own personal efforts to abstain from and prevent activities leading to HIV/Aids.

      The Campaigns will help some–

      Best efforts are always needed from Celebs.

      Celebs are active in bringing awareness, alertness, and preparedness

      We appreciate Celebs !!!!

      Alicia has a Great idea and makes a Big difference
      We can all benefit from the message

      Best REgards to All Celebs !!!

    • minerva

      entertainers, these days, are in an untenable position: you try to make your celeb status work in a positive & you get vebally mugged; you don’t do something, you get verbally mugged!! what in hell do you people want? and what do YOU do to help-ANYONE?!!?
      i know this won’t be posted-i’ve tried before!

    • Mystyri




  • Nujustice

    Follow God….but Roll with us


    What people in their right mind…campaign a “digital death” for a DEADLY virus/disease?

    It was stupid from GO.

    • KyshaNycol

      I agree 100%!!

  • loc

    Why can’t they donate when throw away millions on a lavish lifestyle when us regular folk are in a recession. Especially since we pay their salaries without us they would be nothing.

  • whatever

    i think that campaign was absolutely horrible aids is not about celebrity laying in coffins pretending to be dead if you want to help aids victims or donate do it because of you truly want to help not because some celebrity said so i didnt like it at all just waste of time my opinion

  • http://www.myspace.com/chocolate_box777 Chocolate_Box

    Yes Alicia’s campaigned helped. I donated to an aids campaign for the first time….

    • Shari P

      Judging by that blister on your lips, you might wanna donate some time and go to the clinic to get screened for an STD. Just sayin, boo boo.

    • JaZzIe91

      @Shari_P WOW DEAD LOOL

  • Mrs. Rance

    So a person with HIV is actually complaining about someone trying to raise money for HIV/AIDS research? Just goes to show you that there are idiots in all walks of life.

    • down_to_earth_chick

      Did you not read the article? The man was not complaining that they were raising money, he was pointing out how tone deaf their method of raising money was. An important aspect of combating the worldwide HIV/AIDS epidemic is to increase awareness of the disease. Let’s not forget that it wasn’t that long ago that children in the USA who were infected with HIV through blood transfusions were chased away from their schools because people believed that it was contagious.

  • Vida B

    Yes the “campaign” was a waste of time.There are lots of people who are not educated on this disease and by having herself,her beeky boo and all these other celebs and Kim Kardashians.The ad has defidently done more harm than good.

  • Mrs. Rance

    Furthermore, a lot of people are still dying because they can’t afford the medicine so I don’t know how good an idea it is to make people feel optimistic about having the desease. Prevention is still the best message.

  • White Women Rule

    Indeed! How dare these self righteous celebrities feign death in order to “make” money for a “charitable” cause. It was aburd that you would try to play on your fains emotions, utterly disgraceful! I say we should have let them stay dead dear.

  • ImMe

    they dont just want a famous face. they feel if they do get a celeb in front of their cause then people will actually listen…that is the whole point of getting beyonce to be in loreal commercials. they believe people will see her and want to use the products “she uses”

    I think campaigned will help. It’s a lot people who can’t afford the meds and I’m glad that they are going to have help purchasing the meds…

  • SupaWoman

    @ Mrs.Rance U took the words right out my mouth!!!!

  • Beatrix Kiddo

    I think their hearts were in the right place but the campaign seemed to be poorly planned and the fact that Alicia Keys, Usher, Kim Kardashian and others I’m sure, tweeted after they were allegedly digitally “dead” is a pathetic example to set.

  • pineapple

    Horrific!!!! Pedestrian!!!!!!

  • juliemango

    The fact remains hiv leads to death for many without the financial aid for meds and living a healthy lifestyle i tht that was the point of the cause!!!

    • Girl...What?

      No. The fact is not that HIV leads to death. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS and people can die from complications brought on by AIDS. However, that is why the article is stressing the importance of prevention, instead of using scare tactics. The campaign reignited the very stigma that HIV/AIDS activists are trying to destroy in order to get people to test early. Statistics show that there is often a faster progression to AIDS in people who find out their statuses late.

      Furthermore, even though the campaign was not geared to help people in the United States, the ramifications of dressing up in coffins and pretending it was a death sentence reverberated all across this nation. IMO, the campaign was a joke and 15 days later, they’ve moved on to declaring peace in Sudan and no one is discussing HIV/AIDS. So other than donating money, what did it really do?

  • i kc u u kc me

    Alicia no good deed goes unpunished! Keep doing what your doing you reached folks on a whole different level – I GAVE. The preachers in my city are mad cause they can’t figure out how to get the hiv/aids money in their pocket alleging spiritual enhancement. Demanding that funds be diverted from the programs that provides resources. Alicia keep fighting the good fight!

  • chaka1

    I thought the coffin pictures were morbid, especially since we are talking about a deadly disease. I realize they were trying to help, but the campaign was flawed.

  • Sukanya

    Damage control gone absolutely worst alicia? SMGDMFH! She could have done another ad that was in an aids/ hiv favor, they don’t f’in think! It would make them feel worst because my family friend has it and he said he hates that ad and it was in very poor taste.

  • ThickLikeCornbread


  • ThickLikeCornbread

    Who PAID for their photo-shoot in the casket? Make-up, stylist, photography, lighting can be VERY EXPENSIVE. Who paid for all of tht?

  • Nikki

    “Digital Death” just sounds dumb. Oooo so you don’t Tweet for a few days. What an eye opener. Please.

  • nymphis

    these celebrities act lillke we owe THEM something.they should honor us by making donations in our names.

  • JaZzIe91

    Umm I could have swore HIV/AIDS was a death sentence?

  • jazzi-jo-the-ho-yo


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