Friday, March 12, 2010

The Awesomely Luvvie...Using Social Media to Raise Awareness about HIV and AIDS




I was spoon fed as a tot that helping others is part of my foundation in life but living in Nashville taught me about serving others with a passion and giving with flair. Nashville is one of the most philanthropic cities in the country and I am always looking for new ideas to address issues to get people involved and excited about caring for others. The women (and men) I have befriended over the years in this great city are always willing to open their hearts to causes that make a difference not only in Nashville but nationally and internationally.

Once, a very wise and influential woman said, “Show me your checkbook young lady and I will show you your heart. What you care about the most is where you spend your money”. Being young, dumb and not realizing I was being taught a lesson, I boldly showed her my overdrawn checkbook. With a look that could have buried the dead, she said in an exasperated voice, “When people care about others, they surround themselves with like minded people. Your shoe shopping helps retailers not the causes you care about!”

What a lesson! I love to serve my community, especially working with organizations that help women. As my income has grown (shrunk in 2008) over the years, I have practiced living within my means, to be sharp and savvy about my love of fashion and to volunteer for causes where women shop with a purpose. Last year, I worked with many others on the Power of the Purse Fundraiser where Jane Pauley was the keynote speaker. Women bought designer purses galore to help many charities that benefit women and girls in the Nashville area. This month I volunteered with the Brentwood Women’s Club “Step Up, it’s a Charity Affair”. The annual fundraiser helps many charities in the Williamson County area. Both were great opportunities to give back locally and to shop.

To keep with the theme of shopping that serves and gives to others, I suggested to a few folks to take a look at the Red Pump Project, an effort to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS to women. The subject matter make many uncomfortable to talk about, but being a woman of color and seeing devastating effect of HIV/AIDS in the community and nationally, I believe the topic of HIV/AIDS cannot be taboo. We must talk about it. I decided to step out on faith to do a fundraiser for the Red Pump Project this fall. Here’s how the Red Project got started:
National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is Tuesday, March 10, 2009. It's a nationwide initiative to raise awareness of the increasing impact of HIV/AIDS on women & girls and encourages ladies to take action. While progress has definitely been made in the areas of AIDS prevention and treatment, women still represent 27% of all new AIDS diagnoses, with African-American women accounting for 66% of that group.
In observance of this day, Karyn of The Fabulous Giver and Luvvie of Awesomely Luvvie came up with the idea of The Red Pump Project. The concept is simple: Rock the Red Pump on your blog to represent the strength and courage of women fighting HIV/AIDS or affected by the disease both directly and indirectly. We ask that on that day (March 10th), you embed the Red Pump Widget within your post with a short snippet of its significance, or you can rock the widget on your sidebar.


March 10th was National Women & Girls' HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Online and on the ground, hundreds of women "Rocked the Red Pump" to raise awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls. I was introduced to the Red Pump Project by the Awesomely Luvvie. Luvvie is one of the funniest women in social media. Her blogs are world famous for calling out mayhem and foolishness. From her renowned post about the BET Awards show last year dubbed “Dear BET, iQuit U” and “Twitter killed the Celeb Star” and Mother’s favorite “Dear Moorehouse” to the statement above her blog roll “If these blogs were crack, I would have no teeth”, Awesomely Luvvie keeps me in stitches laughing at her rants about all things “ignance”. Her Avatar page changes as fast as the Healthcare bill provisions and her “helpful” hints on Twitter have followers rolling on the floor. Words that are now part of pop culture, “Queen Bey’s Onesies”, “iSuck”, and “iQuit U”, can be attributed to Awesomely Luvvie. Luvvie’s blog www.awesomelyluvvie.com was voted Best Humor Blog 2009 by Black Weblog Awards. You can also find Luvvie speaking at several 2010 Blog Her Conferences.

With all the laughter one can find from reading Awesomely Luvvie’s blog posts and following her on Twitter, there is a passion in her to use her brand and blogging to help save women lives. Luvvie, born Lovette Ajayi, the 25 year old self professed shoeaholic, plans to pursue a MBA in non-profit management and marketing. I wanted to share with you a little more about the phenomenal woman that keeps sisters laughing, engaged, and concerned while at the same encouraging young ladies to take better care of themselves by being educated about the devastating effects on HIV/AIDs on young women, especially women of color.
In her own words… “Here’s Luvvie!”

GSH: What makes you passionate about making a difference with your life?

Luvvie: It's important for me to make a difference with my life because paying
it forward makes the world go round. If it's in my power to make some change happen, then it's an obligation, not an option. I feel like I should extend my blessings to others. Besides, when I'm gone, I do want to leave my footprints in concrete, not sand.

GSH: When did you decided that THIS (your activism) is IT (needed now)?

Luvvie: HIV/AIDS has been at the forefront of my mind since college, when I
did a campus-wide campaign about it. The disease is one of the deadliest, and also the most preventable. Sex is supposed to bring forth life, not take it, so HIV is nature's oxymoron. I've focused on the effect of the disease on women because we're the caretakers. When we get sick, it affects more people around us. That's why I use the Red Pump as a symbol to represent the strength and courage of those
women that are affected, directly or otherwise. Plus, it doesn't hurt that I'm a shoeaholic.
GSH: What woman has made a significance difference in your life?
Luvvie: Honestly, my mother. I give all credit for the person I am to her.
She's raised me with a strong sense of integrity. She's the prototype for awesome, making do with little and always being selfless in the process. She really instilled in me that putting others first sometimes lets you lead a fulfilling life. Her shoulders are stronger than Atlas' and she hasn't shrugged yet.

GSH: Could you share about your background and family...anything you want me to know?
Luvvie: I'm Nigerian, born and bred. I have a strong sense of culture and
pride in my background. I'm fluent in Yoruba. Although I don't have a
strong accent, I still bleed that green-white-green. My family's pretty close, although we're everywhere.

GSH: If you could change one thing today...what would that be?

Luvvie: Wow that's a toughie. *strokes chin* There's just SO much I'd change.
Do I have to pick one? Hmm… I guess I'd change the level of apathy in the world. Not enough people care about what's going on outside of their personal life bubbles. If more people were philanthropic in SOME shape, change could be easier.

Lovette Ajayi is using her life and social media to make a difference in the world. The Tennessee Tribune and Inspired Media Group are proud to sponsor The Awesomely Luvvie’s trip to Nashville this fall to help spur our community to be more aggressive about educating women and young ladies on the subject of HIV/AIDS awareness. The Links, Inc., Les Gemmes, NCNW, and all Greek sororities have been invited to partner with this endeavor that promises to be shopping with a purpose. Designers, stars, and stores will donate red pumps and accessories and art by several female artists to raise funds through an auction. The day will end with words from the incredible talented Lovett Ajayi. All proceeds from the event will be donated to The Red Pump Project.

I can’t wait to hear my girl, Luvvie, shake up the stiff crowd and inspire our city to raise consciousness about a disease that is preventable. Get ready Nashville, the one and only fabulous Awesomely Luvvie is coming to town. I promise you, Luvvie's Awesomeness will be a blessing!

To find out more about the work Lovette Ajayi HIV/AIDS outreach go to:
www.theredpumpproject.com
For a Twitter feed like no other go to:
http://twitter.com/luvvieig

1 comment :

Vivianne's Vista said...

I really enjoyed your post! I rocked the red pump on my blog also, but you did fantastic job of reporting it! Glad you found me at MBC!