Saturday, July 16, 2011

Annie Lenox

The “Awesome Woman of the Day” for today, Saturday, July 16th 2011, is Scottish-born singer, songwriter, activist, and compassionate humanitarian Annie Lennox. Celebrated internationally as an icon, innovator and symbol of enduring excellence, you must know of her internationally acclaimed, award winning musical endeavors with Dave Stewart as the 80‘s duo ‘Eurhythmics’, and more recently as a popular and mega-successful solo artist. But did you know that Annie Lennox is also known, perhaps more importantly, for her numerous philanthropic and humanitarian pursuits?

Ann (Annie) Lennox was born late at night in the Scottish city of Aberdeen on December 25th 1954. An only child, she and her parents lived in a humble two-room tenement house in the industrial area of Aberdeen, where her father worked as a boilermaker in the shipyard. At age four, Annie passed the rigorous entrance exam and gained entrance to the “posh” Aberdeen School for Girls where she was recognized for her talents in poetry, music and drawing. She played the piano and flute in orchestra and military band, sang in the choir, and attended dance classes with Marguerite Feltges who, incidently, introduced her students to a Greek form of dance known as “eurhythmics.” In 1971, at the age of 17, Annie Lennox left Scotland to attend the Royal Academy of Music in London, where, in her words, she felt “somewhat misplaced” and “for three slow years...painfully struggled...perplexed and baffled as to what I was supposed ‘to do’ with my life.” Just weeks before her final exams she left the Royal Academy and “spent the next three years looking for something better to do.”  During that time she met David Stewart, and the rest became pop-cultural music history.

Annie Lennox works tirelessly and has received a variety of awards and recognitions for her charitable and humanitarian work fighting poverty, supporting education, raising awareness of HIV and AIDS, and promoting peace, human rights and social justice. As a long-time public supporter of Amnesty International and Greenpeace, she and Dave Stewart donated all  profits from Eurhythmics’ 1999 Peacetour to these two groups.  After hearing Nelson Mandela in 2003 describe the AIDS pandemic in S. Africa as genocide, with women and children as the “frontline victims,” Lennox experienced a turning point in her life and became an important HIV/AIDS activist. Inspired by Nelson Mandela’s 46664 Campaign and Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), both human rights groups promoting education and healthcare for people affected by HIV in South Africa, Annie Lennox invited 23 of the most internationally acclaimed female vocal artists including Madonna, Celine Dion, Joss Stone, and Pink to join her in recording the song “Sing.”

Later that year, in December 2007, Lennox established the The Sing Campaign, an organization dedicated to raising money and awareness for and giving voice to women and children affected by HIV and AIDS. Since 2007, SING has raised million of dollars world-wide. The money raised by SING specifically helps prevent the spread of HIV in South Africa, but the awareness that SING raises in countries all around the world is just as important. One of SING’s aims is to increase global action to support infected and affected women and children, especially in the UK. See for more info and how you can help this cause.

This Awesome Woman currently holds titles as Oxfam Ambassador, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for AIDS, Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Scotland, Ambassador for HIV/AIDS in London, and UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador. Annie Lennox also receives global recognition for her humanitarian efforts and achievements:  In 2009 she received Save the Children’s  “Amigo do los Ninos” award, given the “Freedom of the City of London” award by the British Red Cross, and was presented with the “Nobel Woman of Peace Award,” each recognizing her services to humanity in the field of HIV and AIDS. In 2010 she was named Barclay’s Woman of the Year, GQ magazine’s Charity Woman of the Year, and received Harper’s Bazaar Lifetime Achievement Award. Most recently, on June 28, 2011, Lennox received the prestigious Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II, for her work as an Oxfam Ambassador fighting AIDS and poverty in Africa (see

AWU post and comments at