Whats With the Red Ribbon

The red ribbon is an international symbol of AIDS awareness. It symbolizes care and concern about HIV and AIDS, and reminds people of the need for commitment to tackling the epidemic.

History of the Red Ribbon

The Red Ribbon Foundation was founded in 1993 in memory of Singer and songwriter Paul Jabara, who conceived of and distributed the first Red Ribbon, and who died of AIDS. Who was Paul Jabara? He was a Singer/Songwriter, Actor, Producer, Film/TV/Music Theatre Composer. Paul Jabara composed many hit songs, including "Last Dance" for Donna Summer, "The Main Event" for Barbra Streisand, "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" (duet for Summer and Streisand), "Take Me Home" for Cher, "Work That Body" for Diana Ross, "It's Raining Men" for The Weathergirls and "Two Lovers" for Julio Iglesias. "Last Dance," featured in the film Thank God It's Friday, earned a Grammy Award and the 1978 Academy Award for Best Song. .

Jabara co-founded the Red Ribbon Foundation in 1991, and is credited with conceiving and distributing the first AIDS Red Ribbon. Paul Jabara died of AIDS in Los Angeles at the age of 44 on September 29, 1992.

A symbol for solidarity and tolerance with those often discriminated by the public - the people living with HIV and AIDS. In the style of the yellow ribbons, which were popular in the USA at the time as a symbol for awareness of those soldiers fighting in the gulf war, the Red Ribbon was born.

Following first events in the New York art scene, Paul soon was aiming at having celebrities wear the Red Ribbon at the Tony Awards. In a spontaneous campaign, volunteers sent letters and Red Ribbons to all attendees. Unfortunately, movie actor Jeremy Irons was one of the very few celebrities wearing the Red Ribbon that night. The TV audience was not informed about the meaning of the new symbol.

Nowadays, almost everybody in the USA is aware about the Red Ribbon or even owns one himself. The symbol first came to Europe on Easter Monday in 1992, when more than 100.000 Red Ribbons were distributed during the Freddie Mercury AIDS Awareness Tribute Concert at London's Wembley stadium. More than 1 billion people in more than 70 countries worldwide watched the show on television. That same day, Red Ribbon International in London was founded.

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