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On Staying Alive's 10th Anniversary, Gym Class Heroes Singer Travis McCoy Named 2009 Foundation Ambassador

LONDON, Nov. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- To coincide with Staying Alive's tenth anniversary on World AIDS Day (December 1st), MTV Networks International has announced the appointment of Travis McCoy, lead vocalist of the alternative hip-hop band Gym Class Heroes, as the Foundation's new 2009 Ambassador.

Travis joins a host of celebrities including Kelly Rowland (Ambassador since 2008), Beyonce, Mary J Blige, Justin Timberlake and Diddy, who have all lent their names over the past ten years, to raise the profile of Staying Alive -- MTV's global campaign dedicated to HIV and AIDS issues. As 2009 Ambassador, Travis becomes the first male face of the Foundation.

Commented Bill Roedy, Chairman and CEO of MTVNI and Chair of The Staying Alive Foundation Board of Directors, "As Staying Alive reaches ten years, we are happy to have Travis on board as Ambassador. He has a strong connection with young people, especially young males, and will have a profound impact as a role model for them. His mandate will be to speak to them about prevention, stigma and respect."

Said Travis McCoy, "I've been that young naive boy, running around, not caring, wanting to have sex ... I can definitely relate to the young guys out there now who are thinking about sex and having sex ... I want to try and be a positive influence on them, talk to them about respecting themselves, protecting themselves and the girls and women around them. Staying Alive has done amazing work over the last ten years and I am really excited to be part of it all. It's really important that we just keep talking about it."

Travis' new role as ambassador will be to carry on the legacy of Staying Alive and Kelly Rowland's dedicated efforts as ambassador. In this new role, Travis will use his inimitable style to encourage, energize, and empower young people who are involved in HIV/AIDS awareness, education and prevention campaigns as well as help tackle the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS by talking openly about HIV and safe sex to MTV's audience.

Staying Alive uses three core initiatives to fulfill its overall mission of empowering young people to protect themselves and their peers from HIV and AIDS -- the television campaign, the grant-making Foundation and its newly revamped online platform.

To celebrate its first decade, 'Staying Alive' has launched a series of new initiatives which will leverage on these core approaches -- through on air programming, by grant-giving, with thirty new grants announced today and through aggregating all its content onto its new portal --

On December 1st, three new programs will be aired, amongst them 'The Diary of Kelly Rowland,' an hour-long documentary chronicling the star's first-hand experiences with young people affected by HIV/AIDS throughout her journey across Africa and beyond, in her role as Ambassador. Kelly herself gets tested for HIV in Kenya, in an attempt to break down the stigmas associated with the topic of HIV/AIDS, and to encourage young people globally to know their status. 'The Diary of Kelly Rowland' will be airing across all MTV channels including an additional 100 broadcasters.

In addition, thirty new grants will be given to projects led by young people who are fulfilling the Foundation's mission to educate and inform their peers in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The grants, which start from December 1st and run for the duration of a year, have been made possible through the support of The Body Shop and MTV's "Move Your Lips" campaign, which raised a total of $1.25 million.

"The foundation is privileged to be able to work with our young grantees who lead the way with their mission to break taboos, foster tolerance and spread the mission of protection. Our role is to support these inspirational voices and help ensure their sustainability in the future," added Roedy.


Travis McCoy made his MTV debut in the Summer of 2002 on the show Direct Effect in a nationwide MC battle. With Gym Class Heroes, he has made a number of albums, with the most recent, "The Quilt" being released in September 2008 and containing the hit 'Cookie Jar.' McCoy also collaborated recently with Kelly Rowland on the track 'Daylight,' a single from her hugely successful Ms. Kelly album.


The Foundation received a record number 735 applications from 86 countries for this round of awards, a rise of more than 80% compared to the last round in June. In addition to re-visiting now established schemes, for the first time, The Staying Alive Foundation will be supporting projects in Benin, Bolivia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Laos, Nepal, Peru, Somalia and Togo. The latest round of awards brings the total number of grants given by the Foundation to date to 130, covering 101 different projects in 48 countries, amounting to over $1 million.

Grant Criteria

Awards are made to individual young people and small youth-led initiatives that:

1. Educate and/or give out responsible and accurate information about HIV and AIDS targeted at young people within their communities.

2. Eliminate or alleviate the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV and AIDS.

3. Encourage young people to take concrete action to protect themselves from HIV infection.

4. Demonstrate innovation and creativity.

5. Reflect and honor the culture in which the project operates.

-- All Staying Alive Award winners must demonstrate credibility through independent references, government accreditation (if you have any), and verifiable banking and accounting systems.

-- All Staying Alive award winners must agree to allow SAF and MTV to promote and publicize their projects. We will use compelling award winner stories to inspire other young people.


The Staying Alive portal ( offers a one stop shop for anyone wanting information about HIV/AIDS and safe sex. The new-look portal utilizes existing social networks and micro blogging platforms such as Twitter to further raise awareness, as well as featuring exclusive artist interviews with the likes of P!nk, Katy Perry and Dido to encourage positive change. will also carry all new video content, including the Kelly Rowland diary, sex uncovered and xpress as well as exclusive online-only footage. Finally, an entirely new-look Foundation site will feature extensive profiles of grant winners, information about previous and existing partnerships and more.

    MTV programming around World AIDS Day includes:

*** MTV Staying Alive: The Diary of Kelly Rowland ***

1-hour documentary -- To view the full documentary, please visit:

*** MTV Staying Alive: Not to Me ***

1-hour short film -- focusing on HIV risk across the Caribbean

Marks the long-form directorial debut of Ras Kassa [acclaimed music video director -- Welcome to Jamrock, Beanie Man's Dude (remix), and Sean Paul's Never Gonna Be the Same]

*** MTV Staying Alive: XPRESS 2008 ***

1-hour documentary -- Shot in Brazil, Dominican Republic, Colombia and the USA that gives young people back the microphone on issues that affect them.

Individual Campaigns

In addition to the programming produced for MTV Staying Alive's 10th anniversary and World AIDS Day, the campaign has been involved in a series of other initiatives. A new campaign, Telling It Like It Is ( has launched with Spinvox, which continues to openly and frankly discuss sex and safe sex issues with young people. In addition, a series of specially-created shorts have been commissioned by Staying Alive and Spinvox from the creators of Fur TV which premiered during the 2008 MTV Europe Music Awards. Staying Alive has also linked with the M.A.C. AIDS Fund and Rolls Royce on fundraising initiatives, with money raised going to continue to support young people around the world in their pioneering work in raising awareness of HIV and AIDS within their communities.



Launched in 1998, Staying Alive is the world's largest multimedia global HIV and AIDS prevention campaign that challenges stigma and discrimination associated with HIV and AIDS as well as empowers young people to protect themselves from infection. The Emmy award-winning campaign consists of documentaries, public service announcements, youth forums and Web content. Staying Alive provides all its television programming rights-free and at no cost to third party broadcasters globally to get crucial prevention messages out to the widest possible audience. The Staying Alive campaign is a partnership between MTV Networks International, the Kaiser Family Foundation, UNAIDS, UNFPA, and UNICEF among others. More information about Staying Alive can be found at MTV Networks International is also an active member of the United Nations-supported Global Media AIDS Initiative (GMAI).


Founded in 2005, The MTV Staying Alive Foundation is a global public charity operating in affiliation with MTV Networks International. Its mission is to empower and support young people who are protecting themselves and their communities against HIV and AIDS. The Foundation donates money and provides grants to youth-led initiatives committed to educating their peers about HIV and AIDS. It is dedicated to fighting stigma and discrimination and empowering young people to protect themselves against the disease. Multi Platform selling artist and founder member of the greatest female group of all time in the history of music, Destiny's Child, Kelly Rowland, is Staying Alive Foundation Ambassador. For more information log onto

About MTV Networks International

MTV Networks International includes the premier multimedia entertainment brands MTV: Music Television, VH1, Nickelodeon, TMF (The Music Factory), VIVA, Flux, Paramount Comedy, Comedy Central, Game One, Neopets, GameTrailers, Shockwave, Addicting Games, Atom Films and Xfire. MTV Networks' brands are seen globally in 561 million households in 162 countries and 33 languages via 170 locally programmed and operated TV channels and more than 350 digital media properties. The company's diverse holdings also include interests in television syndication, digital media, publishing, home video, radio, recorded music, licensing & merchandising and two feature film divisions, MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies. MTV Networks is a unit of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B).

SOURCE MTV Networks International
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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