Dave Stewart, Aretha Franklin, Wyclef Jean, Queen Latifah, Josh Groban, TLC, Cyndi Lauper and Jesse McCartney are among the artists tapped to perform at former South African president and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela’s 91st birthday on July 18 at Madison Square Garden when New York City hosts the first Mandela Day event.
The all-star event, drawing many from the Hollywood community, is the culmination of a week’s activities celebrating Mandela Day. Angelique Kidjo, Baaba Maal, the Soweto Gospel Choir, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Chris Chameleon and many others will also perform.
Tickets go on sale June 5 through Live Nation and the venue’s box office. VIP packages are available through Ticketmaster. Concert ticket prices range from $50 to $350, with VIP packages beginning at $1,000.
The July 18 event is part of the 46664 global campaign that was founded in 2002 by Eurythmics founder Dave Stewart with the help of the musical community, including Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor, and U2’s Bono. Mandela asked Stewart to use the number to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and social injustices that followed from the disease, representing Mandela’s Robben Island prison number (prisoner 466) and year he was incarcerated (1964).
Since its founding, concerts have taken place in South Africa, Spain and Norway. The most recent was last year’s huge outdoor televised concert in London’s Hyde Park, celebrating Mandela’s 90th birthday.
“The City of New York is honored to host the inaugural Mandela Day,” said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a statement. “Nelson Mandela has spent a lifetime fighting injustice and it is fitting to set aside a day each year to celebrate and recognize his legacy. I am especially pleased that service is playing such a large part in Mandela Day and encourage all New Yorkers recognize this day as a chance to give back to their communities.”