When Simple Minds recorded Don’t You Forget About Me in the 1980s, they believed it would be instantly forgettable – just another song on a soundtrack for an insignificant movie.
But the movie was The Breakfast Club – a cult classic that came to sum up a generation of disaffected youth.
And the song became a hit too, winning the Scottish rockers new audiences around the world.
Now it has been re-recorded in a way they could never have imagined.
It’s been taken over by a band of LGBT+ celebrities and HIV activists, including a member of the UK’s House of Lords.
Together they are not going to become rock legends any time soon. Some struggle to hold a tune. But they have got a vitally important message.
The song is fronting a campaign to tell the world ‘AIDS Isn’t Over’.
Moreover, the singers all share a passion to eradicate that ultimate hangover from the 80s – HIV and AIDS.
They include Stonewall founder and politician, Lord Michael Cashman; fashion designer, Henry Holland; UK rugby player, Keegan Hirst; singer, Kalon Rae; and drag artists, Bambini Babez and Divina De Campo.
Joining them are global activists who have dedicated their lives to preventing and treating HIV and AIDS.
Dr Frank Mugisha is Uganda’s most famous LGBT+ advocate; Abhina Aher is an Indian transgender activist; and Anton Basenko, who became an HIV activist in Ukraine after being diagnosed with HIV in his youth.
13,000 preventable deaths a week
Henry Holland, said: ‘Living in the UK makes it easy to believe that we have moved past the HIV and AIDS crisis, but this is not the case.
‘In many areas of the world, HIV and AIDS are not under control and now, COVID-19 could make things much worse. I hope this campaign adds more voices to the fight for a true end to the AIDS crisis.’
Meanwhile Mugisha said: ‘We have achieved significant change over four decades of HIV activism.
‘But the difficult reality is that not everyone has the same access to education, HIV prevention, and treatment – often due to stigma around who they are or where they live. This inequality is not acceptable and needs to change.’
The campaign from global charity Frontline AIDS is launching for World AIDS Day today (1 December).
Scientists now have the tools to end new HIV transmissions – including regular testing, early treatment and PrEP. But the virus continues to spread. A staggering 1.7 million people are infected each year globally – resulting in 13,000 deaths every week.
Christine Stegling, executive director at Frontline AIDS, said:
‘The challenge is that many people now view AIDS more like a moment in history than an active epidemic that affects millions and leads to thousands of deaths every week. We’ve come a long way from the 80s, but we can’t leave the job half done.’
You can watch the activists perform here: