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Rina Sawayama Tapped to Headline Elton John’s AIDS Foundation Oscars Party

Elton John’s annual AIDS Foundation Oscars pre-party will return on March 12 with a headlining performance from Rina Sawayama. The Academy Awards viewing party will be hosted by John and his husband, David Furnish, with special appearances from Eric McCormack and MJ Rodriguez.

“Beyond excited to be performing at #EJAFOscars on March 12 in support of @EJAF,” Sawayama wrote on Twitter. “Founded by my wonderful friend @EltonOfficial, they’re on an incredibly important mission to end HIV stigma and inequalities around the world, and to spread more love and compassion.”

In a separate statement, John expressed his excitement about hosting the annual event for its 31st year. “I am overjoyed to be reuniting with old and new friends on one of my favorite nights of the year, especially after missing last year’s viewing party due to an unfortunate clash of schedules with my ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ tour,” he shared.

“As always, I am so appreciative of every attendee, donor and sponsor who continues to support the Foundation’s work across the globe in the fight to end AIDS. With such meaningful generosity, we can make a healthier and more inclusive world.”

John and Sawayama’s friendship flourished naturally after he stumbled across her music and the two eventually collaborated on her SAWAYAMA cut “Chosen Family.”

“He is so hungry for new music,” told Shania Twain last year for Rolling Stone‘s Musicians on Musicians series. “He tells me about new bands and artists I don’t know about. He found my music, and he was supporting the singles before the album [2020’s Sawayama] came out. Then he wanted to speak, and we FaceTimed. Weirdly, I wasn’t nervous at all. Being queer myself, having lots of queer friends, it felt like an extension of my friends, which is such a weird thing to say, because I mean, he’s Elton.”

A few weeks after the Oscars, Sawayama will make an appearance as one of ten featured queer artists in the Outstanding Music Artist category at the 2023 GLAAD Media Awards alongside Fletcher, Hayley Kiyoko, Betty Who, Orville Peck, Demi Lovato, and more.

This type of outward visibility rests at the root of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. “While we’ve seen tremendous progress since the Foundation’s inception 31 years ago, the current, troubling state of the world brings risk of relapse, and there is still much work ahead,” Anne Aslett, CEO of Elton John AIDS Foundation, shared in a statement.

“By supporting our annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party, you are directly helping us maintain services by providing access, agency, care, and justice to those who need it the most – the LGBTQ+ community, people who sell sex or use drugs, and young people who lack the information or agency to protect themselves.”


Furnish, who serves as chairman of the foundation, added: “Elton and I are looking forward to the Foundation’s milestone event celebrating our achievements with so many supporters and allies, but more importantly, raising much-needed awareness and funds for the innovative work that the Foundation is doing to end the AIDS epidemic. With rising new HIV infections and the tragic and needless loss of lives in many parts of the world, the support of our work is more crucial than ever.”

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