NEW YORK (March 7, 2007) - Six-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Toni Braxton -- the mother of two children, one of whom was recently diagnosed with autism -- has been named a national celebrity spokesperson for the advocacy organization Autism Speaks, it was announced today by Autism Speaks Co-founders Suzanne and Bob Wright. In her first official appearance in her new role, Braxton will perform at A Concert for Autism Speaks Featuring Bill Cosby, a star-filled night of comedy and music, on April 9 at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of
Jazz at Lincoln Center, on Broadway at 60th Street in New York City.
Proceeds from A Concert for Autism Speaks will go toward examining potential environmental causes of autism as well as research on treatments for autism. NBC News' Tom Brokaw will serve as the master of ceremonies for the special evening. Tickets are available beginning March 9 through the Jazz at Lincoln Center Box Office (Broadway at 60th Street, Ground Floor; Monday-Saturday: 10am- 6:00 pm, Sunday: 12PM - 6:00PM ; CenterCharge: 212.721.6500; or online by clicking here), at the $100, $75 and $50 levels. For gala and VIP ticket packages, which include a reception, please call 212.245.6570, extension 12.
“I became determined to join Autism Speaks in its battle against this devastating disorder when autism became a part of my family's reality,” said Braxton, who is currently headlining in a long-term engagement at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas. Added Braxton: “Autism Speaks is making remarkable strides on so many fronts, from dramatically increasing awareness about autism to effectively fighting for more government resources for families and researchers. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to help advance this cause in any way I possibly can.”
“Toni is an ideal person to help us bring autism awareness to another level,” said Suzanne Wright and Bob Wright. “We are incredibly grateful that she has, literally, agreed to lend her voice to further the mission of Autism Speaks. Her deep commitment to this cause is great news for the entire autism community.”
Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by extreme behavioral challenges. Autism Spectrum Disorders are diagnosed in one in 150 children in the United States, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The diagnosis of autism has increased tenfold in the last decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.
ABOUT TONI BRAXTON
With four multi-platinum albums under her belt and over 40 million albums sold world-wide, Toni Braxton has one of the most distinctive and recognizable voices in contemporary music. After taking Broadway by storm, this past year Toni returned to the stage continuing headlining at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas in “Toni Braxton: Revealed.” Braxton is a six-time Grammy Award winner, including Best New Artist and Best Female R&B Vocal. Her 2005 album, “Libra,” garnered critical acclaim as well as an NAACP Image Award Nomination for Toni in the Outstanding Female Artist category. Toni most recently had the honor of being acknowledged among a distinguished group of past and present honorees for her achievements and contributions to the entertainment industry at the 2007 Trumpet Awards held in Las Vegas. Her latest CD, "The Essential Toni Braxton" is in stores now.
ABOUT AUTISM SPEAKS
Autism Speaks is dedicated to increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders, to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for autism, and to advocating for the needs of affected families. It was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Bob Wright is Vice Chairman, General Electric, and served as chief executive officer of NBC for more than twenty years. Autism Speaks has merged with both the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) and Cure Autism Now (CAN), bringing together the nation's three leading autism advocacy organizations. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.