The Red Pump Project’s Luvvie Ajayi Fighting to Prevent HIV/AIDS Infections

Red Pump founders Karyn Watkins and Luvvie Ajayi
Red Pump founders Karyn Watkins and Luvvie Ajayi

The Red Pump; you can’t help but feel a sense of empowerment when you slip into one.

Well, do you know that when you slip on a pair of red pumps that you can also support a worthy cause? The Red Pump Project, founded by Lovette “Luvvie” Ajayi and Karyn Watkins, is an organization that raises awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls. Their mission is to promote HIV prevention through education, and open dialogue about the issues that surround sexual and reproductive health. Rolling out spoke with with Ajayi about the Red Pump Project. –songine clarke

What inspired you and Karyn to launch The Red Pump Project?

We just wanted to do something around HIV/ AIDS, because we’re both into social justice … and it’s an issue we both care about. We didn’t set out to start a nonprofit, we started out just doing a social media campaign, and from the success of the campaign and people asking us what was next, we actually turned it into a nonprofit organization.

Red Pump Project Co-Founder Luvvie Ajayi
The Red Pump Project co-founder Luvvie Ajayi

Why the red pump?

We figured red shoes are power shoes. When you put them on you automatically feel a little more powerful. Red is the color of HIV/AIDS, so it just works, and we wanted to use it as a conversation starter.  HIV/AIDS is usually addressed in a serious manner and is still a bit solemn typically, so we wanted to bring a little bit of casualness to the conversation and we wanted to use red shoes, because if people see you wearing red shoes, it kind of grabs your attention, and while you have their attention you can tell them about HIV/AIDS.

What’s next for The Red Pump Project?

More outreach, more work, more doing the work that got us here. We’ve been using social media to get the word out there about our organizations and the work we do in general, so we’re just going to keep doing that. We do plan on having more testing drives. That’s something we haven’t done a lot of, so we do want to be involved with people getting tested across the nation. We’ll be doing more workshops and making sure we get the word out about HIV and make sure it stops killing us.

To find out more information about The Red Pump Project, visit

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