Alicia Keys and Stella McCartney in breast cancer campaign

US singer Alicia Keys and fashion designer Stella McCartney launched a new breast cancer awareness campaign Monday aimed at African American women who have much higher mortality rates than white women.

The British designer, whose mother Linda died from breast cancer in 1998 aged 56, will give a percentage of the proceeds from a new pink lingerie set to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Breast Examination Centre in Harlem which provides free testing in New York City.

"This really resonates with me because I was brought up in Harlem and my mother is a breast cancer survivor," Keys said in a campaign video. "We want to really encourage people to break the taboos and go and get checked."

She said statistics have shown that African American women have a 42% higher chance of cancer mortality from breast cancer than white women due to lack of access to early screening and prevention programmes.

McCartney, in Paris for her label's fashion week show, said, "Sadly I lost my mother to breast cancer 19 years ago. She didn't meet my children."

The designer has run three previous annual awareness campaigns fronted by models Kate Moss, Cara Delevingne and comedian Chelsea Handler.

Some of the money raised will also go to the Linda McCartney Centre at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital in Britain, which helps cancer patients and their families. — AFP