Toni Braxton Exclusive: God Inspired Me to Raise Heart Health Awareness

Singer Will Don Red Dress During NYC Fashion Week

Toni Braxton may have sold over 60 million albums worldwide and acquired six Grammys, but the R&B singer-songwriter says that God has a bigger call for her life. She is heeding that by participating in The Heart Truth's Red Dress Collection 2013 Fashion Show.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's The Heart Truth campaign is starting New York Fashion Week with the Red Dress Collection 2013 Fashion Show at New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom Wednesday. The Heart Truth campaign warns women about heart disease, which is listed as the number one killer among the gender.

Braxton will join 19 other celebrities including Olympic gold medalist gymnast Gabrielle Douglas, Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner and media personality Wendy Williams to raise awareness about the deadly disease. The recording artist opened up to The Christian Post about why strutting the runway for the Red Dress Collection 2013 Fashion Show was so important to her.

"Yes! I'm putting on the red dress," Braxton told CP, proving her excitement with laughter. "You know, I've done a lot of things with the American Heart Association for years … I was first diagnosed with heart disease years ago right after the birth of (my son) Diezel."

The award-winning Christian singer who grew up as a pastor's child singing in a church choir, who has been vocal about her health battles with Lupus, said that the autoimmune disorder has affected her life.

"I developed microvascular angina but I didn't know it's because I have lupus. That is why I have heart disease. It loves my heart," Braxton revealed to CP. "But even still, it's heart disease. For me when things happen to me I try to talk about it because I can help other people. For me it's therapeutic when I talk about it."

Instead of simply talking about it, Braxton will join with a number of celebrities who will kick off New York fashion week in red dresses created by a long list of well known designers including Badgley Mischka, Marc Bouwer, Nicole Miller and Oscar de la Renta. The Red Dress Fashion show is going into its 11th year, and seeks to bring community awareness to women protecting their hearts by showcasing high profile women with powerful stories while they walk the runway in red dresses.

Braxton told CP that participating in the event is something personal that she feels convicted by God to do.

"For me, being involved with the American Heart Association it's something personal and dear to me but at the same time it's for a great cause. I don't think God made me famous just to sing. I think it's also through these things, by being an example to help somebody else," Braxton said. "I also feel like it's a choice that makes me feel better. I think it's one of those things by God that I'm told to do."

"I'm going to be honest in my own downfalls, I thought it was just about being famous. Then I've found that the things that I've gone through in life serve purposes as well," the star added.

William Zoghbi, M.D., president of the American College of Cardiology (ACC), which has partnered with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to bring the fashion show to life, spoke about the importance of raising awareness about the health issue faced by Braxton and so many other women worldwide.

"Heart disease in women is a major, yet often preventable, health problem and through the ACC's CardioSmart initiative, we have made it a top priority to raise awareness of women's heart health issues and lifestyles that promote prevention," Zoghbi said in a statement released by the NHLBI. "The Red Dress Fashion Show sends a powerful message to women that it's never too late to reduce their heart disease risk factors. "

For those who do not have a front row seat at the Hammerstein Ballroom event, The Heart Truth will stream The Red Dress Collection Fashion Show live on its Facebook page at Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. ET.