In past years, there's been some criticism of black pop culture icons who don't use their celebrity to bring attention to key social concerns. In a recent interview, longtime activist and actor Harry Belafonte criticized black celebrity power-couple Jay-Z and Beyonce, saying they've "turned their back on social responsibility," and insinuating that celebrities with political agendas are a rarity nowadays.
The writing's on the wall: More black celebrities need to be on board with HIV/AIDS awareness, especially because African-American communities are disproportionately affected by the virus. Though more needs to be done, we can take a moment to acknowledge and thank some of the performers, award winners, divas and authors who've used their social status to educate the public around HIV/AIDS. The common thread among them? Talent, passion and the desire to use their celebrity for good.
Comment by: Peter
Sat., Dec. 28, 2013 at 12:37 pm EST
The Comment Marvelyn Brown made was really quite stupid. She initially thought only Gay Men and Africans were susceptible or at risk for HIV. Ignorance.
My problem with her and many others is that African Americans see themselves as superior and different from Africans just because they were born in America. If HIV doesn't kill you, Ignorance will.
And what is it about Africans that makes them more at risk.... same thing ignorance and poverty. We Blacks in America are just as vulnerable as African Blacks.
Comment by: AnAppealToCommonSense
Fri., Feb. 15, 2013 at 4:06 am EST
Hi. I don't think Nelson Mandela should be included in this list. While his struggle against apartheid was admirable and he had an enormous task of uniting the nation once elected, one of the biggest problems of his presidency was ignoring the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Africa. If you're going to include a former or current African president, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia is a better choice, as he was the first to publicly admit to his son having died of AIDS and has been involved in HIV/AIDS work since. I'd say Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, too, but his recent stances on condoms and homosexuality are negating his past leadership (Kaunda, along with Festus Mogae, back gay rights). And I'd also say that 46664 is nowhere near as important as the work Zachie Achmat with Treatment Action Campaign (I know he's considered "colored" in SA, so I'm thinking he must have some black ancestry) or the late Winston Zulu in Zambia, both widely known HIV/AIDS activists. If this is only about Black Americans, then why is Nelson Mandela included? Again, I admire the man for much of his work, but he's already received enough accolades, and his inclusion comes at the expense of others who are more deserving of praise in this topic.
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