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Viva Mi Gente!: 12 Latino Celebrities and Characters Who Thrust HIV/AIDS Into Popular Culture

May 15, 2013


Rosie Perez

Rosie Perez

Rosie Perez is a Puerto Rican-American Academy Award- and Emmy-nominated actress, choreographer, dancer, director and activist. She grew up in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn. She started her career in the late 1980s as a dancer and choreographer for the music videos of Janet Jackson, Bobby Brown, Diana Ross and LL Cool J. She also choreographed the Fly Girls (including a pre-fame Jennifer Lopez) on the Fox TV comedy show In Living Color, for which she received multiple Emmy nominations. She was discovered by Spike Lee in a dance club, and he cast her in an acting role in Do the Right Thing in 1988, and five years later, in 1993, she received an Oscar nomination for the movie Fearless.

Perez is an outspoken HIV activist, as well. She starred in and directed the Spanish-language AIDS PSA campaign "Join the Fight" for Cable Positive, which featured the actors Wilmer Valderrama, Erick Elias, Lorena Rojas and Miss Universe Zuleyka Rivera. President Barack Obama appointed Perez to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), and she was sworn in on Feb. 2, 2010. She moderated chats around World AIDS Day at the White House and often tweets advocacy messages from her Twitter account @rosieperezbklyn.

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