More than 60 Black celebrities – including Samuel L. Jackson, Laila Ali, Tatyana Ali, Anthony Anderson, Bill Duke, Dennis Haysbert, Nia Long, Chris Massey, Kyle Massey, Lisa Masterson and Shaun Robinson – have united with Greater Than AIDS to bring attention to the severe and disproportionate epidemic facing Black Americans and reduce the stigma surrounding the disease.
Black Americans account for half of the approximately 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in this country today — and 44 percent of new infections — while representing just 12 percent of the population. Blacks are also more likely to die of AIDS as compared to other racial and ethnic groups.
Coinciding with National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (Feb. 7), Greater Than AIDS is debuting new public service ads (PSAs), available here, coordinated social media posts and other messages from popular Black television and film actors, directors, producers, and others in Hollywood about the devastating effect of HIV/AIDS in the Black community. Many of the participating talent spoke about people they knew who are living with or have died from the disease. Participating talent will be supporting the campaign’s themes of unity, hope and empowerment through their own Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms and through personal appearances.
“This is an unprecedented response from the Black Hollywood community to an issue that has touched so many of our lives,” said Phill Wilson, President and CEO, Black AIDS Institute. The Black AIDS Institute is a co-founding partner with the Kaiser Family Foundation of Greater Than AIDS. “Our voice is one of the most powerful tools we have in combating the ignorance and stigma that still surrounds this disease.” The celebrities featured in this campaign are all members of the Black AIDS Institute’s Black Hollywood Task Force on AIDS, which works to engage the Hollywood community in an effort to fight HIV/AIDS. “The artists and executives who have joined us in this campaign realize that no matter the celebrity, they are also members of the Black community, and they are trying to do their part.”
“HIV/AIDS is a deeply personal issue for many Black Americans, yet the issue is too often silent in many communities,” said Tina Hoff, Senior Vice President and Director, Health Communication and Media Partnerships, Kaiser Family Foundation. According to a national survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than 60 percent — three in five — Black Americans know someone living with HIV/AIDS or who has died from the disease; for most, a family member or close friend.
The Kaiser Family Foundation and the Black AIDS Institute are executive producers. Linda Jones of The Mass Appeal produced, and Vanessa Williams (SOUL FOOD) with Quincy LeNear and Deondray Gossett (THE DL CHRONICLES, THE VOICE) directed.
Greater Than AIDS is an unprecedented collaboration among a broad coalition of public and private sector partners united in response to the HIV/AIDS crisis in the United States, in particular among Black Americans and other disproportionately affected groups. Through a national media campaign and targeted community outreach, Greater Than AIDS aims to increase knowledge and understanding about HIV/AIDS and confront the stigma surrounding the disease.